Civic Honours and Youth Excellence Scholarships Presented

Published on 29 November 2017


Outstanding voluntary service to the community has seen nine people and one organisation officially acknowledged at the Horowhenua Civic Honours Awards last night.

The Horowhenua District Council annual event was held at the newly opened Te Awahou Nieuwe Stroom in Foxton and awards were presented by Mayor Michael Feyen.

Civic Honours Awards

Civic Honours awards were presented to:

  • Tony Strawbridge – a proud member of the Waitārere Beach community. Serving for a number of years in the Progressive & Ratepayers Association, he has volunteered his time as member, treasurer, vice president and president.
  • Gerald De Castro – a dedicated sporting enthusiast that has served his community for a great many years. His love for sports has led him to be heavily involved in the Horowhenua-Kāpiti Cricket Association where he currently serves as Vice President. For a very long time Gerald was the President of this association, and upon deciding to step down from the role, the club awarded him with the honorary role of Vice President to thank him for the tireless work he completed. Gerald, among passions for many other sports, has also volunteered extensively for the Horowhenua-Kāpiti Rugby Football Union, where he was nominated for the grassroots rugby heroes’ competition.
  • Christina Paton – has been a fierce and devoted public servant for around 20 years. Well known for her stance on water rights, Christina has been a strong advocate for keeping our waterways clean, removing waste and effluent from the rivers and particularly looking at how to restore the Manawatu River to a point where citizens can be proud of their surroundings. As a Foxton Beach resident, Christina has also served her community as secretary for the Foxton Beach Coast Care Society, which serves to implement the Foxton Beach Coastal management Plan, as well as driving public awareness and education regarding sustainable use and management of the extremely fragile dune environment.
  • Allan Little – a true soldier for the community. To list but a few of his achievements, he was awarded a Queens Service Medal for service to the community, became the first legally blind individual to be qualified as a community Nurse in New Zealand, and for many years has volunteered his time to the Levin and Districts Senior Citizens Association, where he serves as Vice President. Allan has remained tremendously active in the Horowhenua community, serving on a number of forums, and providing valuable advice to council staff on how to best meet the needs of the greater population.

Certificates of Recognition

Certificates of Recognition were awarded to:

  • The late Rose Thompson -  was involved in the Shannon Lions Club and Plunket Society where she organised and supported initiatives that benefitted many people, both young and old. Rose was also involved in the Shannon Progressive Association and Shannon Tourist and Development Taskforce where she provided endless hours of voluntary work and was essential in assisting with the restoration of the Shannon Railway Station. Sadly, since being nominated for this award Rose passed away. Her award was collected by her family.
  • Lew Rohloff – has held every position in the Horowhenua Grey Power Association Incorporation and was awarded a Life Membership; an achievement only four others had accomplished in the past 30 years. Lew’s expertise surrounding pensioner matters meant he was nominated for and accepted the responsibility of Chair for the Superannuation National Advisory Group of Grey Power National Federation. This requires him to champion social issues in the halls of Parliament. This is a challenge that Lew relishes and is very passionate about in advocating for the older person.
  • Mel Chandler - A veteran of the sporting world; 80 year old Mel Chandlers’ influence on our district is significant. Whilst growing up, Mel was an incredible runner, representing New Zealand, and competing against athletes such as Peter Snell. He was also involved in time trial cycling, cycle races, cross country running, and bantam weight boxing. This is an impressive list of sporting participation. He served the military as a Physical Training Instructor for around 20 years, where he gained qualifications for coaching basketball, soccer, swimming, as well as tennis, badminton, and a number of other sports.  Since moving to Horowhenua Mel has shared his sporting knowledge and expertise, giving many hours of his time in a voluntary capacity which has been vital for the development of many young sportsmen and women.
  • Margaret Williams - has been involved in the Older Persons Network, advocating for the elderly, the Community Wellbeing Committee, and multiple other action-based groups. For the MidCentral District Health Board Margaret has been hugely involved in Locality Planning for the Horowhenua, the Excellence in Homecare Project and the Strategic Imperatives Development Scheme; all of which have raised living conditions for thousands. She has also been a committed member of Horowhenua Grey Power for many years, sitting specifically on the Health Committee, which is a topic that Margaret is passionate about.
  • Sidney Anderson - a trained vocalist Sidney has been a loyal member of the Levin Music Society for many years; often performing, supporting younger musicians to develop their abilities and organising concerts around the district. In addition to being a member, Sidney has also served as President. Of little knowledge to most, Sidney frequently uses her talent to perform at rest homes where she encourages the residents to be involved in and enjoy music. This is thoroughly enjoyed and appreciated by the many residents who join in. One member of the community rightly said: "She has brought her joy in music to many”. Despite suffering a stroke recently, Sidney has continued to serve; sharing her joy and passion with those around her.

Mayoral Award

A Mayoral Award was presented to:

  • The Horowhenua Special Olympics Committee - 2017 marks the 30th year anniversary of the establishment of Special Olympics in our district. Special Olympics offers sports training, competition, companionship and camaraderie for children and adults with disabilities. It is first and foremost a sports organisation but provides athletes with so much more than the physical benefits of exercise: It’s about fun, friendship, the feeling of being a part of something and ultimately improving overall quality of life for participants. Special Olympics Horowhenua has more than 30 registered volunteers and a further 30 who assist at events on an annual basis. The volunteers have expertise in a wide range of sporting codes, they enable positive learning experiences for those involved. The success of Special Olympics in our District is thanks to the considerable contributions of dedicated parents and volunteers; many of whom have served voluntarily for over 15 years. In addition to the coaches, the athletes themselves work hard in training, and because of this, have achieved many National and International successes.

In addition to the Civic Honours Awards, the Council’s 2017 Horowhenua Youth Excellence Scholarships were presented to 12 young people. These acknowledge excellence in academic subjects, art/culture, community service, and sport, by young people aged between 12 and 24.

The $250 scholarships primarily acknowledge excellence, but also provide a small financial contribution and encourage local youth to strive to achieve their goals and dreams.

Horowhenua Youth Excellence Scholarships

Horowhenua Youth Excellence Scholarships were presented to:

  • Samantha Hansen (Sport)
  • Fraser Bartholomew (Sport)
  • Meghan Davenport (Academia)
  • Joshua Young (Academia)
  • Carly Christensen (Academia)
  • Viliami Mohi (Art and Culture)
  • Tessa Paulin (Art and Culture)
  • Hannah Wedlock (Art and Culture)
  • Emily Anderson (Community Service)
  • James Atkinson (Community Service)
  • Emily Schleuss (Community Service)
  • Josiah Tavita-Metcalfe (Sport)