Queen's Birthday Honours: Southern recipients


Stewart Arthur Barnett
Services to agriculture and business

New Zealand's primary industries played a large part in the career of Stewart Barnett, who has been named an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit.

Mr Barnett (73), who spent 34 years with the former PPCS, now Silver Fern Farms, 22 of them as chief executive, said he was extraordinarily lucky to work for a farmers co-operative during his career as it gave him the chance to meet many people in the industry.

He also played a role on New Zealand producer boards, particularly the meat and deer industry boards.

"The meat industry involved me fully; it was constantly evolving.''

Mr Barnett said he was grateful and honoured to receive the award.

It was special to him, his wife and family who had supported him throughout his career.

He also paid tribute to the staff he worked with over the year because without them, he felt he would not have achieved as much has he had during his career.

It was not just the meat industry which caught his attention.

Looking for a challenge, Mr Barnett became a director of Marlborough Seafoods and Blue River Dairy, a sheep milking company in Southland.

All of the things he had tackled provided a challenge and an interest, Mr Barnett said.

In more recent times, Mr Barnett had acted as project director on the Rangi Ruru Project - a rebuild of Rangi Ruru Girls' School after the Christchurch earthquakes.

"We came in after the earthquakes to assist the school rebuild. After five or six years we have completed the rebuild of the campus and won some awards.

"The earthquakes were a challenge for Christchurch but also for the school which had to remain operating while the rebuild was completed.''

One of the major projects Mr Barnett was involved in was the construction of Forsyth Barr Stadium, in Dunedin. He served as a trustee and chaired the building committee for the Carisbrook Stadium Charitable Trust.

Asked did he still feel pride when he watched rugby being played at the stadium, Mr Barnett said everyone in New Zealand, but particularly those in Otago, should be proud.

"The rest of the world would like to have one like that. It is a brilliant stadium.''



Prof Elisabeth (Judy) Bellingham
Services to classical singing

For University of Otago William Evans Associate Prof in Voice Judy Bellingham, keeping quiet about receiving an MNZM for services to classical singing has been tortuous.

The 65-year-old opera singer, dedicated music teacher and provider of teacher professional development, has been wanting to sing it from the roof tops since she found out she was receiving the Queen's Birthday honour, which was announced today.

Prof Bellingham, who has taught singing for 50 years, was surprised to receive the honour.

"I was totally gobsmacked.

"I do what I do because I just love it. It's not a job. I love teaching singing.''

Prof Bellingham is a former president of the New Zealand Association of Teachers of Singing, she has been a vocal coach and board member for the New Zealand Youth Choir, and has supported and encouraged young singers nationally.

As chairwoman of the Dunedin Performing Arts Competitions Society, she ensured competitions in all disciplines of the arts were run.

Prof Bellingham has shared her knowledge and expertise as an adjudicator at the regionals and finals of the New Zealand Choral Federation's The Big Sing competition for secondary school pupils, and has provided workshops throughout the country.

As the artistic director and a tutor at the biennial residential New Zealand Singing School in Napier, Prof Bellingham has provided an opportunity for young singers to receive tuition and mentoring from nationally and internationally recognised teachers.

She has been a past winner of the New Zealand 1990 Commemoration Medal, and a recipient of the 1988 Elizabeth Baigent Mid-career Opera Bursary from the New Zealand Opera Society for services to opera.

Bob Berry
Services to cheese industry

The founder of Oamaru's Whitestone Cheese Company, Bob Berry, has been made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the Queen's Birthday honours.

Mr Berry, who is semi-retired and lives at Lakes Hayes, said he was delighted to accept the award on behalf of all those who had contributed to the boutique cheese-making enterprise.

The company employs 60 people and Whitestone is a recognised brand in the United States, Australia and the Pacific.

Mr Berry was born on D-Day 1944, was brought up in Karitane, attended Waitaki Boys' High School and on leaving school worked for stock and station agency Dalgety and Co.

He began farming a hill country property near Waikouaiti in 1972 and bought another farm at Maheno in 1982.

