News, Events and Culture

Civic Awards 2010 to 2016

Read about recipients of our city's highest honour.

Civic Awards recipients 2016

The work of our five 2016 recipients spans arts and culture, horticulture, sports, health, social housing, farming, and support for refugee and migrant communities.


Marise Clark

Marise Clark is well-known for her involvement with Edwards Pit Park, the former clay and shingle quarry in Featherston Street which is being transformed into a native species park.

She has chaired Pit Park People Society for most of the past nine years and currently holds the role.

She is also a founding member of REACH (Roslyn Education and Community Health), which began five years ago to support the Roslyn community.

Stephen Fisher

Stephen Fisher's contribution to the city's vibrant theatre and music scenes stretches more than four decades.

As chairperson of the Globe Theatre Trust Board since 2002, Stephen has been instrumental in the redevelopment of the theatre.

Stephen joined the Manawatu Theatre Society in 1972 and has served as both president and secretary.

He founded the Globe Theatre Awards and has been musical director for countless shows.

Eunice Love

Eunice Love was a member of the group that started selling Save the Children merchandise in the city in 1976.

For 22 years, Eunice prepared the roster for shop volunteers and trained them.

During her 35 years of service to the Manawatu branch of Save the Children, Eunice was president twice and also secretary.

She has also served the community through Scouts and All Saints Anglican Church.

Lilian Rowe

Lilian Rowe has been the roster manager for the Friends of the Regent since 2009, ensuring there are sufficient volunteers on for each event.

There are currently 90 names on the register with 60 to 70 of these people available at any one time.

She volunteers for the mobile shop at Palmerston North Hospital and teaches religious education to Takaro School students and through Church on Vogel.

Sue Trim

Sue Trim has been a netball volunteer for longer than many of us have been alive beginning as a teenager helping Cath Vautier, after whom Vautier Park is named, with team registrations on Saturday mornings.

At 75, Sue can still be found at Vautier Park well before 8am helping run Saturday netball, a job she's been doing for 43 years continuously.

She served on the Netball Manawatu executive for 25 years and has done just about every job going in the sport.


There were no Civic Awards in 2014.


Julie Ellis

When Julie Ellis's two-year-old son was diagnosed with autism, her world was tipped upside down.

Julie Ellis

It took her a year to come to terms with the diagnosis and understand what she needed to do to support Josh.

Julie says having a special needs child can be stressful, lonely, confusing and expensive.

She wanted support and to meet other parents of children on the autism spectrum disorder. Julie discovered there was not much offered and while private behavioural therapy was available, it was extremely expensive.

In 2003 she established the Teach Me Trust to support families who have children with ASD or related conditions in Manawatu and Horowhenua.

To date, the trust has distributed $320,000 to local families for anything extra an autistic child needs a typical child doesn't. This could be treatment, a safety trampoline (autistic children can find the repetition soothing) or specialist educational software which recognises facial expressions.

The Teach Me Trust also provides information and moral support.

Julie is now looking for parents of younger autistic children to join the trust as she has recently resigned to focus on helping Josh through NCEA.

In 2010, she started a weekly gymnastics class for children with ASD, providing a less structured environment than normal gym classes and one where the parents don't get stressed because their child is making a lot of noise or will not get off a particular piece of equipment.

She has trained young adults, often trainee teachers or psychology students, to work as autism caregivers helping children with homework and taking them on outings.

Julie organised a social skills course for autistic children, teaching them to greet people, take turns and make conversation.

When Josh was eight they wrote How Joshua Learned, explaining how he thinks and strategies Julie and her husband Tim had developed to help Josh cope with everyday situations like going in the car and having a haircut. The book was published by The National Autistic Society in the UK.

The mother of three is a trained primary school teacher who now works as a writer of graded readers and picture books. She has written two other books about children with autism - The New Neighbours and Samantha's Brother.

