New Year Honours - Members of the New Zealand Order of Merit (MNZM)


Stewart Island

For services to the community

No man is an island — especially in Stewart Island.

Former Southland district councillor Bruce Ford (77) is proud of his many achievements through his political career of more than 40 years.

But he said none of them would be possible without the support of his passionate community.

"To achieve anything in a community you need to be supported by good teams, and I have been privileged to work with some of the best."

Mr Ford moved to the island in 1968 to work in the paua and fishing industry and never left.

He started his political career in 1977 as chairman of the Stewart Island County Council, then became a member of Stewart Island community board until he was elected as the Stewart Island representative at the Southland District Council in 2007.

He was a key driver in the development of Rakiura Heritage Centre Trust, the implementation of the visitor levy and the building of the island’s power station in 1988.

At this year’s last local body election, Mr Ford decided to not seek re-election which led him to farewell the role that made him one of the longest-serving councillors in the country.

However, he did not stop advocating for his community and since 2017, he has worked hard to build an affordable housing village for Stewart Island’s senior citizens.

After being awarded the Member of New Zealand Order of Merit for his services to the community, Mr Ford said 2022 was a good year, one to be remembered.

"I am sincerely appreciative of such a great and unexpected honour.

"I do feel that it shows the community support I have received over decades. I have enjoyed the many challenges over these years and feel satisfaction at seeing our community advance, both locally on Stewart Island and beyond."



For services to business and community development

Being an active and passionate member of the Invercargill community is something which Jocelyn O’Donnell learned from her father Bill Richardson in her childhood.

But it was years later, when the HWR Group director and owner was speaking to one of her children about the future for the city that she realised something needed to be done.

"So because we decided to continue to base our head office in Invercargill, we understood that to be able to attract people to the city, you needed to have a nice and welcoming place."

Mrs O’Donnell had been key to the Invercargill Central Ltd initiative between Invercargill City Council and HW Richardson to re-energise Invercargill’s central business district.

She chaired the Vibrant Urban Centres initiative for 12 months, which has led into the City Streets project for development around the inner-city.

She and her family’s businesses which included the Bill Richardson Transport World, the largest private automotive museum in the world, the Classic Motorcycle Mecca, and Dig This — has helped the region with tourism nationally and internationally.

She also was a founding director of Great South and has been a member of the Prime Minister’s Business Advisory Council.

Even with this impressive resume, Mrs O’Donnell was still shocked when she learned she had been recognised with a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to business and community development.

She was pleased to be able to contribute to the region in which she grew up.

"I’m completely blown away. I never expected this type of honour so it is very humbling.

"Southland has been kind to us and our businesses so it is really good to give back — and hopefully make a difference in it."