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Recipients from the South are among 178 Kiwis whose contributions have been acknowledged in today's Queen’s Birthday Honours.
For services to health and the Pacific community
George Ngaei says the most rewarding part of his job is being in the privileged position of having an impact on people’s lives.
He has been able to achieve that in both his motherland, the Cook Islands, and and New Zealand, where he grew up.
His father was also a doctor and from a young age Mr Ngaei had always wanted to follow in his footsteps.
It was only after beginning a career in agriculture that he changed tack to follow a path into medicine.
"I milked cows, I did all those things for almost two years until they allowed me to study subjects related to what I really wanted."
In his career, Mr Ngaei had been involved in improving Maori and Pacific health as a practising general surgeon in Invercargill.
He also travelled to Rarotonga every year to provide his expertise on medical issues for those living there.
"It doesn’t matter where I go [there], it will have someone asking for advice," he laughed.
Among his achievements, Mr Ngaei has also been chairman of the South Island Pacific Providers Collective since 2014 and was a committee member of the Auckland-based Cook Islands Health Network Association.
In 2002 he established a Pacific Island Specialist Nursing Service and has been chairman of Pacific Island Advisory and Cultural Trust (PIACT) since 2007.
He was also a representative for the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS) on the Southland Medical Foundation.
"Honestly, I never thought I would be anything else in my career. Medicine is a vocation and I feel honoured."
For services to sports administration and local government
Sport has been Tony Lepper’s lifelong love although he readily admits he was never very good at it.
Any skill he lacked he more than made up for in administration — something he is honoured to be recognised for.
He said he had been sitting on the news for two months but was "pretty excited".
"This is recognition for the people that work behind the scenes."
Having served two terms as Central Otago Mayor from 2010, he is as comfortable in local government as administering sport across multiple disciplines.
The former chairman of Sport Otago from 2006 to 2013, his pedigree is lengthy.
As Sport Central steering committee chairman he helped establish the annual Central Otago Sport Awards.
Appointed to Bowls New Zealand in 2015, he has been chairman since 2017.
He was on the Clyde Earnscleugh Rugby Club committee for 27 years, including 13 years as treasurer and three as president.
He helped introduce canoe polo to the area, was treasurer of the White Water Club for 11 years and was instrumental in working with the Central Otago White Water Club to get resource consent for the Hawea Water Park.
He was also treasurer of the Central Otago Multisport Club from 2006 to 2013 and is the immediate past president of the Central Otago Racing Club.
As a member of the Clyde Recreational and Reserve Committee from 1989 to 2010, he helped establish Clyde Bar and Garden in 1994 to help community growth and was chairman from 2001 to 2003.
Mr Lepper was appointed to the New Zealand Conservation Authority in 2017.
For services to women
Avis Rishworth is "absolutely gobsmacked" after receiving an ONZM for her services to women.
"It’s a great acknowledgement from the community."
Mrs Rishworth (64) has served the New Zealand Federation of Women’s Institutes (NZFWI) at a local and national level for more than 45 years.
After joining the Tuapeka Mouth Women’s Institute in 1974, she was immediately elected to the committee and held positions including president, secretary, treasurer and national conference delegate.
In 1986, she was elected to the South Otago Federation of Women’s Institutes and served a four-year term as president.
She was then elected to the NZFWI national executive committee, where she chaired the education committee before becoming vice-president and president (2002-2006).
During that time, she served as New Zealand’s United Nations Women’s Institute representative, was a NZFWI centennial committee member, and was the federation’s representative to the National Council of Women.
She has also been the Barbara Wood Trust chairwoman, an Otago Rural Support Trust trustee (2008 to 2018), the Century Farms New Zealand Organising Committee secretary (2008 to 2017) and is a Mealing Estate Trusts life trustee.
For services to art education
For more than four decades, Jim Tomlin has been at the forefront of art education in New Zealand.
That commitment has now been recognised with an ONZM for services to art education.
"I’m quite thrilled and shocked by this honour.
"It’s a nice surprise at the end of a long career."
Mr Tomlin (79) was the head of the Dunedin School of Art for 24 years, until 2000. During his time in the role, he led change in how the subject of art was perceived, recognised and taught in New Zealand.