She was heavily involved in the production of the DVD In My Shoes: An Everyday Look at Autism Spectrum Disorder for the Promotion of Acceptance and Inclusion for Autism Spectrum Disorder Trust. Julie was a key player from conception to distribution, co-writing three of the scripts, assisting with editing and promoting the DVD. To date 22,000 DVDs have been sent from Palmerston North throughout New Zealand and to 14 other countries.

About one in 100 New Zealanders has an autism spectrum disorder, a figure Julie says some might be surprised about as people with autism are often hidden. For example, children with ASD often attend school part time so they are not visible to other parents at the school gate at 9am and 3pm.

Julie shares her knowledge not only with parents, but teachers and health professionals. MidCentral Health clinical nurse specialist Dina Whatnell says Julie shares practical ideas and strategies workshop participants can transfer to enhance their professional practice.

Julie has been a member of Autism Manawatu's committee, helping raise the profile of the organisation.

Julie is working on establishing a teen social club, changing direction as Josh grows to try and provide what he needs. She is also writing a book of handy hints for parents on how to enjoy their time with their autistic child.

Pat Hickton

While in solitary confinement in a prisoner of war camp in France, Pat Hickton recalled how people had cared for him in children's homes.

Pat Hickton

Pat's mother died when he was four and until he was 13 and started work he lived in children's homes in the lower North Island.

Pat also reflected on the Resistance fighters and French villagers who had helped him evade capture when the RAF plane he was in was shot down in September 1941.

He resolved to help others as much as he could and today his voluntary service over many decades is recognised.

After some weeks dodging the German soldiers, Pat was captured in Andorra and taken to an underground prisoner of war camp on the French-Italian border.

He spent 10 months there including 60 days in solitary confinement for spitting at a guard who first spat at Pat.

In August 1942, Pat escaped via a rat-infested sewer while the guards were watching a concert. He was once again helped by the Resistance, being taken by a trawler off the south French coast, then on a destroyer to Gibraltar, then by battleship to Glasgow. Pat returned to New Zealand the following year.

One of the Resistance fighters who helped him was Nancy Wake, the New Zealand-born White Mouse. In 2003, Pat read Nancy was destitute and living in Australia. Pat wrote to the then leaders of New Zealand, Australia, Britain and France. He was delighted when he later found out Nancy had been placed in a London nursing home.

Pak'nSave shoppers might recognise Pat as the man behind the Poppy Day stall there. He has taken to spraying some of the poppies with perfume, an added attraction for female buyers. He told one woman who wasn't going to buy a poppy he had been propagating the perfumed ones for 10 years. She believed him.

Pat pins poppies on people with arthritic hands and has been known to offer a twirl in the Pak'nSave foyer to women while their husbands are buying a Lotto ticket.

For the past 10 years, Pat has been the chief Poppy Day collector in Palmerston North.

As with many returned servicemen, Pat wonders why he came back when so many did not and sees his voluntary work as his payment for being spared.

The 92-year-old is a life member of the Palmerston North Returned and Services Association. Since he retired he has been a regular hospital and home visitor, and he helps people by doing their gardens and shopping. He loves gardening and often takes produce from his own garden when visiting.

Pat is president of the King's Empire Veterans Manawatu branch, a position he has held since 2008. He helps organise Anzac Day services and is patron of the Hokowhitu Bowling Club, where he does the garden.

Pat had a long career with the railways and was then employed at the Dairy Research Institute making cheese until his retirement in 1987.

He says some people think life is all about good things for them - no floods, no droughts and being able to pick money off trees. Instead, people have to take the good with the bad.

He had a pacemaker fitted earlier this year, but says he is not one for sitting down. If people need a hand he wants to help them.

As those who nominated Pat for this award wrote, he is always cheerful and will help out if his diary allows.

Malcolm Nicol

The first boxing cup Malcolm Nicol won has pride of place in his china cabinet. It's tiny but in his seven-year-old mind he was the world champion.

Malcolm Nicol

For 40 years Malcolm has been the head coach of the Palmerston North Boxing Club and for him the reward is seeing his charges have their hand raised in the air in victory.