Mr Berry and his wife, Sue, decided to diversify into cheesemaking in 1987 during the rural downturn.

"I was sick of being a price-taker rather than a price-maker,'' Mr Berry said.

"A lot of farmers exited farming during the '80s and started all sorts of enterprises.''

Mr and Mrs Berry set up their cheese-making factory in a garage with the help of Evansdale Cheese founder Colin Dennison, and slowly built up their knowledge base by employing cheesemakers from Europe and elsewhere in New Zealand.

"All have contributed something to our recipes and the regional styles we have developed.''

The company was now putting out more cheese per day than it did during its entire first year, processing about 55,000 litres of milk a week.

Mr Berry said his favourite cheese was the company's "flagship'' Windsor blue.

He was a founding member of the New Zealand Specialist Cheesemakers Association, served as chairman for five years and is a life member.

He continues to sponsor many community initiatives through the company, including contributions to and sponsorship of the Oamaru Opera House and the Alps to Ocean cycle trail.

Whitestone Cheese is now run by his son, Simon.

Margaret Bruss
Services to netball

Margaret Bruss could not imagine her life without netball.

"I love everything about it. The people, the skills.''

Her passion began when she first stepped on to the court at high school during the 1950s.

"I loved playing it, but I was never a star player.''

She became known for decades in other roles in the sport including coach, selector, umpire and manager.

Mrs Bruss was president of the Otago Netball Association from 1975 to 1987, during which time she oversaw the building of six courts in Marlow Park due to increased interest in the sport.

In the 1990s, she helped to establish the association's Life Membership and Service Award subcommittee.

Her direct involvement with netball had lessened these days, except in her role as patron of the Dunedin Netball Centre, she said.

Mrs Bruss is a keen archivist who has written two books about Otago netball.

Keeping records was important, she said.

"It will be for people in the future. Although it's all changing now with technology.''

She has volunteered as an archivist at the Central Stories Museum and Gallery in Alexandra since 2007, and at the Alexandra branch of the New Zealand Genealogical Society as a treasurer and research officer for 10 years.

Mrs Bruss was a high school teacher in Dunedin for much of her life, but she and her husband Len moved to Alexandra 20 years ago.

Receiving the honour was a "terrible shock'' to start with, she said.

"For days I was walking around in a daze.''

Although she gave a lot to Otago netball, she got a lot back too, she said.

"I worked with some wonderful women.''

Bev Clark
Services to health

A champion of health services in southern rural towns, Bev Clark, of Wanaka, has been made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit.

Born in Winton in 1942, and now retired from her various health advocacy roles, Mrs Clark has a long history of fighting to retain and improve health services.

While farming at Hokonui, in Southland, with husband the late Boyd Clark, Mrs Clark became involved in the successful battle to retain, and improve, maternity services in Winton, spending eight years as chairwoman of the Central Southland Health Trust and the Winton Birthing Unit.

Mrs Clark said last week, at one point her husband joked she should move her bed to the unit because of the amount of time she was spending there.

In the late 1990s, Mrs Clark became involved in an even bigger battle, to retain and upgrade Clyde's very rundown Dunstan Hospital.

As chairwoman of the board of Central Otago Health Services Ltd, she was one of those who took on Labour health minister Annette King.

In 2003, the board threatened to resign over the state of the hospital, and Mrs Clark recalled being accused of "blackmailing'' the government and being described by Ms King as "petulant''.

But a public meeting of 1000 people backed the board and the government agreed to put in $7.6million, with the community adding about $3million more.

Mrs Clark has served as a director on the Southern Regional Health Authority and the Health Funding Authority, has chaired the Consumer Liaison Committee for the Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners and was a council member of their division of Rural Hospital Medicine.

She also spent six years on the New Zealand Psychologists Board.

Mrs Clark is a marriage and funeral celebrant in Wanaka and is a founding executive member, treasurer and life member of the Celebrants Association in New Zealand.

