2019 Award Recipients

50 years service award.

Outstanding voluntary community service was recognised at the Horowhenua Civic Honours Awards on Tuesday 19 November 2019. 

The Horowhenua District Council annual event was held at Te Takeretanga o Kura-hau-pō and awards were presented by Mayor Bernie Wanden, Mayoress Sharon Wanden and councillors. 

Mayor Wanden said the selection process was challenging with many notable nominations.

 “We are fortunate to have volunteers who contribute to making our community a better place and are deemed worthy of recognition by their fellow members and associates”. 

Civic Honours Awards

Civic Honours awards were presented to: 

Jack Shailer – Joining St John in 1970 after attending a first aid course for work, Jack has been in the service of the community and St John ever since.

The longest serving St John member in the region and almost as old as the organisation itself, he has experienced a lifetime of community service with St John.

Starting as ‘sand bug’ – a first aid worker on the rugby fields of club rugby matches in the Horowhenua – Jack made headlines early on in his first aid career, saving the life of a Foxton player who swallowed his tongue after being tackled. 

After 16 years, Jack retired from the rugby fields and being a ‘sand bug’, however this wasn’t to be the end of his St John involvement. 

Jack spent countless hours attending a raft of sporting fixtures as a first aider, including the annual powerboat racing on the Manawatū River, motor cross and horse race meetings.

When St John took over running the ambulance service from the hospital board in 1993, Jack took charge of the Horowhenua Region.

In 2005 Jack was duly awarded a Life Membership of the St John Central Region. To this day Jack remains actively involved, he keeps St John’s historic records and continues to chair the fellowship group.


Judith Sayer - ‘The jewel in the crown’ of the Shannon community is how Judith Sayer has been described.

Widowed at an early age with a young family did not stop Judith launching into mothering the Shannon community. 

Judith has been involved with various community organisations, from Plunket mothers and the Plunket Society to being President of the Girl Guides Association, a Brownie Leader and involved with Scouts.

For over 50 years Judith has faithfully served the Shannon community carrying out various volunteering achievements.

Judith was a parent helper at Shannon School and although she no longer has children at the school, she now plays a prominent role with the gardens.  The children flocking to her when she is there being clear testament to what a beautiful jewel she is.

Over the years Judith has willingly committed her time and energy to many organisations within the Shannon community such as the Shannon Play Centre, Shannon Progressive Association, Meals on Wheels and the Shannon Railway Station Museum and Visitor Centre, never once expecting recognition for what she does or has done. Today she is recognised.


Judith Hunt - Judith’s community involvement is wide and varied ranging from the Foxton Little Theatre, Levin Croquet Club, Foxton Garden Club and All Saints Church, to name but a few.

Judith has held many roles within the All Saints Church including Lay Minister, People’s Warden, Chair, Secretary, cleaner, gardener and even driver for those who are not able to transport themselves. Judith was instrumental in revamping the Church Op Shop over 12 years ago and is still at the helm today. Another task Judith has undertaken is delivering meals-on-wheels as well as being the go-to person for the food bank.

Judith has been a volunteer at the Foxton Little Theatre for over 40 years regularly supporting productions in backstage roles and assisting where she can, such as with catering and gardening.

The Levin Croquet Club has also benefited from Judith’s service as a qualified umpire, past president, club captain and secretary.

Judith has held every position within the Foxton Garden Circle and was instrumental in donating and planting natives along the Board Walk and at Victoria Park in Foxton. She has also been involved with the Keep Foxton Beautiful Society as secretary and organiser of many garden competitions. Judith was awarded a Keep NZ Beautiful Chairman’s Excellence Award in recognition of her contribution in 2008. She continues to be a member of Horowhenua Forest and Bird Society.


Jennifer McGrath - A lifetime of tirelessly working in our community, generously giving her time, resources and assistance to others, best describes Jenny McGrath.

Jenny grew up and was educated at Levin School and Horowhenua College, and spent much of her life working in our community, later retiring in Levin.

Involved in the Levin RSA, she has held the positions of Welfare Officer, Chair of Fundraising, Women’s Section, Air Force Association and all matters concerned with the operation and wellbeing of the local branch.