At the time, diplomas were the only tertiary art qualifications that were offered, but his efforts and advocacy led to the creation of the first degrees and postgraduate qualifications in the field of fine art.
He has presented academic art education papers at dozens of conferences throughout Australia and New Zealand, and has had his works exhibited in almost 40 galleries.
For nearly 10 years, he was a member of the New Zealand Qualifications Authority’s Visual and Performing Arts Strategic Planning Committee, the University Art Syllabus Revision Committee, and the Unesco International Association of Art.
Mr Tomlin is also a trustee of the Beeby Foundation for Visual Arts Education and is an Elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, London.
For services to literature and poetry
Words are Brian Turner’s specialty and there is probably no better place to put pen to paper than against the rugged backdrop of Central Otago.
His works range from poetry, non-fiction books, television scripts, articles and columns, and he is no stranger to accolades, having been recognised with some of New Zealand’s top awards in literature over the past 40 years.
He believed this honour trumped all of them.
"I’m surprised and it’s humbling, it’s not something I would’ve conceived of receiving.
"But being a writer is a condition and you can’t do a lot about it."
Dr Turner has written biographies on Sir Colin Meads, Anton Oliver, Glenn Turner, and Josh Kronfeld.
He has published thirteen collections of poetry, most recently Selected Poems in 2019.
His collections Beyond and Just This won the New Zealand Book Award for Poetry in 1993 and 2010 respectively.
He was a founding member and subsequently chairman of the Central Otago Environmental Society. His best-selling books Into the Wider World (2009) and Elemental (2012) focus on New Zealand’s natural environment.
He received the University of Otago Robert Burns Fellowship in 1984 and was Te Mata Estate New Zealand Poet Laureate from 2003 to 2005.
His numerous awards also include the Prime Minister’s Award for Literary Achievement in Poetry in 2009, the Lauris Edmond Memorial Award for Poetry 2009, the JC Reid Memorial Prize in 1985, and the Commonwealth Poetry Prize 1979.
Dr Turner was awarded a University of Otago honorary doctorate in 2011.
Ani Patene Gazala Wainui, JP
For services to Maori language education
Experienced Invercargill te reo Maori educator Ani Wainui is quick to point out that her ONZM honour reflects a much wider effort than just her own.
"It’s not recognition of just what I’ve done but a whole lot of people behind me," Mrs Wainui said.
She had gained an honour, after "working outside the square", through innovative educational approaches.
"If you’re passionate about something you go for it—it’s as simple as that."
Mrs Wainui has contributed 55 years to teaching te reo Maori to students in both mainstream and kura kaupapa Maori schools.
She was the first itinerant teacher of Maori in Southland, encouraging the introduction of Maori language in mainstream primary schools in the 1970s.
She taught Maori at Cargill High School in Invercargill until 1989, then formed, at Murihiku Marae, the second Kura Kaupapa Maori in the South Island.
She was principal of Te Wharekura o Arowhenua for 28 years until 2017 — a period during which she oversaw growth in the roll from 35 students, initially, to 160 when she retired.
She has also chaired Te Runanga Nui o nga Kura Kaupapa Maori Te Aho Matua o Aotearoa, the national body representing Te Aho Matua Kura Kaupapa Maori.
Mrs Wainui is an Archdeacon in the Anglican Church, Te Hui Amorangi o Te Waipounamu.
For services to netball and the real estate industry
Joan Harnett-Kindley, earlier named as New Zealand netball’s dream player of the century, is also "extremely honoured" to be awarded an ONZM.
"I have been very fortunate to achieve all that I set out to do both in my sporting and working careers," she said.
"I have loved the competing and the doing of both," she said, adding that her life had been "very full".
Mrs Harnett-Kindley now lives in Wanaka.
Back in the 1960s she was the New Zealand netball captain and goal attack, and shot New Zealand to its first world championship victory in 1964.
She was named New Zealand netball’s dream player of the century at the organisation’s 75th anniversary dinner in 2000.
She played more than 100 matches for the Silver Ferns (1963-1974), including 26 matches across three World Cups, and was an inaugural inductee into the New Zealand Sports Hall of Fame in 1990.