Michael David Ferrari, JP
Services to business and community

Michael Ferrari (76) and his business management skills have helped numerous organisations at local, national and international levels on a voluntary basis spanning more than four decades.

He held numerous leadership positions with the Otago Southland Employers' Association, The New Zealand Employers' Federation, Business New Zealand and the Otago Bridge Club.

He has volunteered with Business Mentors New Zealand since 1999 and worked with more than 250 businesses around Otago and 19 in the Pacific Islands, and was still mentoring in Dunedin last week.

Scottish-born and arriving in New Zealand aged 14, he was educated at the University of Otago.

Mr Ferrari has held various positions, including chairman, with Dunedin Citizens Advice Bureau since 1999 and represented the National Association of CAB.

He said the impetus behind his wide-ranging community involvement came from a combination of interests, energy, time and opportunity.

He was appointed to the board of Te Whare Pounamu Dunedin Women's Refuge in 2014 and was acting chairman from 2014-15, and also chairman of Enterprise Clutha Trust.

He remains the Ministry of Social Development's community representative to the Otago Southland Benefits Review Committee.

He was a founding member of Clutha Development Trust in 2013, and working party member of the Ngai Tahu Sinclair Wetlands Working Group. Mr Ferrari was a trustee of the Pact group since 2004 and the Creative Arts Trust since 2007.

Both support people with intellectual disabilities and addictions.

Stuart Heal
Services to cricket and community

For a "privileged'' life working in management roles in cricket, health and community organisations, Stuart Heal (63) thanks those around him.

"I've met so many initiative, positive, interesting people. I'm very lucky.''

He could not have his life without his wife Adrienne, he said.

"With all this travel, you can't do it without a supportive family.''

Mr Heal has dedicated years to his passion for cricket.

He has been chairman of New Zealand Cricket since 2013 and a director since 2008.

Before this he was Otago Cricket chairman for six years.

Overseeing the 2015 Cricket World Cup was a "great highlight'', he said.

"I loved seeing a rise in interest for the game.''

One his most "exciting'' roles was as chairman of Pioneer Energy, as its profits funded local projects, he said.

"It's a really cool thing. It all goes back to the community.''

Mr Heal has had various roles in his 10 years with the Well South Primary Health Network and is now its chairman.

"We're lucky with our primary networks in Southland and Otago. We have good cover.''

He has been involved with Rotary in New Zealand and from 2010 to 2012 was appointed a director of Rotary International.

The role only comes to New Zealand once every 10 to 12 years.

He is also director of the Southern Rural Fire Authority and the IFS Forestry Group, chairman of the University Book Shop, Otago and recently retired as a trustee of the Otago Hospice.

He was chief executive of agricultural supply co-operative CRT for 20 years.

"I am privileged to be able to do these things.''

Garry Harold Nixon
Services to rural health

Dr Garry Nixon sees his honour as recognition of the importance of rural hospital medicine as a specialty.

He has worked to improve the health of rural communities for 24 years but said it has been a team effort.

"I haven't done any of this by myself. I've been lucky to work with a lot of pretty committed people in that area and it's all been a result of the team effort,'' he says about his achievements.

Dr Nixon (55), of Alexandra, has been a medical officer and rural hospital doctor at Dunstan Hospital since 1992 and was instrumental in establishing rural hospital medicine as a specialty.

He has served as a researcher, teacher and lecturer in rural health at the University of Otago and has introduced several specialty training modules to benefit rural patients.

One of those modules - the certificate of clinician-performed ultrasound programme - has been recognised as a world-class programme of special benefit in remote rural areas.

Dr Nixon was made a Distinguished Fellow of the Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners in 2010.

In 2014, he was appointed chairman of the university's health science division's rural working party and, in 2015, he was made the director of the postgraduate rural medical programmes at the Dunedin School of Medicine.

His aim is to promote the vocation of rural hospital medicine to ensure the career is sustainable and attractive to doctors in the future.

"What gives me the most satisfaction is the opportunity to work with young doctors as they've been coming through - they're a great group.''