Jenny has made a significant contribution for the past 25 years on the RSA Poppy Day Appeal.  Providing morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea for the collectors with her sumptuous helpings of meatballs, curried sausages and sandwiches.

Jenny has given long and immeasurable service to the ‘Wahine’ musical group as a talented performer, conductor, and director - always giving a polished and professional performance.

Jenny is an integral part of the Horowhenua community and truly is a worthy recipient having given time and energy over a long period of time, displaying passion and attitude whilst doing so.


Pam Good - Pam is well known as a Primary School teacher in the Levin area serving for 30 years as a teacher, including 5 years as a reading recovery teacher and 14 years as a Deputy Principal. Pam retired in 2009 and today continues as a much loved relief teacher in local schools.

Pam became involved with Supergrans, now Skills 4 Living, in 2014 taking over the role of chairperson in 2015 and she remains today. Pam has made a significant contribution to the on-going viability of this community service provider with her tenacious advocacy. Pam is described as a collaborative and supportive board member and leader who has an absolute belief in doing right by and for the community. She is ‘wahine toa’ – a strong woman.

Pam has been an Eastern & Central Community Trustee for the past 8 years and is a long serving Trustee of the Levin Adventure Park spending the last nine years as Chairperson.  She is a strong advocate for this wonderful facility, organising and promoting its use throughout the community. Pam is continually working to ensure the ongoing development of the park leading many enhancements which often requires researching the latest most innovative equipment and sourcing funding. Pam’s focus is always on the advancement of the park and most importantly, the enjoyment of park users.

Pam has provided voluntary support and assistance to the Levin Rotary Club for over 17 years undertaking executive roles as a board member and as Club President.  She continues to facilitate and interview applicants for Rotary Youth Leadership Scholarships, helps organise fashion shows for the “Grandparents raising Grandchildren” fund, as well as providing dictionaries and books to local schools.

Having strong connections across our district and an ability to build relationships and foster networks, this is something Pam has done selflessly for numerous committees and groups. Pam has provided, and continues to provide, a long and valued service to our community.  She is a modest and unassuming person, with a strong will to succeed, and succeed well, in everything she does.

50 Years’ Service Award

50 Years’ Service Award was presented to:

Jenny Burnell - A true daughter of the Horowhenua district, Jenny Burnell has lived a full and active life within our district as a standout citizen over many decades. 

Jenny was a teacher at Fairfield School for many years and was absolutely adored and respected by her students. It was well known that students wanted to be in Miss Burnell’s class which saw hundreds of children benefit from her generosity and passionate teaching style.

In her younger years, Jenny was an active member of the Levin Young Farmers and Levin Country Girls.  She secured a trip to the USA after winning the national final of the International Farm Youth Exchange competition.

A founding member of the Rural Women’s Farming Federation (WDFF), for 40 years Jenny has held several positions including chairperson, secretary and committee member.

For over 50 years, Jenny has been an active member of the Horowhenua AP&I Association, Home Industries section. As Cooking Steward, this involved Jenny taking on many tasks including receiving entries into the cooking section, setting up displays, getting entries ready to be judged, packing down following the show and attending meetings.

Jenny was the first woman to become a member of the AP&I General Committee. Jenny’s role on the committee, amongst other tasks was to assist with organising the Miss Horowhenua Show, when it was under the AP&I Association.

Jenny was a foundation member of the Ōhau Good Neighbours Group – a small group aiming to be welcoming and provide neighbours with information and connections for the community and wider district.

She is also a founding member of the Ōhau Underpass Mural Group, who have brought a range of ages together to create a beautiful mural in the vital underpass. This is currently under way and is simply quite stunning.

Throughout her life, Jenny has provided long and valued service to our community with notable, beneficial results.  Above all Jenny is modest and unassuming, possessing a will to commit and succeed in whatever she puts her hand to. 

Certificates of Recognition

Certificates of Recognition were awarded to:

Shannon Railway Station Museum & Visitor Information Centre Volunteer Group - Established in December 2014, this committed group of volunteers has given countless hours of their time assisting with the running of the museum and visitor information centre.  The group started out with 18 members and while their numbers have dropped over the years, they still have 10 original members who are working at the centre and museum.  They have encountered many locals and hundreds of visitors each year who have stopped in for refreshments while picking up information.

