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David Ross Black
Services to health
Ross Black founded the Otago Rescue Helicopter Trust and was chairman from 1998 to 2019.
He spearheaded the $3.5million fundraising drive to establish a dedicated rescue helicopter in the Otago area.
From its inception until his retirement in March 2019, the Otago Regional Rescue Helicopter service transported more than 9500 patients from all over Otago and Southland involved in workplace, sporting or vehicle accidents, sea or land rescues, major medical events or transfers between hospitals.
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Mr Black was instrumental in obtaining a significant amount of donated professional services to support the day-to-day operations of the rescue helicopter service, as well as ground-breaking equipment upgrades, such as night-vision goggles and GPS routes that enabled missions in conditions that would not have otherwise been possible.
The trust now has four dedicated rescue helicopters.
"I have had some amazing jobs ... but this is by far the one that means the most to me," Mr Black said.
"It has been a privilege to be involved with such a service and, more particularly, the incredibly dedicated pilots and paramedics who provide the service and do so every day of the year at any time of the day or night."
Mr Black was trustee and chairman of the Healthcare Otago Charitable Trust from 1999 to 2014, during which time he oversaw the implementation of an investment policy that built the trust’s funds to more than $17million and distributions to the community of more than $10million for equipment, training, research and community projects.
He was a director of the Canterbury District Health Board from 1996 to 2001 and chairman of the Otago DHB from 1998 to 2001.
He said the Queen’s Birthday honour was not just recognition of his efforts — "it is also for the other trustees, many of whom have served almost as long as I have, and it is for the trust."
Services to rural women and rural communities
Margaret Chapman was a city girl when she married and moved to a farm with her husband and became involved with Rural Women New Zealand.
Mrs Chapman has been made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to rural women and rural communities.
"I joined the Kakahu branch [of Rural Women NZ] as a way to meet the neighbours. They were a fantastic group of women to be a part of. Before I lived on a farm, I’d never known the challenges. You can’t just walk to the shops, because the nearest shops are miles away.
"I didn’t feel isolated, but I saw the challenges that women faced."
She said she was overwhelmed to be given the honour.
"Just so humbled. I’d never done anything for the glory. I’m just passionate about helping rural women, and I’ve worked with some fantastic women."
Mrs Chapman has held multiple roles in RWNZ, including national president (2007-10), national councillor of Canterbury region (2001-07) Kakahu branch president (1993-99) and South Canterbury provincial president (1998-2001 and 2010-ongoing). She was also the key driver of the Fairlie Mid-Winter Seminars for 20 years.
She said one of her proudest achievements was instigating the Rural Women NZ Business Awards, which is due to celebrate its 12th year.
"We wanted to celebrate rural women and the challenges they overcome."
Mrs Chapman said she was most proud of the "Kid-friendly Farm Safety Days", which she started in 1996.
"We showed primary school children the importance of safety when using equipment on the farm. We hoped that it would set an example for their parents on the farms, so if the child sees Dad without the helmet, they would tell Dad off.
"We do believe that it made some difference."
She hoped to see more women join the RWNZ organisation, to learn, build relationships and see rural women supporting each other, she said.
Services to swimming
While delighted to receive an ONZM for more than 50 years’ service to swimming in New Zealand, Mary McFarlane says she did not do it for any reward.
"I do it because I like it.
"I enjoy the company and I’ve had such good support from Kiwi Club, the Otago Centre and my late husband. If it hadn’t been for Paddy — he just encouraged me.
"I’m absolutely humbled by this."
The 84-year-old began her involvement with swimming officiating in 1970, and has officiated in various volunteer roles in local, national and international events for 50 years.
Mrs McFarlane coached at club nights before becoming an official timekeeper in the Otago region and then a technical official nationally.
She qualified as a national starter in 1983 and an inspector of turns in 2013.
She has acted as a manager of Otago swim teams competing at New Zealand swim meetings many times, and has held various administrative and leadership roles with Swimming Otago.