There was still a lot of work to do in rural health in terms of bringing it into line with other specialties in medicine so it had the same status and supports, Dr Nixon said.

Graham John Sycamore
Services to cycling

Graham Sycamore's decades as a cycling official have taken him from local events to the Olympics and earned him numerous awards and accolades.

But he said he did not expect to receive a Queen's Birthday honour.

"You do these jobs because you love doing them, not for recognition.''

Mr Sycamore (74) has been involved with cycling for almost 60 years as a competitor, administrator and official.

He said an incident in 1957 prompted him to learn more about the rules of competitive cycling.

Another competitor put in a protest over whether Mr Sycamore had fairly won a race, and he was not happy with the way the investigation was handled.

"I thought, when my racing days are over I will try and do a better job than the current guys are doing.''

That chance came in 1966 when Mr Sycamore went into business and found he did not have enough time for race training, so concentrated on other roles.

He has been a New Zealand referee since 1970 and in 1986 qualified as a commissaire with the International Cycling Union, a role which has taken him to seven Commonwealth Games, three Olympic Games and two world championships.

The union has a compulsory retirement age of 70 and Mr Sycamore's last engagement was the 2012 London Olympics. He received a union lifetime service award last year.

As an administrator he was secretary-general of the Oceania Cycling Federation for 22 years until 2014, is a current Cycling New Zealand board member, and has has helped organise the Tour of Southland race for many years.

Mr Sycamore has been an Invercargill city councillor for 15 years and is involved in several Invercargill community organisations.

He said he enjoyed his involvement in cycling.

"It's been a fantastic ride. I've got a lot more enjoyment out of it than the effort I've put into it, and that's reward enough. The biggest thing is the pleasure you get from the people you work with, and the great thrill of seeing young riders succeeding.''



Neil Douglas Boniface, JP
Services to local government and community

Long-serving Invercargill City councillor Neil Boniface was "surprised and delighted'' when he found out he was awarded the Queen's Service Order.

After first being elected to the Invercargill City Council in 1974, Cr Boniface (63) has served on it continuously since 1980.

He has also been involved in numerous other community groups and initiatives and wanted to thank all the people who had worked with him.

"It was quite humbling actually, because everything I have achieved has been working along side many other people who have contributed probably as much I have.''

He continued to enjoy serving Invercargill ratepayers.

"I just love local government. 

"It's an exciting business.

"You are dealing with services for people that they need everyday.''

Assuming he was elected in October's council elections. he wanted to serve for one more term.

"I've only got three more years and that would probably be it.''

One of his proudest achievements was being chairman of the $15.8 million upgrade of the Civic Theatre.

Apart from being a councillor, Mr Boniface was director of Electricity Invercargill Ltd for 24 years, and served on the Invercargill Licensing Trust Board for 27 years, six of those as deputy president.

He served as president of the Southland Justices of the Peace Association from 2013 to 2015 and continues to be the training officer for newly appointed JPs. He was a founding member of the steering committee for the Invercargill Citizens Advice Bureau and of the Southland Warm Homes Trust established in 2008, has been chairman of the Southland Relay for Life Committee since inception and has been a Rotarian for 17 years.

Lynda Mooij
Services to foster care


QSO (honorary) 

Johannes (John) Mooij
Services to foster care

Over the past 24 years, Invercargill couple Lynda and Johannes (John) Mooij have found room in their family for about 20 foster children.

But the Mooijs are not like most Child, Youth and Family carers, they look after children and adults with complex intellectual and physical needs such as Down syndrome, autism and foetal alcohol syndrome.


"There are enough people out there to take the run-of-the-mill children,'' Mrs Moij said.

"These children need a lot more care and work, and you have got to advocate for them to the max, and we are prepared to do that.''

When they got together the Mooijs had five biological children between them from previous marriages, and experience as foster carers.

They decided early on to take foster children with complex needs.

Of the 11 children they have fostered long term, three are now with them for life and last year they became permanent legal guardians to a fourth after her mother died. They range in age from 31 to 15.

"We call them our forever children,'' Mrs Mooij said.