A member of the Canterbury-Westland District Real Estate executive committee for 12 years, she was president of the Canterbury-Westland and Otago Districts’ committees for two years each, the first woman appointed to the Real Estate Council, and the first woman awarded both a fellowship and life membership to the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand.
For services to gymnastics
Nearly 30 years after receiving a Queen’s Service Medal for community services, Patricia Broad has received another honour — an MNZM for services to gymnastics.
The 89-year-old has been involved with gymnastics for 55 years, during which time she has established, and been head coach of, the St Bernadette’s Gymnastics Club since 1964.
"I feel pleased and surprised that people have thought to put in the nomination, and I’m pleased for the sport because it’s getting some recognition."
Mrs Broad has helped with all aspects of the club’s administration, she continues to coach five days a week on a voluntary basis, and the club hosts competitions throughout the year for gymnasts around the region.
She has coached at many levels, from junior pupils at St Bernadette’s School to a number of Otago representatives competing in the New Zealand Gymnastics Championships.
She has been a judge for Gymnastics New Zealand since 1977 and attained her international judge qualification in 2006.
Until recently, she regularly judged at national competitions for more than 25 years.
Mrs Broad continues to judge at many South Island competitions each year.
For her dedication to gymnastics, she was awarded a Kiwibank Local Hero Award in 2014.
For services to music
Central Otago conductor and musician John Buchanan is "quite astounded" and humbled by his inclusion in this year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours.
"It’s not something that you can do for yourself. It’s something that other people do for you.
"That’s what is so humbling — that people put all that energy into collecting the information and writing letters."
The 74-year-old, who now lives in Dunedin, conducted the Wanaka Singers (1995-2003), the Central Otago Regional Orchestra (1999-2008), established and conducted the Central Otago Regional Choir (2004-2018), and directed shows for the Wanaka community and the Alexandra Musical Society.
Mr Buchanan also conducted the Roxburgh Pioneer Energy Brass Band, winning New Zealand Championship awards in 2017 and 2018.
He was also musical director of Dunstan High School’s Dunstanza choir from 2006.
Under his direction, the choir won the Maori Performance Award at the 2017 Big Sing Finale and a Silver Commendation at the International Music Festival in Sydney, in 2018.
He is treasurer of the New Zealand Choral Federation Otago Branch, and in 2019 he spearheaded the federation’s Cadenza initiative, which widened inclusion of school choirs competing in a national choral competition.
Dr David Osborne Crerar
For services to mountaineering and outdoor recreation
A former Dunedin coroner who made significant contributions to mountaineering and improving the safety of outdoor recreation has been recognised.
David Crerar has been made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to mountaineering and outdoor recreation.
"I was flattered to learn that my name had been considered for a Queens Birthday honour," he said.
"My interest in tramping and mountaineering has allowed me to focus on specific safety aspects of these pastimes and I am pleased to note that my efforts have not been forgotten, and have been appreciated."
Mr Crerar spent 37 years as coroner for North Canterbury, Otago and Southland, and applied his mountaineering experience to his work.
He helped institute significant reforms to mountaineering management and safety throughout the country, including improved signage, seasonal track closures and management of services in winter conditions.
He was officer in charge of Scott Base, and was responsible for the safety of the New Zealand programme in the Antarctic.
He has been a member of the Canterbury Mountaineering Club since 1965, including time as secretary and treasurer.
"I have been involved in many aspects of trying to ensure that our society becomes safer over many years," he said.
As a past vice chair of the Mountain Safety Council, he advised the Department of Conservation on improving the safety and management of the Tongariro Crossing.
For services to the trades industry and business
A plumber who has become a leading advocate for water safety across the world at first thought his honour from the Queen was a spam email.
Graham Peter Jackson, known as Peter, was "humbled" to be put forward by colleagues, once he had realised it was genuine.
"My wife has been an integral part of our business, it was nice to think as a family we were going to be recognised."
Mr Jackson followed his father into the family trade, Jackson Plumbing, and over the course of 45 years trained about 80 apprentices, before selling the business five years ago.
During two spells with the New Zealand Plumbers, Gasfitters and Drainlayers Board, Mr Jackson played a key role in developing trade regulations and served as chairman.
Since 2010, he has been a board member and chair of Site Safe New Zealand and is currently chairman of Industry Connection for Excellence.