She officiated at the Pacific Games in Samoa in 2019 and attended the 11th Oceania Swimming Championships in Fiji in 2016 and the Commonwealth Youth Games in Samoa in 2015 in a technical capacity.
She has officiated at New Zealand open and New Zealand age group championships for many years and has officiated at the European Special Olympics and World Masters Championships.
In 2019 alone, she spent 232 hours volunteering on the pool deck of national events, more than any other New Zealand technical official.
Mrs McFarlane was involved with the New Zealand Royal Life Saving Society from her high school years, becoming an instructor and examiner in 1954 and continuing to examine until 2005.
Services to occupational therapy and seniors
When people follow their passion and work hard it can be surprising when they are given awards for their accomplishments, Dunedin’s Linda Robertson says.
Dr Robertson (73) said she did not expect any recognition but was grateful for it.
"The idea that it can happen to anyone is really good."
Dr Robertson has worked in occupational therapy for 40 years and is considered a champion of teaching and applying critical thinking in occupational therapy.
In 2012, Dr Robertson published the key text Clinical Reasoning in Occupational Therapy: Controversies in Practice.
In 2019, with colleagues she developed "the five-finger framework" to help transition students from an academic environment to the realities of practice.
She has been an advocate for older people as a regional representative on the executive committee of the New Zealand Association of Gerontology (NZAG) for 15 years.
She was made a life member of the NZAG in 2020 for helping develop and expand the NZAG’s Otago branch. She has been a board member of Age Concern Otago for 10 years.
For more than 20 years she researched how occupational therapists can help older people in their home environment.
She helped advance Abbeyfield’s unique model of housing for older people in Dunedin.
She researched the Steady As You Go community peer-led exercise programme for older people.
Dr Robertson worked in collaboration with a group of Chinese seniors to develop resources to improve their understanding of the New Zealand healthcare system and how to access it. These resources have been widely distributed and in 2016 were translated into other languages.
In 2019, she was presented with the Frances Rutherford Lecture Award by Occupational Therapy New Zealand.
Services to music and music education
The Verlaines frontman Graeme Downes says his late mother would have been "stoked" to hear he had been awarded an MNZM for services to music and music education in this year’s Queen’s Birthday honours.
"It’s pretty cool, isn’t it? It’s a great honour.
"Mum [Anne] would have been absolutely stoked. Sadly, she died last August," Dr Downes said.
The 58-year-old was humble about the achievement.
"The Verlaines stuff, I’m the one who got nominated for it because I wrote the bloody stuff, but there was a hell of a lot of people involved and struggling along with me, to make it work.
"I couldn’t have got this without their support — especially my wife [Jo]," he said.
Dr Downes is a founding member, songwriter, vocalist and producer of The Verlaines and has released 11 albums and two EPs over the past 40 years.
The band played in New Zealand, Australia and the United States, with some shows in the United Kingdom.
The group became an integral part of the Dunedin Sound.
Dr Downes has orchestrated three concerts of works by Dunedin Sound bands, including The Chills, The Clean and Straightjacket Fits, under the "Tally Ho" banner.
Outside the band, he has been a senior lecturer in music at the University of Otago, where he developed New Zealand’s first rock music degree, before becoming head of the department of music in 2012.
With a PhD on the music of Mahler, he has provided pre-concert lectures for the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, the Southern Sinfonia and the Dunedin Symphony Orchestra, and has contributed to music programmes on Radio New Zealand.
He also provides musicologist support in the area of copyright disputes.
Dr Downes has served as a songwriter ambassador for the Australasian Performing Right Association and the Australasian Mechanical Copyright Owners Society, supporting music creators.
Services to fashion industry and charitable fundraising
Margaret Marie Farry-Williams has dedicated her life to helping young men and women gain a sense of purpose and self-worth.
For that, she has been made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to the fashion industry and charitable fundraising.
Due to illness, Mrs Farry-Williams was not available to comment on her honour.
However, her husband, Tom Williams, spoke of the positive impact Mrs Farry-Williams had on many people’s lives.
