Dunedin volunteers were honoured at the Dunedin Stars 2011 Awards ceremony at Dunedin Public Art Gallery. Pictured are (back, from left) Young Star Award recipients Nathan Burns (17, Merit Award), Ashleigh Keen-Burrow (15, Supreme Award) and Chris Bernhardt (18, Merit Award); and (front, from left) Community Spirit Award recipients Sharon Bain (Merit Award), Michael Ferrari (Supreme Award) and Joy Henderson (Merit Award).
Dunedin's unsung heroes stepped into the limelight last night
as The Star hosted its seventh annual Dunedin Stars awards
event celebrating the achievements of the city's volunteers.
About 130 people attended last night's "Dunedin Stars" 2011
awards night, held in association with Volunteering Otago in
the week of International Volunteer Day, December 5.
The event, at the Dunedin Public Art Gallery, was attended by
44 nominees, their nominators, Allied Press management, Star
staff, civic leaders and invited guests.
During last night's ceremony, Community Spirit awards were
presented to Michael Ferrari (Supreme Award), Joy Henderson
(Merit Award) and Sharon Bain (Merit Award), recognising
their selfless and tireless efforts to enrich their local
communities. Young Star awards were presented to Ashleigh
Keen-Burrow (Supreme Award), Chris Bernhardt (Merit Award)
and Nathan Burns (Merit Award), recognising their outstanding
resolve, mature judgement and community effort.
Star editor Helen Speirs, Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull and
Volunteering Otago manager Anna Clere congratulated all of
the Dunedin Stars 2011 nominees on their commitment to making
Dunedin a better place to live.
Miss Speirs said Star staff were "constantly humbled by the
volunteers who give so much to our community and expect
nothing in return".
The Dunedin Stars awards were an extension of The Star's
ongoing efforts to support its community and to highlight
people making a positive contribution, Miss Speirs said.
Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull told the gathering the awards
recognised not only the nominees, but all of the unsung
volunteers they represented.
"Volunteer work benefits all of us - it is the glue that
cements our community together," Mr Cull said.
Community service was not only of benefit to the community,
but also to those doing the volunteering, enabling them to
gain skills, friendship and new perspectives.
Mr Cull also thanked The Star for providing the stage "on
which these wonderful achievements can be strutted".
Volunteering Otago manager Anna Clere said volunteers in New
Zealand contributed 270 million hours of unpaid work for
non-profit organisations each year, a contribution valued at
$3 billion a year.
Since it was founded 25 years ago, 15,000 volunteers had
registered with Volunteering Otago across a wide range of
Volunteering was "a precious gift, which benefits us all in
the end," Mrs Clere said.
"Without volunteers, our community would be a very different
place." Nominees for this year's Dunedin Stars awards can be
found helping others in all sectors of Dunedin society,
including sport, the arts, business, social agencies,
disability groups and community groups of all descriptions.
Dunedin Stars 2011 Community Spirit Supreme Award recipient
Michael Ferrari had a length and breadth of community service
that was "simply staggering", Miss Speirs told the gathering.
A successful businessman and manager, Mr Ferrari has used his
skills to help a large number of diverse organisations at
local, national and international level through serving on
boards or other elected positions for the past 20 years.
His nominator described Mr Ferrari as "very thorough" with an
ability to be level-headed and clear-thinking, which "has the
effect of bringing people together".
Mr Ferrari's service has included serving on the boards or
executives of the Otago Southland Employers' Association, New
Zealand Employers' Federation and Business New Zealand, while
also sharing his expertise as a business mentor for small and
Mr Ferrari has also been a member of grants allocation
committees for the Community Organisation Grants Scheme and
charitable funding organisation United Way.
He has also been a trustee of the Creative Arts Trust, a
member of the Ngai Tahu Sinclair Wetlands Working Group, and
a stalwart of the bridge-playing community in Dunedin and
Mr Ferrari has also volunteered with the Dunedin Citizens
Advice Bureau and is a Justice of the Peace.
Alongside his voluntary work, Mr Ferrari runs his own
business and is involved in numerous paid committee
After the announcement, a surprised and humble Mr Ferrari
said "I was certain I was here just to make up the numbers".
"It was a great event - it was wonderful to hear about so
many people doing so much in the community," he said.
Fifteen year-old Ashleigh Keen-Burrow was the recipient of
the Dunedin Stars 2011 Young Stars Supreme award.
"There's so many other people out there who have done much
more than me, so I didn't expect it," Ashleigh said.
The Otago Girls High School pupil is a member of the school's
volunteering club, and is completing a Duke of Edinburgh
Ashleigh is also a volunteer at Marne Street Hospital and
rest home, spending every Saturday afternoon chatting with
residents and helping with serving meals and other tasks.
She also shares time with children at Dunedin Hospital,
helping with play activities on Saturday mornings.
Her nominator said Ashleigh "could be out socialising with
her friends or playing sport at the weekend, but prefers to
be helping others in a volunteer role."
Sharon Bain was the recipient of a Dunedin Stars 2011
Community Spirit Merit Award, acknowledging her vital work
for families of children with special needs and chronic
conditions in Dunedin and Otago.
Mrs Bain and her husband have two sons, one with autism
spectrum disorder, and she has used her knowledge to help
hundreds of other families.
Mrs Bain founded the Otago branch of Autism New Zealand seven
years ago and established Parent to Parent Otago two years
The success of both organisations and the dedication of Mrs
Bain to children with special needs "raise awareness, and the
hopes, of families in need in Dunedin and Otago," her
"Everyone here is a winner," Mrs Bain said of last night's
nominees. "It [receiving the merit award] is so, so special.
"If everyone could just do a little bit, just one good turn a
day, it would make a huge difference [in the community]."
Stalwart of the Dunedin arts community Joy Henderson also
received a Merit Award in the Dunedin Stars 2011 Community
Mrs Henderson has volunteered for a range of arts and
cultural institutions in Dunedin for the past 36 years.
Every year, she gives about 600 of hours of volunteer time to
the Mayfair Theatre, Regent Theatre, Dunedin Town Hall and
the Otago Theatre Trust in a variety of behind-the-scenes
"I can't believe it," Mrs Henderson said of receiving the
"It has been a great privilege to do what I have done - I
have enjoyed it immensely."
Taieri College pupil Nathan Burns (17) received a Dunedin
Stars 2011 Young Stars Merit Award at last night's ceremony.
Nathan was praised as "a great role model" and "an absolutely
top-notch person" by his nominator for his contribution to
the sports at his school and the Taieri community.
Not only is Nathan a top-performing pupil academically, he
also plays in and coaches basketball, volleyball and cricket
teams at Taieri College. He coaches children at Taieri
Cricket Club and has coached and refereed miniball.
Receiving the Young Stars merit award "felt pretty good. I
was pretty stoked and humbled at the same time," Nathan said.
Dunedin Stars 2011 Young Stars Merit Award recipient Chris
Bernhardt (18) was acknowledged for his work with the Malcam
The University of Otago law and politics student has
volunteered his time on the trust's Youth Development
Training programmes and Family and Community programme for
Chris is "a sensitive, caring, empathic young man who is a
wonderful role model for his peers," his nominator said.
"You don't do it [volunteer] for the recognition but it's
pretty cool," Chris said, after receiving the merit award.
"Winning an award is a good way to keep me motivated to keep