Love of people drove community volunteer

Acts of Kindness trustees Grant and Anne Hardy are pictured at the Dunedin Town Hall ahead of...
Acts of Kindness trustees Grant and Anne Hardy are pictured at the Dunedin Town Hall ahead of last year’s Dunedin Community Christmas Dinner. PHOTO: BRENDA HARWOOD
Acts of Kindness Trust co-founder and a driving force behind the popular annual Dunedin Community Christmas Dinner for the past 10 years, Anne Hardy, has died aged 60.

Mrs Hardy, who had been battling cancer since July last year, died last Thursday at Otago Community Hospice.

Husband Grant Hardy, who worked with her to run a series of large-scale community events in Dunedin, including the Light Party, Christmas in the Stadium and the Christmas Dinner, has paid tribute to her community spirit.

"Anne loved people — all the events we have run together have come out of that love for the people of the city," Mr Hardy said.

Anne Snell was born in Feilding and raised and educated in Balclutha, the daughter of Telford farm training institute founder Rod Snell.

After leaving school, she went to work in the banking sector and remained in the field for 40 years, including many years at Bank of New Zealand.

After founding the Acts of Kindness Trust in 2010, the couple stepped up to take over organising the Dunedin Community Christmas Dinner, in 2013, when founders the Rev David Brown and his wife Jean stepped down after 20 years.

"Anne saw the article about it in the newspaper [Otago Daily Times] on Boxing Day, and immediately felt the call to take it on," Mr Hardy said.

In the years since, the couple and fellow Acts of Kindness trustee John Watson have organised eight Christmas dinners at the Dunedin Town Hall, with hundreds of volunteers helping to cater for up to 500 guests.

The event had to be paused in 2020 and 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

"Anne always did the administration and looked after the volunteers — that was her strength.

"She loved the volunteers and she loved the guests."

Grant and Anne Hardy’s son Zachariah was also a willing helper at the dinner and other events.

Despite dealing with cancer treatment after being diagnosed in July, 2022, Mrs Hardy was still determined to play a hands-on role in the Christmas dinner event.

"That really shows her heart, and her strong community focus and love.

"I think she is to be commended for that," Mr Hardy said.

He planned to honour the commitment to the Christmas Dinner by "battling on" with organising the event.

"Hopefully, people will be able to step up and help."

Anne Hardy is survived by husband Grant and son Zachariah.

 - A funeral service will be held on Monday, July 31, from 1.30pm at Campbell & Sons, and will also be livestreamed online — for information visit