"On behalf of our family we are thrilled that Margaret’s years of work and numerous charitable deeds have been recognised," he said.
Mrs Farry-Williams was the founder and owner of Vanity Walk Modelling School and Agency in Dunedin from 1965 to 2006.
It was originally established for young women seeking to become models. However, it grew in popularity with both men and women as it offered courses designed to build confidence and self-esteem.
Some became professional models, but all who attended received the same dedicated attention and emerged confident and self-reliant — the ultimate intention of Mrs Farry-Williams.
She accepted underprivileged children and young adults into courses at no charge, enabling them to gain a sense of purpose and self-worth by teaching them essential life skills.
Vanity Walk became synonymous with the fashion industry in Otago, Southland and beyond. Several of her models forged successful national and international careers, while others worked locally.
Mrs Farry-Williams raised substantial funds through fashion shows for various charities including Women’s Refuge, the Cancer Society and Save the Children.
In 1986, she produced the "Parade in Aid" event at Dunedin Town Hall, combining a fashion show, ball and an art and antique auction, with all contributions provided free of charge and all proceeds going to Save the Children Fund.
For services to conservation
Making Otago Peninsula a better place for "trees, ferns and wildlife" has been a labour of love for Lala Frazer.
"I feel privileged to be able to be involved with conservation over the past 40 years," she said.
The recognition she received today was due to the work of "all the volunteers" involved in protecting and enhancing habitat on the peninsula, she said.
Mrs Frazer (79) was recognised for her services to conservation and the community.
A founding member of prominent conservation organisations such as the Yellow-eyed Penguin Trust and Save the Otago Peninsula (Stop), she has continued her involvement with Stop and taken on responsibility for two major projects under the Stop banner over the past 14 years.
Mrs Frazer has oversight over weekly working bees, co-ordinating resources and volunteers and organising pest control.
She spearheaded the campaign for the 2008 Dunedin City Council purchase of a 328ha block now managed by the Hereweka Harbour Cone Trust for landscape, cultural, recreational and ecological purposes.
She was the inaugural chairwoman of the trust from 2015 to 2016, and has been responsible for organising year-round working bees for the planting of indigenous trees in the Smiths Creek catchment.
She has been a hands-on volunteer with these projects, involving herself in clearing, planting and maintenance.
She edited and co-ordinated the publication of Otago Peninsula Birds A Pocket Guide in 2014.
She was a founding trustee of the Yellow-eyed Penguin Trust, and has continued with the trust particularly in the area of habitat.
Mrs Frazer was named Wildlife Hero of the Dunedin Wildlife Festival in 2020.
She received a Queen’s Service Medal for Public Services in 2004.
Services to conservation and the community
After almost 50 years of involvement in conservation and local government on Stewart Island, Margaret Hopkins says she has been busy.
While honoured to have become a member of the New Zealand Order of Merit, she said it was a little embarrassing.
"It goes against the grain to single people out."
However, she acknowledged she had been involved in many projects and groups over the years.
Chairwoman of Rakiura Heritage Centre Trust, Mrs Hopkins played a key role in the concept, planning and building the newly built $3.8million centre.
This, along with her involvement in the establishment of the Rakiura National Park, was a highlight for her.
Her other environmentally focused roles included helping to establish the Ulva Island Marine Reserve and Paterson Inlet Mataitai, as well as being a member and chairwoman of the Stewart Island Rakiura Community Environment Trust.
She was an active member of the Stewart Island Promotion Association and a member of the Stewart Island Community Centre Trust for 20 years, during the building and planning of the Community Centre.
Mrs Hopkins had been involved with Leadership Academy, established to develop the leadership potential of Stewart Island residents.
She was member of the Southland Conservation Board from 1990 to 1999 and was appointed to the New Zealand Conservation Authority from 1999 to 2002.
Mrs Hopkins was also a member of Stewart Island County Council from 1978 to 1990 and chairwoman of the Stewart Island Community Board in the 1990s.
Services to conservation
For decades of work towards conservation, Hoani Langsbury, of Dunedin, has been made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit.