Mr Mooij (60) works fulltime at the Tiwai Point aluminium smelter and Mrs Mooij (61) looks after the house and the children.

She said she was grateful to be able to do that.

"We may not have the latest this or that, but we have what children need - love and security. They need a home, not a house.''

Mr Mooij said being foster parents required teamwork.

"Lynda's work is at home, but we have to both row in the same direction. Because I do shift work I have been able to take part in many of the children's activities ... I've been on many school camps.''

The Mooijs encourage their children to attend school for as long as possible and participate in social and sporting activities.

"None of the children have been brought up to think they have special needs. There is no such thing as a normal child. The only normal I have is a cycle on my washing machine,'' Mrs Mooij said.

The Mooijs said they were surprised and humbled to receive Queen's Birthday honours.

Mrs Mooij has received a Queen's Service Order, while Mr Mooij, a citizen of the Netherlands which does not have Queen Elizabeth II as its head of state, receives an honorary Queen's Service Order.

Mrs Mooij said her mother and grandmother, who were "extreme royalists'', would have been delighted, and she and her husband are pleased too.

"It's a real privilege and quite a humbling experience for us. We do this because it's our love and our passion. We are just very ordinary people.''



Constance (Margaret) Dando
Services to senior citizens

A Dunedin woman who teaches strength and balance exercise programme to senior citizens was taken aback by the news of her Queen's Service Medal.

"It was totally unexpected,'' Margaret Dando said.

Ms Dando helps senior citizens in Otago retain mobility, avoid social isolation, and have a greater quality of life through her delivery of tai chi classes and the Steady As You Go community-based strength and balance exercise programme.

Ms Dando has been running the programme since 2002, when she started working as the Age Concern Otago falls prevention co-ordinator.

"It is a great job ... it's very fulfilling because you go to a group of people to lift their spirits.''

The original key purpose of the programme was to help prevent falls but Ms Dando had further developed it into a learning and leadership opportunity and social exercise event, by creating a partly self-funded, peer-led programme.

The former schoolteacher trains individuals in the class to lead sessions themselves.

She has been able to create a programme model which stretches resources and funding to help 1400 participants on a similar budget as when there were 350 participants.

She has trained peer leaders for the about 60 programmes across Otago and trained co-ordinators to establish Steady As You Go programmes in Invercargill, Ashburton, Christchurch, Wanganui, Thames, Tauranga and New Mexico in the United States.

Ms Dando won Age Concern New Zealand's Dignity Champion Award for Community in October last year for her falls prevention work.

Lynley Barbara Dear
Services as an author and to historical research

Invercargill author and poet Lynley Dear has been "astounded'' and delighted to receive the Queen's Service Medal.

Mrs Dear (71), who is also a historian and former teacher, has contributed to recording the history of the Southland region, having written more than 30 articles of local history interest for the Southland Times.

And she has provided research for a history of the Civic Theatre.

She enjoyed good health and greatly appreciated the strong support she had received from her husband, Russell, she said.

She contributed the text, including articles and poetry, to The Invercargill Book in 2005, and edited and designed the Southland Girls' High School centenary book in 1979.

She regularly performs at poetry readings, and won the Venture Southland Arts Award in 2014.

Her expertise and passion for history and heritage played key part in her creation of the Southland Boys' High School Museum, which opened in 2006.

She is also the museum's archivist and curator.

A column "Scanning the South'', which featured her poems, appeared regularly in the Southland Times for 15 years, until 2008, and the poems were gathered together in her collection Reach for a Poem.

She has published two further collections of poetry and three children's books.

And she has published three novels, the latest of them The Hollywood School of Dressmaking (2015).

Mrs Dear gained an MA (Hons) in German from the University of Otago in 1966, and taught German, French and English at Southland Girls' and Southland Boys' High School.

It had been "pure pleasure to be able to indulge my need to write plus my deep love for this southern place,'' she said.

And she had had the "bonus of having it appreciated,'' she said.