As a young man, Malcolm boxed at the now defunct Kiwi Boxing Club, following the gloves of his father who boxed in the army. He credits boxing with having never smoked as smokers were kicked out the club door due to the effect cigarettes had on their lungs.

Malcolm was in his 20s when his two younger brothers wanted to try boxing, so he took them along to the Palmerston North Boxing Club. The club's founder wanted to retire and in 1973 asked Malcolm to take over as coach.

Malcolm's motivation is his love of the sport - he enjoys the competitiveness and the sportsmanship and he has made friends for life.

Malcolm has turned out 46 national champions including Danny Meehan, who won the Jamieson Belt, boxing's equivalent of the Ranfurly Shield. He has only recently started coaching female boxers and had success with Lisa Wamoana, who won a New Zealand championship.

Malcolm has taken New Zealand teams to Australia and Samoa as well as making countless trips to tournaments within New Zealand with Palmerston North boxers.

He recalls taking a boy to a tournament in Te Awamutu. The boy fell asleep on the way home, gripping his trophy so tightly has hand was just about purple. The trophy was the first thing he had won in his life and he wasn't going to let it go.

The club has two training nights a week - Tuesdays for anyone and Thursdays for seniors and the club's 10 registered boxers. Up to 30 people attend the Tuesday open nights.

The club charges just $2 a night but Malcolm says if kids cannot afford it he would rather let them in for free, than have them wander the streets. He has found kids with few prospects often go on to be good boxers as someone has taken an interest in them.

Malcolm says over the years it has been a battle to get gear and a couple of times he has paid the rent from his own pocket. This year, though, he has the backing of a good committee.

Malcolm's wife Shayne is also involved in the club, serving as treasurer, and washing and ironing training gear.

Malcolm, 66, retired a month ago from working in the freezers at Foodstuffs. He recently had his spine rebuilt following cancer and found missing training nights frustrating. He hopes to be walking unaided by December to take the junior boys to a tournament in Hamilton.

Now he is retired, Malcolm wants to spend up to four afternoons a week training unemployed youth.

He organises the club's annual tournament. For the past 15 years it has been held at the Princess Tavern, attracting boxers from as far afield as Christchurch. Entry for spectators is free and the tournament is popular due to Malcolm's skilful matching of opponents.

The gentle, mellow man says there is no use stomping and carrying on when judges' decisions do not go the way of his boxers. Instead he thinks there is always tomorrow - or next week - for another crack.

Helen Johnson

When Helen Johnson was a child, she hit her head on the bottom of a swimming pool and consequently didn't learn to swim.

Helen Johnson

Stroke forward to 2000 when daughter Keri-Anne, then 13, came home from a Special Olympics swimming event with a certificate and a mile-wide smile.

Helen thought this was an organisation to be involved in and get involved she did, starting as a parent helper at swimming lessons. In 2002 she learnt to swim so she could coach the sport. The Special Olympics Manawatu team has grown from 13 to more than 40 swimmers with Helen drawing in other coaches.

Attending the Special Olympics National Games in 2001, Helen was exposed to the bigger picture and was sold on the organisation.

Helen co-ordinates the Manawatu club programmes and events, supporting coaches and athletes along the way. She has served as chairperson of Special Olympics Manawatu and secretary of Special Olympics Lower North Island.

In 2003 she learnt basketball so she could help start a team. There are now six basketball coaches and three teams in Manawatu.

In 2006 Helen resurrected Special Olympics athletics in Manawatu and currently there are 20 athletes and three coaches.

Keen to help Mike Ryan introduce skiing, Helen donned her skis, but at the bottom of Happy Valley one day with sore feet, she swore never again. However, when Mike said she couldn't attend the 2011 Special Olympics National Winter Games if she couldn't ski, Helen went back up the mountain and had lessons.