Mr Langsbury is a local conservation expert and iwi representative in Otago.
He has used his understanding of conservation, tourism and sustainability to represent the region to national and international audiences.
Sometimes the work was difficult, especially watching the population of endangered species decline, but it motivated him further, he said.
"There’s no point in giving up."
Mr Langsbury said it was good to be recognised for over two decades of work in the field, but he was most excited for the opportunities for further conservation work the award would allow him to achieve.
"I wouldn’t be doing it if I wasn’t passionate about it."
He has volunteered as an adviser to the Department of Conservation’s Ngai Tahu Te Roopu Kaitiaki since 2001 and has been been chairman of the Otago Peninsula Biodiversity Group since 2014.
He is a founding trustee of the Predator Free Dunedin Charitable Trust and Wild Dunedin.
Mr Langsbury is a trustee and board member of the Yellow-Eyed Penguin Trust, deputy chairman of the Dunedin City Council’s Environmental Strategy group and a member of the Department of Conservation (Doc) Options Development Group.
He volunteered as a member of Doc’s Species Recovery Group for 12 years.
He has been a Commissioner of Environment Canterbury since 2008 and is the cotourism manager for the Otago Peninsula Trust.
Services to netball and education
Colleen Lyons has made enormous contributions in two areas of her life.
She has been involved in netball since 1965 and filled nearly every role available in the sport on a local level in the intervening years.
Meanwhile professionally she was first a teacher, then assistant principal at Queen’s High School from 1982 until 2008.
She was both honoured and "quite surprised" to be recognised in both fields.
But it was the way she was able to link the two together which stood out as her biggest highlight.
"When I was at Queen’s High School I had the overview of netball for many years," Mrs Lyons said.
"You would be taking young women away on trips, through outdoor education and netball trips.
"I thought that was a win-win, you had both things in one spot."
Mrs Lyons gained her first umpiring qualification in 1972 and continues to officiate games nearly 50 years later.
She was the honorary secretary of the Otago Netball Union/Association — now Dunedin Netball — from 1976 to 1989.
She remains on the Dunedin Netball Board and was the chairwoman in 2018.
Since 2012, she has been a trustee on the board of the indoor sport and recreation Edgar Centre.
Working with people and her passion for the sport had been the key drivers in continuing her involvement.
Meanwhile, her career in education has extended beyond that of a job.
She co-ordinated more than 30 netball teams each year for the school, alongside coaching, managing, fundraising, supporting young umpires and helping with the South Island secondary schools tournaments.
Her involvement with the school continues through being influential in the Ex Girls Association, which she has been part of since 1968.
Services to health and Maori
Tracey Wright-Tawha has always been interested in making a positive contribution to her own community and creating positive health gains for kaupapa Maori.
Ms Wright-Tawha is the founder and chief executive of Nga Kete Matauranga Pounamu Charitable Trust (NKMPCT), which began in 2000 as an organisation focused on providing access to primary healthcare for people in western Southland.
She was a community development worker from 1985 to 1995 and worked for several years with Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu before establishing NKMPCT as a kaupapa Maori health and social service.
Since 2000 she has built NKMPCT into a quality kaupapa Maori whanau ora centred health and social service, employing 76 staff with an annual turnover of $6.5 million.
She said she is continuing the work created by the footsteps that have come before her.
Her motivation comes from her parents who wanted their children to do well and offer something back to their community.
"I think when we think about awards, they acknowledge everyone who’s been a part of your journey over the years."
NKMPCT delivers a range of services including addiction counselling, gambling harm counselling, disability support and advocacy, restorative justice, Whanau Ora, community nursing services, cancer pathway support, and He Puna Waiora Wellness Centre general practice.
Ms Wright-Tawha has also served on a variety of boards, research groups and advisory groups.
Services to performing arts
A lifetime involvement in Dunedin’s theatrical scene has been acknowledged through the awarding of the Queen’s Service Medal to Charles Campbell.
Mr Campbell (81) joined the Dunedin Operatic Society in 1959, and the former board member and past president retains a keen interest in what is now known as Musical Theatre Dunedin.