Ruari (Rory) Ingram Foley
Services to the community

Studholme's recipient of the Queen's Service Medal did not know quite what to think when he first read the letter from the Governor-General informing him of his recognition this Queen's Birthday weekend.

"I had to read it about five times to actually soak it in,'' Ruari (Rory) Ingram Foley said.

"I've been blown away, just really humbled.''

Mr Foley (39), with Impressive Events, and now Fear NZ, has raised about $100,000 for charities over the past five years with horror-themed mazes, haunted houses and zombie runs throughout the lower South Island.

There have been events in Waimate, Balclutha, Dunedin, Timaru, Invercargill, Christchurch and Dunedin.

"I'm just a normal guy who wanted to help people to make a difference in the world,'' he said.

The South Canterbury beef and cropping farmer said his background in paragliding and skydiving made him want to share the feeling of getting "adrenaline going ... just not jumping out of a plane or off a cliff''.

"We don't do what we call 'Halloween horror' which is quite soft, you know, skeletons and pumpkins, we do extreme, brutal horror,'' he said.

"If you're going to do something, you might as well go whole hog, I reckon.''

Mr Foley, who also organises family-friendly events, outdoor film events and art exhibitions has helped to raise money for the Cancer Society, a new playground in Waimate, the Timaru Plunket, Balclutha St John and Heart Kids New Zealand, as well as individual families in need.

He also provides mentoring for young people in life and business skills and has worked alongside local organisations dealing with troubled teens.

In 2014, he received a New Zealander of the Year Local Hero Award.

Graeme Humphries
Te Anau
For services to the New Zealand Fire Service

Te Anau volunteer firefighter Graeme Humphries says he being awarded a Queens Service Medal has made him want to do more volunteer work.

Mr Humphries began volunteering as a firefighter in 1972 and served for the Mossburn and Te Anau volunteer brigades.

He also served as the Chief Fire Officer of the Te Anau Brigade for 15 years.

He was previously awarded the New Zealand Fire Service Long Service Good Conduct medal and bar, the United Fire Brigades Association 25 year gold star award, and the International Year of the Volunteer medal in 2001 and 2011.

He has also led emergency management and fire risk exercises to prepare his community for the unexpected.

Mr Humphries said the medal came as a surprise.

"I'm probably like everyone else, I'm feeling quite humbled by it.''

His Fiordland nursery business was known to supply plants free of charge for local funerals and events.

Despite being constantly busy, he had no plans to stop volunteering.

"There will be no changes, actually I will probably try and do a bit more.''

He believed his medal was a culmination of the work of all Te Anau emergency services.

"I'd like to thank everyone that I have worked with and the Fire Service for putting up with me.''

Graeme Boyd Robertson, JP
Services to sport

Graeme Robertson's more than seven decades of contributions to a wide range of sports in Southland have been recognised with a Queen's Service Medal.

Mr Robertson (89) has been awarded six life memberships in Riverton community sports organisations, all of which hosted a community day in January to honour his contributions.

He said last night it was a "great surprise'' to be getting a Queen's Birthday honour.

"It's a great reward for my endeavors over the years,'' he said.

He joined the Riverton Rowing Club in 1944, actively rowing until 1965, including with the winning Junior Fours at the 1956 New Zealand Rowing championships, holding secretary, coach and other club roles, representing the club on the Southland Rowing Association and serving as 1995 New Zealand Rowing Umpire.

He was a foundation member of the Legion of Rowers Southland, secretary for many years and is now patron.

He joined the Riverton Regatta Club's committee in 1958 and has been secretary since 1965.

He is still treasurer at the Riverton Trotting Club, which he joined in 1961, and has been president and club captain of the Riverton Golf Club.

Mr Robertson played rugby for the Riverton Rugby club from 1943 to 1959, thereafter serving 14 years as coach and a term as vice-president.

Mr Robertson has been secretary for the St Mary's Anglican Church for 19 years and a member of Riverton Lions Club.

Other awards include Riverton Lions Club Citizen Award, 1999, and Legion of Rowers Southland Administrator of the Year Award, 1984.

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