Skiing and golf are where Helen is currently directing her coaching talents. However, after picking up the role of head table tennis coach in the New Zealand team going to the Special Olympics Asia Pacific Games, she plans to introduce table tennis to the Manawatu line-up of 10 sports disciplines.

She is also a Bocce and Athletics New Zealand official.

Helen helped put together the successful bid for Palmerston North to host the 2009 National Games.

She regularly takes teams to events, highlights including the Special Olympics World Summer Games in Shanghai and Athens.

In December Helen will be part of the 22-strong New Zealand team to the Asia Pacific Games in Newcastle, NSW. It is credit to Helen and the Manawatu club that 11 of those representatives are from here.

Helen is driven by giving people with intellectual disabilities the opportunity to do something most people think they can't. She enjoys seeing each athlete overcome difficult challenges as they become increasingly independent.

In 1995 as a parent, Helen began her involvement with Parent to Parent Manawatu, a support and information network for families of children with disabilities. Helen has been a support parent since 2001. In 2007 she was elected to the national board and this year became national president.

Since 2008 Helen has been a member of the Manawatu Horowhenua COGS Local Distribution Committee.

She was a Street Van volunteer for several years. As well as being a team member, she was a co-leader and on the committee.

She credits serving on a Plunket committee and the Milson School and Ross Intermediate boards of trustees with giving her a good grounding in governance, leadership and organisation structure.

Helen, a designer and dressmaker by trade, admits she sometimes gets overloaded, and often used to be at her computer by 5am to get everything finished. She spends about 20 hours a week on her voluntary work.

Daughter Keri-Anne, now 27, still swims and enjoys basketball and skiing.

Helen points to photos of young people enjoying a recent skiing camp and says the personal achievements and smiles make it all worth it.

David Chapple

David Chapple planned to stay in Palmerston North for only six months. That was in 1963 and he is still here, serving his community.

David Chapple

David spent his working life as an architect, often giving his services pro bono or at a non-commercial rate to community projects including Arohanui Hospice and Massey University Christian Centre. He has assisted many church and sports groups with their building plans.

David says helping people was instilled in him as a boy, using whatever talents he had been given to leave the place a little better than he found it.

At high school he received a prize for service - the only school prize he got. He used to run the book room.

His Christian faith has also been a motivator for his community service.

He has held many leadership positions in the Awapuni Rotary Club and St Matthew's Anglican Church in Awapuni.

As a Rotarian David has helped set up more than three Probus clubs, but says he is still too busy to join one himself.

David served as chairman of the Manawatu branch of the New Zealand Historic Places Trust, taking a special interest in the preservation of the Hoffman Kiln.

He was chairman of Across Social Services for seven years and he has also been involved in the Palmerston North Christian Home Trust and Palmerston North Anglican Children's Trust.

David was a member of the Cityscapes ginger group, which successfully advocated for enhanced entrances into the city. He was on the working party which assessed potential sites for a second city bridge across the Manawatu River and assisted in the setting up of the Square Edge Community Arts Centre. He chaired The Square Consultation Group and served on the trust to establish a community house.

David is currently part of Wildbase's push to build a rehabilitation centre at the Esplanade.

When David was a young architect he used to fill his evenings studying woodwork at tech, skills which have come in handy recently.

David has become one of the faces of MenzShed Manawatu. He helped to establish a MenzShed in Palmerston North and is currently the chairman.

David gets just as much satisfaction from the little projects as the big ones, perhaps even more. At the moment he is helping to make an indoor mini golf course for the Marion Kennedy Centre and helping build trolleys for a Blue Light trolley derby in November.

David says he has been blessed with a supportive wife, Helen, and they do voluntary work together including the distribution of Ezee Meals in Palmerston North. David says he and Helen complement each other.

Asked why he has stayed in Palmerston North all these years, David says it is just a great place to be. It is a very easy place to do business and is about the right size, having everything one needs but is not too big that one feels lost.

The final word goes to Anglican Archdeacon Emeritus Bernard Faull: "In his professional and personal life David takes time to notice people and things and to look to see how he can add value to a project or support and enable someone on their life's journey."