He has been involved with the Apprenticeship Training Trust, the Southern Institute of Technology and the Business Mentor Organisation. He is a chartered fellow of the New Zealand Institute of Directors and a New Zealand representative on the World Plumbing Council.
For services to Maori and conservation
An expert in Ngai Tahu place names, whakapapa, traditions and history, Muriel Johnstone initially felt shy about her MNZM honour, but has been encouraged by it.
"It does though strengthen my resolve to keep sharing these teachings for as long as I’m able," Mrs Johnstone said.
She has dedicated more than 40 years to her iwi, runanga and community, and is knowledgeable in iwi histories, shares whakapapa advice, and is a passionate advocate of the environment and of Rongoa Maori, traditional Maori healing.
She has been one of the key southern informants on Maori place names throughout Murihiku and Fiordland for the Ngai Tahu cultural mapping project Ka Huru Manu.
She has represented Te Runanga o Oraka-Aparima and Ngai Tahu on many governance boards, and chairs the Taramea Management Committee.
A respected kaumatua (elder) and Ministry for the Environment-accredited RMA hearings commissioner, she served on the Guardians of Lakes Manapouri, Monowai and Te Anau for 15 years, on the Southland Conservation Board (2005-2009), and has been a member of the Department of Conservation’s Kaitiaki Roopu o Murihiku for almost 20 years.
For services as a poet
Poet Cilla McQueen has been left humbled by her Queen’s Birthday recognition and believes it is good not only for her — but the arts and her home pad of Bluff.
She has been a distinguished poet since the early 1980s, has written 15 volumes of poetry, won the New Zealand Book Award for poetry three times, and was the New Zealand Poet Laureate between 2009 and 2011
"It makes me very happy and makes me feel very honoured.
"It is very much a voluntary affair being a poet, it is hard work ... and it is nice that someone noticed it."
She said while being Poet Laureate was in itself a huge honour, the MNZM award was something of a surprise, albeit a good one.
Dr McQueen primarily writes about the Otago and Southland regions, with a particular focus on landscapes, people and history. She frequently volunteers to give readings of her poetry at schools and community centres around New Zealand. She has been the Robert Burns Fellow at the University of Otago and was awarded an honorary doctorate by the university in 2008. In 2010, Dr McQueen received the Prime Minister’s Award for Literary Achievement.
For services to Fire and Emergency New Zealand
Despite being involved in the fire service for more than 50 years, Desmond Minehan says a Queen’s Birthday Honour came "out of the blue".
His introduction to the service was when he started his forestry career in 1971 on the West Coast, as it was part of his duties.
He made significant contributions to the improvement of fire and emergency management and governance in the Southland region after moving there in 1975. He was also instrumental in the amalgamation of the rural fire responsibilities of the major forestry companies to form the Southern Plantations Rural Fire Authority (SPRFA). He was chairman of the SPRFA Board from 2000 to 2003. In 2003, he led discussions to convince the Department of Conservation and local government to combine with SPRFA across Southland and parts of Otago, ultimately forming the Southern Rural Fire Authority (SRFA). He was chairman of the SRFA Board from 2009 to 2016, leading up to the formation of Fire and Emergency New Zealand.
Mr Minehan said he was humbled by the honour.
"You do things to do them — not for recognition. It is a real privilege and a real honour to have bestowed on me. But it also comes down to people and all the people on ground with me."
For services to the veterinary profession
Half a decade of service to the veterinary profession has earned Timaru’s Vince Peterson a Queen’s Birthday Honour.
Dr Peterson (79) worked as a veterinarian for almost 40 years in both Hokitika and Geraldine, and at times was the only veterinarian on the West Coast.
He said he was "surprised and astonished" when he learned he was being made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit.
"If you look around the world, there are a lot of people who do a lot of stuff that don’t get any recognition, that’s why I say I was surprised."
When he left university, he only intended to be a practitioner, but took on a variety of industry roles during his career.
In 1994 he became a board member for the Veterinary Professional Insurance Society (VPIS) and served as chairman from 1998 to 2016.
He was also a board member for the New Zealand Veterinary Association for four years, and was awarded the association’s President’s Award in 2009.
He has assisted other veterinarians over the years, including educating and advocating for them in times of need.