The volunteers work on a roster system that has enabled the station to open five hours per day, seven days per week. It is highly commendable for a volunteer group to have sustained these hours, for this length of time. The volunteers provide information on attractions, events and services available in Shannon and wider district, not to mention a hot cup of tea and chat.


Garry Fraser - Long-time Waitārere Beach resident, Garry has been serving the community for over 30 years.  Garry can be found quietly behind the scenes, giving his time for the betterment of the Waitārere Community.

Over the years, Garry has consistently involved himself in the community, actively volunteering for beach clean ups, fundraising for community projects, organising raffles and painting community buildings.

Garry was fundamental in relocating and restoring the skateboard ramp at the Waitārere Domain for the youth of the community and visitors to enjoy. 

Garry is a founding member of the Waitārere Beach Wardens group, formed at the request of the local community.  He has been an active member for over 17 years, carrying out regular patrol duties to ensure beach users and residents remain safe.

Garry has also been a Waitārere Beach Progressive and Ratepayers Association member for over 13 years, serving as President for two years during this time.

Garry has a wealth of local knowledge often called upon by those who live within the tight knit Waitārere Beach community. The many hours of voluntary work that Garry has given the Waitārere Beach Community has been immeasurable and his dedication and commitment has not gone unnoticed.


Pamela Brooking - Pamela runs three after school clubs for local children organising and preparing games, activities, crafts, and teaching bible stories. She organises and runs week long ‘Holiday Clubs’ during the school holidays, at either Hinemoa House or at the Baptist Church in Rugby Street.

Organising and hosting a fortnightly Saturday morning board games club at Hinemoa House for the local children in the Taitoko area, Pamela provides an assortment of board and indoor games to play, and makes morning tea for them.  She gets great enjoyment out of providing the children with an opportunity to interact with each other.

Pamela also organises and raises sponsorship to send a local child to El Rancho or Forest Lakes camp during the school holidays. An experience they may have otherwise not have been able to participate in.

Pamela has been a bible teacher in schools for the last seven years at Levin and Levin East Schools, once a week.  She is always willing to help whenever there is a need.

A regular helper with the Hosanna Church Service, Pamela is one of a small team of leaders who prepare and lead the 11 services each year at the Church.  She is also a weekly helper at Adult Day Care, providing transportation and assisting when needed. 


Karen Morow-Griffin - Giving her time to numerous organisations within the district, willingly and with great dedication, Karen’s passion for what she does enables her to achieve all she sets out to do.

 Many community groups have benefited from Karen’s voluntary service such as Levin Arthritis Support Group, Breathe Easy Support Group, Levin Mobility Scooter Club, Motor Homes Group, Waitārere Beach Scout Group and Waitārere Beach Surf Life Saving Club.

Karen is known to have taken on the position of treasurer on many occasions.  Her financial skills have assisted numerous organisations to have healthy balance sheets and her good communication skills enabled committees to function well.

Supportive and encouraging to others, Karen is conscientious, follows through on commitments and is always willing to go beyond expectation for a great outcome.


Phillena Paki - Presented with many challenges during life, Phillena has faced and overcome them all with courage, determination and faith.  This has given her the strength of character, which she has brought to our community. 

A member of both the 2nd and 4th Company of Levin Girls Brigade.  Phillena’s caring and supportive nature has made a difference with the girls over many years as they always feel supported, listened to, and cared about as individuals.

Her many years as a volunteer at the Levin War Veterans home has reached a different age group. Phillena always has the time and patience to listen and chat to older residents who are finding life difficult to adjust to or feeling the loss of independence. Phillena is known to staff and residents for her kind heart and ‘can do’ attitude, and strong ability to make wonderful connections with those she comes in contact with.

Phillena is an active member of the Levin Uniting Parish, she is a willing helper in many activities, especially the Sunday evening meal.

People like Phillena are a rarity. Her dedication and commitment to our community deserves recognition and commendation.