In that time he has seen the group transition from the "am dram" days to staging productions which rival anything a professional ensemble could achieve.
"It is mind-boggling to me what they can achieve now," he said.
"I’m probably the oldest person involved now although I’m in the background now."
Mr Campbell was at the forefront of trying to preserve His Majesty’s Theatre in the 1970s and active in the formation of the Otago Theatre Trust, which now operates the Regent Theatre.
"Thanks to a lot of people the Regent theatre remains a wonderful Dunedin amenity," Mr Campbell said.
"We’re very lucky to have the Regent and a lot of well-known overseas performers have spoken very highly of it."
Mr Campbell, a life member of both the Otago Theatre Trust and Musical Theatre Dunedin, is ever-present in fundraising efforts to keep the Regent open.
He has played a role in the annual Regent book sale since its inception, as well as open days, working bees, tours, social events and front-of-house activities.
Services to the homeless and prisoner rehabilitation
A driving force in the homeless sector and prisoner rehabilitation, Carol Frost, of Dunedin, has been recognised for her work with a Queen’s Service Medal.
After returning from the United States in 2008 Ms Frost began working at the Prisoners’ Aid and Rehabilitation Society (Pars) in Dunedin, where she stayed for almost nine years.
"I really enjoyed the work, it was very good."
She then became the operations director for the Dunedin Night Shelter Trust in 2016.
When her husband died last year she decided to retire and spend time with her family.
She continued to work with the night shelter on a volunteer basis instead.
"I enjoy helping people.
"I never expected that anyone would recognise it as an award situation because I was paid to do the work."
In her role as operations director she oversaw the overnight running of the shelter and had set up systems to connect clients with other agencies.
She gathered donations of beds, clothing and kitchen utensils and provided them to clients as they moved into flats or boarding houses.
"The people that I dealt with were probably considered not quite up to standard. The truth is, they were always grateful for what I did for them.
"I learnt a lot from them."
Ms Frost also organised the annual Night Shelter Street Appeal, which required large amounts of after-hours work.
She said the award was not something she wanted, but she was "very grateful to have it".
Services to health and community
Retired Temuka pharmacist and avid volunteer Ron Luxton has been awarded a Queen’s Service Medal.
Mr Luxton has been a volunteer of multiple organisations including the Temuka Lions Club since 1974, International Board for New Zealand, Australia, Islands of the Pacific and Indonesia, and Temuka High School Board of Trustees (1994-96).
He is currently chairman of the South Canterbury District Health Board and the Aoraki MRI Charitable Trust.
Mr Luxton said he was shocked when he found out he had been offered the medal.
"I was a little surprised. Quite embarrassed really. But after a while I thought, if it acknowledges the community then I should be proud to get it."
He said his proudest achievement was leading the fundraising for an MRI machine at Timaru Hospital, as part of the Aoraki MRI Charitable Trust. The efforts managed to raise $3million in 18 months.
"It was a great effort, and now, if the machine breaks, we will have enough money to buy a new one without any community expense."
He was also proud of his time in Lions as elected director of the International Board for New Zealand, Australia, Islands of the Pacific and Indonesia.
"It was great to enable the Lions around the world to service their community.
"I’ve met many good friends through Lions, including some in New York. The job involved a lot of travelling, as well as running a business, and a family. I went to Chicago six times in one year once. I couldn’t have done it without my wife and children’s support."
He said the reason why he did so much volunteering was due to his "inability to say no".
"I get busy and I tell myself that I should give something up. But then I realise that I would just get roped into something else anyway.
"I do enjoy a challenge, and I’ve met some wonderful people during the groups I’ve been part of."
Services to Victim Support
For the past 25 years, an Invercargill volunteer has been on call night and day to support victims in the most delicate moments of their lives.
Dedicating her life to supporting others, Yvonne Mavis Officer was completely surprised when informed she was one of this year’s recipients of the Queen’s Service Order Medal.
The Otatara woman was honoured for her outstanding work with Victim Support.