Anne Kathryn A'Court

Anne Kathryn A'Court is awarded a Civic Honour because of her sustained voluntary contribution to the people of Palmerston North which has made this city a more caring place.

For nearly 40 years Anne has, in spite health challenges of her own, passionately served the people of Palmerston North through her volunteer work with the Order of St John, Hearing Association Manawatū Incorporated, Diabetes Manawatū Incorporated, Arthritis Manawatū and Sport Manawatū's "Push Play" activities.

Selflessly supporting others in the community, Anne is always the first to offer assistance and provides it cheerfully. She actively supports the members of the organisations she volunteers for so they can fulfil their roles, has helped raise thousands of dollars, has manned offices, organised exercise classes and helped on committees.

Anne can be relied on to help organise or lend a hand behind the scenes. Anne at her own expense generously collects and drives members of the organisations she supports to both national conferences and local meetings. Whenever refreshments need to be provided or a room needs cleaning or when raffle tickets need to be sold, Anne is always there.

A quiet achiever, Anne places emphasis on people and relationships. She has enhanced both the lives of those who run the organisations she helps out at and those whom the organisations' support.

Meriam Pendon Garzon Findlay

Meriam Pendon Garzon Findlay is awarded a Civic Honour for her outstanding commitment to Palmerston North's migrant community and volunteer work with the city's economically disadvantaged.

Over the last 20 years Palmerston North has become more multicultural. Meriam was among the first to recognise the challenges this brings and led the way through her volunteer work.

A Filipino Kiwi, Meriam helped establish the Filipino Club in the 1990s and is still an active member today, serving on the committee.

Miriam helps to keep a close eye on recent Filipino arrivals. Not easily intimidated, Meriam has been known to put herself at risk while assisting women to leave an abusive relationship.

Meriam was involved in the early stage of the Ethnic Council of Manawatū (now the Manawatū Multicultural Council) and takes an active part in seeing that refugees and other migrants are integrated into the community as smoothly as possible.

A founding member of the Shepherd's Rest Trust along with her husband, Meriam helps with the day-to-day work of buying the food and planning the menus. She willingly collects and delivers residents to and from houses to appointments and is always happy to clean up, change rooms or even pick up a paint brush.

Involved with the Street Van since its inception, Meriam is a valued team member. Contributing through various activities over the years, Meriam started out cleaning and preparing the van and still buys food and works on a one-to-one basis with women on the streets.

Barry Hugh Gush

Barry Hugh Gush is awarded a Civic Honour for his lengthy service to Lawn Bowls and his extraordinary fundraising abilities for Arohanui Hospice.

A sportsman in his own right, Barry competed and holds many Lawn Bowls titles. He successfully transformed from sportsman to coach and for the last 26 years he has worked tirelessly to coach others and promote Lawn Bowls.

Barry started coaching in 1992 and became a certified coach in 1996. He is renowned for having just the right amount of patience and the dedication required to be a successful coach. He is more than willing to share his experience and knowledge with anyone who wants to learn.

Actively involved with the running of both Bowls Manawatū and the Northern Bowling Club, Barry has served in many positions on various committees.

Since 1986 Barry has organised the annual Hospice Tournament which consistently raises large sums of money for Arohanui Hospice. To date the tournament has raised more than $100,000 for the hospice - much of this is due to Barry's hard work, vision and leadership.

Arohanui Hospice provides a sense of dignity to the dying, their families and friends. This professional service is only possible because of the generosity and support of the wider community - and in particular, Barry Gush.

This Civic Honour Award acknowledges Barry's passion and commitment to developing others and his unique strength in turning that passion into a successful fundraising activity.

Margaret Elaine Gregory

Margaret Elaine Gregory is awarded a Civic Honour for her inspirational commitment to Lions, those living with cancer, the Hokowhitu community and the wider communities of Palmerston North.

An effective, valuable leader Margaret has fulfilled many roles with the Lions Club of Rose City (Palmerston North) including president, zone chairman and district governor of 202D.