Dr Peterson also directly contributed to positive changes to the Veterinary Council’s complaints system.
For services to ploughing and the community
A Palmerston community stalwart was shocked to learn he was receiving a Queen’s Birthday Honour.
Noel Sheat (80) has been made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to ploughing and the community.
"It’s one of those things you never sort of expect, it was a bit of a surprise," he said.
He could not have achieved what he had without the support of his family, he said.
Mr Sheat has been involved with the New Zealand Ploughing Association for more than 50 years.
Initially involved as a competitor, he has since held a range of executive positions, including four years as secretary.
He was made a patron of the association in 2019.
He has competed in 19 New Zealand Ploughing Championships and four World Ploughing Championships.
He has organised four New Zealand Ploughing Championships and was the organising chairman of the 2010 World Ploughing Championships held in Methven.
He was awarded the Royal Agricultural Society of New Zealand medal for excellence in agriculture in 2017.
As well as his ploughing achievements, he has been a member of the Palmerston Masonic Lodge for 38 years, a member of the Lions Club of Palmerston for 40 years, and treasurer of the East Otago Vintage Machinery Museum in Palmerston for the past 25 years.
Mr Sheat helped establish the Goodwood Water Scheme project in 1960.
For services to brass bands
When Dianne Smeehuyzen learned she was to receive an MNZM for services to brass bands, it was so unexpected, she cried.
"I absolutely burst into tears. I was so rapt."
While teary-eyed, she was humble about the honour, saying many people had invested a lot of time in helping her succeed, including her late father, and believed the honour was partly theirs as well.
Miss Smeehuyzen (63) joined her first brass band when she was 10 years old and has gone on to be involved with six different bands as a player or administrator over the past 50 years.
She has also been Canterbury Provincial Brass Band Association treasurer, and Otago and Southland Brass Band Association vice-president and president.
After being elected to the Brass Band Association of New Zealand (BBANZ) national executive in 2001, she went on to become the association’s first female president (2006-2012).
In these roles, she organised and supervised numerous national and provincial contests, youth camps and meetings.
She was also the project co-ordinator of the BBANZ oral history project and remains on the team.
For her service to the association, she was appointed a life member of BBANZ in 2014.
For services to aviation
John Lamont has been a driving force behind the Warbirds Over Wanaka airshow and is one of New Zealand’s most experienced warbird pilots.
Mr Lamont joined the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) before his 30-year career as a commercial pilot.
He flew in the first Warbirds Over Wanaka airshow in 1988 and is one of only two pilots to have flown in every show since.
He has given countless hours of his time to the organising and running of the event over the past 22 years.
As chief pilot of the Wanaka-based Fighter Collection, he has set and implemented standards of piloting rare and restored aircraft which have been adopted throughout the country.
He has flown at airshows in the United Kingdom, France, Belgium, Switzerland, Germany, Poland, Denmark, Australia and the United States.
He was invited to lead the Royal New Zealand Air Force Red Checkers’ 50th anniversary flight over Christchurch in 2017.
Mr Lamont has voluntarily served as an instructor for the New Zealand Warbirds Association for the past 40 years, is a board member for the New Zealand Airshows Association and is a current incident manager for Wanaka Search and Rescue.
Mr Lamont said he was "stunned" to be given the award but was very fortunate to have been involved in aviation and, in particular, Warbirds Over Wanaka, its great group of people and the organisation.
He said he had been fascinated with aeroplanes since the age of four when his family moved to Blenheim and were not very far away from the Omaka aerodrome.
"I saw aeroplanes flying over all the time, and from then on I was hooked," he said.
Richard Alexander Scadden
For services to the community
After nearly 50 years of service to a range of community organisations in Granity and the wider Buller area, Richard Scadden is delighted to be recognised by his fellow residents.
Since 1972, Mr Scadden (84) has been an active member of Freemasons New Zealand, where he has held multiple high offices and initiated a support programme for the West Coast Helicopter Rescue Service.
He has also been an active fundraiser for several other organisations in the community over the years.
Mr Scadden volunteered for the Scout Association of New Zealand for 20 years and was the organisation’s Wellington East District Commissioner for three years.