Mrs Officer said she usually helped other people to get awards and never imagined she would be the one to be honoured.
"I’m feeling very humble about it.
"It makes me really wonder if I should have this honour. A lot of people do a lot of work like me. Maybe [I got] it because I’ve been doing victim support for 25 years."
Mrs Officer has provided help to more than 1000 victims and families over 550 support assignments during her years of volunteering.
She has spent many hours attending training days to better support victims of suicide and assault and has supported victims in court during the legal processes.
"This work is very important because we meet people in their most vulnerable time in their lives.
"It is big privilege to be involved in their lives and help them."
Mrs Officer was also acknowledged for her volunteer support work in a range of organisations including St John, at the Emergency Department and the children’s ward at Southland Hospital in Invercargill.
She also delivers Meals on Wheels and fundraises for various other charities, particularly Blind Low Vision NZ, during collection days.
Services to community
Humbled is how Betty Steel, of Heriot, describes feeling when she was informed she had been awarded a Queen’s Service Medal in the 2021 Queen’s Birthday Honours List.
"I am very much humbled by the award, although I am sure there are others here in Heriot who deserve it more than I do," the 97-year-old said.
Born in Gore in 1924 to Scottish immigrant parents, this still very mobile and service-orientated woman grew up during the Depression years, watched as Kingsford Smith landed the Southern Cross at Invercargill in 1933, and lived through World War 2, before marrying her late husband Vincent in 1947.
The couple moved to Kelso where they became farmers specialising in sheep and crop farming.
Her citation for the award recognises her significant contributions to West Otago’s Heriot community since 1945.
Mrs Steel joined the Kelso and West Otago Plunket Society in 1947. She still knits clothing, blankets and teddy bears for Plunket, Starship Hospital and the Neonatal Units in both Christchurch and Dunedin. She has been involved with the Country Women’s Institute since 1946, including as president of the Kelso Branch, and more recently with Moa Flat Rural Women since 2010. She joined the West Otago Vintage Club in 1986 and was made a life member in 2013. She catered at the Gore Aero Club for 10 years and until 2008 was a member of and caterer at the Heriot Golf Club, and the Heriot Bowling Club. Mrs Steel is an Elder of the Presbyterian Church, a helper at Heriot School’s Craft Week, and a member of the local RSA.
Services to sport and the community
For Paul Eric Tyson, a standout achievement in his life was being made a life member of Otago Children’s Athletics, New Zealand Children’s Athletics, and Athletics Otago.
"You never set out to achieve those sorts of things, you just give it your best, and for your peers to appreciate what you’re doing — it is something quite worthwhile," he said.
Now, he is "humbled" to be awarded the Queen’s Service Medal for his services to sport and the community.
Mr Tyson has a lifetime of involvement with sport in a voluntary capacity, particularly athletics, from grassroots to national governance level.
He said his passion for athletics began in 1984, in Otautau, when his then 6-year-old daughter saw children doing athletics over their fence and asked to try it.
"We went over and joined the Otautau club ... I started off helping and then got more and more involved.
"I’m still going 40-odd years later," he said.
Mr Tyson taught for 42 years in Whanganui, Southland and Dunedin before retiring from Kaikorai Valley College in 2014.
Being a teacher, he knew the value of physical education and strived to give children the opportunity to take part in sport, grow, and achieve their goals, he said.
Mr Tyson has been involved in sports administration as a volunteer coach, manager, event official, organiser, and support worker.
He has managed local and regional after-school activities, senior track and field athletics, and the South Island Colgate Games.
He also acted as the travelling assistant coach and manager for New Zealand athletes in the international Pacific Games.
Mr Tyson has been president of the New Zealand Children’s Athletics Association and Athletics Otago, and was involved with Junior Chamber International New Zealand.
He is also a highly valued rugby union referee, referee coach and mentor in Otago, across all club grades.
Mr Tyson has been a Dunedin South Lions Club board member for 20 years, secretary since 2014, and was president in 2004 and 2005, and said he "enjoyed every minute of it".