Margaret's passion for youth leadership led to the establishment in 2010 of a Leo Club at Palmerston North Intermediate Normal School. There she has helped guide students in leadership roles and many have since gone on to be confident leaders at secondary school.

Margaret is a valued and dedicated team member with the Cancer Society Manawatū. She is vice-chair of the Relay for Life committee, involving 14 Lions Clubs in supplying food, car-parking and the Luminaria. For 10 years she has fulfilled numerous roles with Camp Quality Wellington Central Districts Committee. Camp Quality is an organisation dedicated to giving children with cancer fun-filled days at camp and beyond.

A patient advocate at Arohanui Hospice, Margaret is dedicated to the provision of quality palliative care.

The current chair of the Hokowhitu Village Community Centre, Margaret has also volunteered at the Regent Theatre since 1998, and serves as a Justice of the Peace.

A tireless worker, it is Margaret's thoughtful, caring nature that inspires others to work towards the same goal, and we recognise this with this Civic Honour Award.

Claire Morris

Claire Morris is one of Palmerston North's quietly dedicated volunteers. She receives the Civic Honour Award for her work with those who have suffered strokes. Claire is a volunteer for the Stroke Foundation, having become involved because the group was short of volunteers. Sixteen years later, Claire is still involved - she gives her time freely, works efficiently, and is always cheerful.

For many years Claire has worked in the pool at the Palmerston North Hospital helping stroke victims exercise. She works on a one-to-one basis with stroke victims before and after their time in the pool helping them to use the showers, dry and dress. Claire manages the roster of those wanting to use the pool, making sure they all exercise correctly and don't suffer fatigue. On top of this she assists with games and social afternoons as well as outings. Her assistance and social involvement has, without a doubt, been beneficial to the wellbeing and happiness of the people she works with.

Claire has a generous spirit. She supported her late husband in his own endeavours whilst raising five daughters. Her volunteering extends to Girl Guiding where she has helped out for over a quarter of a century. She shares the bounty of her garden with those in need, and provides them with transport to doctor's appointments or just to get the shopping.

As one of Claire's nominees has stated, Claire's loyal service over such an extended period can only be measured by the faces of those that she meets and laughs with at the Palmerston North Stroke Foundation.

Claire's ongoing commitment to working with stroke victims is providing a better quality of life to those unfortunate enough to have had a stroke.

Thank you, Claire for your loyalty and dedication, you are a worthy recipient of this Civic Honour.

Mary Leith Rowe

Mary Leith Rowe has been awarded a Civic Honour for her volunteer work with the Returned Services Association, Age Concern and Grey Power.

Leith Rowe

Since 1977 Leith has been involved with the RSA in one capacity or another, on a voluntary level. She has worked on the executive committee as vice president, and served on the services and planning, ceremonial, awards, Poppy Day, housie, redevelopment and fundraising sub-committees.

She has helped to run indoor bowls, outdoor bowls, social activities and pool club. Leith also played an active part in the women's section of the Palmerston North RSA, Meals on Wheels, fundraising for the Red Cross and Arohanui Hospice.

Leith has organised coffee mornings and afternoons, helped to feed those attending ANZAC Day celebrations and organised children's and grandchildren's Christmas parties. She is also one of the team of volunteers who visit RSA members in hospital and works in the Welfare team regularly visiting members in their own homes.

Currently Leith is the chairperson of the PN RSA Trust Fund and has been a trustee for many years. She has been an active member of Age Concern since 1985 and more recently Grey Power.

To date her dedication to the RSA has been recognised with several certificates of merit, a Life Membership and the Gold Star for outstanding service.

This Civic Honour Award acknowledges the work Leith has done in the community and the fact that she has done it for an extended period of time, willingly and for the benefit of others.


Rod McKenzie

Anyone who has been part of a voluntary organisation knows goodwill and good intentions only take a group so far. At some stage there is a need to raise money and to account for that money to funders and donors.