He was a Granity Beautification Committee member for 19 years, South Granity Water Board chairman for seven years, a Buller Citizens Advice Bureau volunteer for 23 years, and a Granity Reserve Board member for 10 years, during which he served as treasurer and chairman.
He was also a member of the Northern Buller Communities Society Inc for 26 years, including time as deputy chairman, and remains an executive member.
Mr Scadden has been involved with the Westport RSA for 24 years, where he is sub-branch secretary and continues to organise both the Granity Dawn Parade and the Waimangaroa Community Service.
"It’s an honour to be recognised by the community that I’ve served," he said.
For services to conservation and search and rescue
Stuart Thorne has been involved with conservation all his life and has contributed to search and rescue and outdoor recreation for 50 years.
He worked with the Department of Lands and Survey and started a 40-year career with the Department of Conservation as a ranger in Mt Cook.
He said it was the mountains that attracted him there and motivated him to become involved with conservation.
Mr Thorne then moved to Wanaka where he achieved outstanding results in eradicating Lagarosiphon major from Lake Wanaka.
He helped reintroduce buff weka to the islands of Lake Wanaka in 2001 and the South Island robin to the West Matukituki Valley in 2008.
For years Mr Thorne has been a volunteer with the Matukituki Charitable Trust and Department of Conservation trapping and monitoring programmes, and for many summers has been a hut warden in Mt Aspiring National Park.
From 1984 to 2014 Mr Thorne was also a search and rescue police adviser in the Wanaka region and was involved in more than 150 search and rescue missions.
He was instrumental in establishing the Upper Clutha Tramping Club and has volunteered for Te Kakano, which replants native trees in the Upper Clutha area.
Mr Thorne was a member of the New Zealand Mountain Safety Council for 29 years, including a term as chairman.
He has also been president of Wanaka Jaycees, secretary of the Wanaka Lions Club, and a group leader for Wanaka Venturer Scouts.
Mr Thorne said he was "thrilled" to receive the award but stressed all the good outcomes in the conservation and search and rescue projects he was involved were always the result of a team effort.
For services to the community
Ponies, children and music have been a big part of Billie Tohill’s life.
Ms Tohill recalled growing up on an Earnscleugh orchard but "horses were always my thing".
She became a member of the Central Otago Pony Club in 1957 and was the club’s head instructor from 1985 to 2001.
She started the Clyde Pony Club in 1963, and since 2002 she has been a pony club district commissioner.
She believes there is value in children taking care of a pet.
"Most kids love their pony."
Ms Tohill has been involved with the Clyde Theatre Group since 1947 and has been musical director of various shows for the Alexandra Musical Society since 1979.
She particularly enjoyed children’s theatre productions such as Snow White and Pinocchio.
Ms Tohill has been an organist for the St John the Baptist Church in Alexandra for 60 years, and for the past 24 years she has been a key organiser and musical director for the Alexandra Blossom Festival senior queen event.
For the last 15 years she has been providing musical therapy for people with intellectual disabilities.
Ms Tohill is an honorary life member of the Clyde-Alexandra RSA and a life member of the Clyde Pony Club, Central Otago Pony Club, and Clyde Theatre Group.
For services to sport and education
When Malcolm Walker heard he was being awarded a QSM in the Queen’s Birthday Honours, he thought someone was pulling his leg.
"To be quite honest, I thought it was a joke.
"I feel embarrassed about this because I’m in a fantastic area here and I’ve worked with so many wonderful people on committees who have helped me along in all my pursuits."
The 65-year-old was a teacher in central Southland for more than 35 years, including 23 years as principal of Limehills School, and sat on a variety of education-based committees, including the Regional Principal Support Network and the Deep Cove Hostel Trust Education sub-committee as chairman.
Mr Walker was also a Central Primary Schools’ Sports Association member, a school cricket coach for more than 40 years, a Central Western Cricket Club volunteer, a Southland Primary Schools Athletics Committee member, and has coached and organised various club, school and representative athletics, rugby, touch and basketball teams.
For his coaching, he won the New Zealand Volunteer Coach of the Year and the Southland Volunteer Coach of the Year awards in 2001.
He helped drive fundraising for the Winton skate park, the establishment of the Limehills swimming pool, and was a foundation member of the Central Southland Squash Club.