For the last 36 years Rod McKenzie has willingly shouldered leadership and accountability roles in a variety of organisations in Palmerston North and the wider Manawatu.

He lives by the guiding principles of Rotary - truth, fairness, the building of goodwill and friendship and putting his time into projects that are beneficial to all. He has twice been honoured by Rotary in his 32 years of service - most recently in June of this year with a Paul Harris Sapphire Pin.

Twenty years as finance chair for Arohanui Hospice has seen him give unstintingly of his time and professional expertise and he is acknowledged by his peers for his high ethical standards and his excellent fiscal governance.

He has accounted for public purse funding of the Manawatu Community Law Centre for more than 10 years and been treasurer for a decade for Globe Theatre.

Involvement with Gang Show began with driving daughters to rehearsals and eventually resulted in his being financial controller for 25 years.

As chairman of the board of the local YMCA he has seen the gym through four different relocations and been part of the team of locals who have rescued and revived Camp Rangi Woods.

He has worked with Life Education Trust - an organisation that seeks to educate young people about substance abuse. He has also given back to his own professional body - working in a voluntary role for the local Institute of Chartered Accountants for 15 years.

Rod was born in Feilding, and after graduating from university began his working career in a national accounting firm in Wellington. He moved to Palmerston North in 1974 and he and his wife Mary raised their two daughters in the city.

His local community work began with Winchester Street School Committee where he was a member for many years.

His nomination is supported by:

  • Rotary International District 9940
  • Arohanui Hospice Service Trust
  • YMCA Palmerston North
  • Camp Rangi Woods
  • The Globe Theatre Trust Board
  • Manawatu Community Law Centre
  • Manawatu Gang Show
  • Life Education Trust
  • The NZ Institute of Chartered Accountants

Rod is held in high esteem by the legal and accounting professions, the city's voluntary sector, and the wider community of Palmerston North. He is spoken about as a man who is extremely ethical and always willing to give of his time and expertise to the community.

Over many years he has given time and support to organisations in need of sound financial governance and his involvement with these groups has enabled them to make a difference to the quality of their organisation. The provision of sound ethical and fiscal governance is important to the viability of the voluntary sector. In today's environment it is often difficult to find people of Rod's ability and experience prepared to give of their time so generously.

The city is the richer in the broadest sense of that word as a result of his efforts.

Allan Bela Nagy

Some people take centre stage and some people work behind the scenes. Allan Nagy is a man who makes things possible without having the spotlight on him. He has unequalled expertise in all aspects of theatre management and technical delivery. He has given many thousands of unpaid hours to live theatre in Manawatu.

Allan's voluntary work on major productions involves considerable time and work over a 12 month period prior to a show reaching the stage. While working on one show the process is well underway for next year's major show and also for two shows presented at Abbey Theatre each year.

He manages his volunteer efforts alongside a demanding business role as regional transport manager for Turners.

Allan is a founding member of the Musical Theatre NZ Consortium. The consortium procures the theatrical rights to a show, builds the sets and props and makes the show costumes. Each Society within the consortium then has the opportunity to use these materials for their own local production.

By being a part of this consortium Abbey Theatre has been able to join with the Regent Theatre Trust to present CATS in 2007, Beauty and the Beast in 2008 and Miss Saigon in 2009.

Allan's experience and expertise is called upon by local and touring shows to the city. His enthusiasm and knowledge is a great asset in encouraging and promoting quality musical productions in Palmerston North.

He first became a member of Palmerston North Operatic Society at the tender age of 17. Since then he has had an active part in almost every show produced by the society. He's been crew member, technical advisor, has stage managed at least 10 productions and been production manager for a further seven. He's been financial controller for major productions and mentored new production teams.

Allan's business acumen and common sense has had great a effect on the running of the Society, especially during a critical time when he sought the help of ex-board members to successfully bring the Society's affairs back on track.

He has over 30 years of hands on involvement with the Society. He is currently a serving member of the Abbey Musical Theatre Board and is its immediate past president.

He was chair of the executive in the 80s. He has been chair of the facilities and equipment business unit and also runs the Abbey Social Club with his wife, Kay. Both he and his wife have been made life members of the Society.

Allan is a member of the Executive of Musical Theatre New Zealand and is the representative for the lower North Island. In 2006 he was presented with a Merit Award and in 2008 his wife, Kay also received an honour for services to musical theatre in New Zealand.

In 2009 Allan attended a production of Miss Saigon in Chicago and later negotiated a first for the Regent Theatre - the participation of a Broadway, New York star in a Palmerston North production.

When Palmerston North City Council was planning the refurbishment of the Regent in 1996 Allan became a member of the Regent Trust Board. He was a technical consultant for the new theatre rigging and a representative of PNOS. He was also a member of the organising committee for the Regent Reopening Festival.

Allan has had involvement with many Gang Shows and has toured New Zealand with the Royal New Zealand Ballet as head flyman for its season of The Nutcracker. He has worked as a rigger, follow-spot operator, flyman and security for many touring concerts and shows.

Allan's theatre work is a passion shared by his wife, Kay.

The city honours his work and is truly grateful and appreciative for the years of entertainment that his efforts have made possible.


Five people have been awarded Palmerston North Civic Awards in 2010.

The awards are acknowledgement for a diverse range of community work that includes:

  • Championship and preservation of one of the city's most beloved buildings
  • Community action
  • Environmental championship
  • Fundraising for the ill and disadvantaged
  • Involvement in the arts
  • Looking after the purse strings of voluntary groups
  • Roles in service clubs
  • Support for sport

Each year the Civic Awards go to people whose actions over a long period of time demonstrate them to be generous and inspirational. These are people who motivate and galvanise others in their vision of what a better tomorrow might be.

"As mayor of the city I find this annual award ceremony heartening. It's a reminder of how many good people work to make our city and district a resilient, self reliant community. Every community is a network of relationships. The civic award recipients are people who are relationship builders; people who not only work for the greater good, but who take others along for the ride.

"I thank you all on behalf of the city and on behalf of those people whose lives are touched by your endeavours."

Doug Brew

Doug Brew brings two key skills to his volunteer and community work. He's a brilliant organiser and he's good at raising money.

Doug Brew

Doug contributes to both the Palmerston North Community and the Manawatu District where he now resides. Professionally he has made the lower north island a safer place to live.

His nomination for a civic award is warmly endorsed by the New Zealand Police. Doug served 29 years of his distinguished police career in Palmerston North city. As a detective inspector he led the fight against serious crime in the central policing district. Since his retirement four years ago he has worked as a civilian on police special enquiries.

He has been twice honoured for his police work, is recognised for his skill as an investigator and has led many homicide enquiries.

Doug is a talented community fundraiser. His efforts have helped build a rescue helicopter hangar at Palmerston North hospital as well as provide medical treatment for people who might not otherwise have been able to afford it.

His community work includes being a successful fundraiser for Salvation Army and Methodist Social Service Food Drives and a co-ordinator of the volunteers who collect donated goods on the day of the drives.

The army estimates he has been integral to raising $100,000 to fund the drives and has organised at least 10,000 people over the 20 years of his involvement.

He has given generously of his time to club rugby in the Manawatu, as a team manager, a club chairman and a club president.

Relay for Life is one of the fundraising success stories of Palmerston North. Doug Brew, as part of his work for the Middle Districts Lions Club, has been on the event organising committee since 2001. He's in charge of logistics which means co-ordinating a mini army of service club volunteers to look after the practicalities of a 24 hour event with 2,000 participants. Volunteers collect rubbish, direct traffic, help sponsors, organise furniture and ensure there's good security and adequate sanitation.

All that organising has been a part of what it's taken to raise $2.5 million for the Cancer Society.

Marilyn & Bruce Bulloch

The Bullochs have been jointly involved in grass roots voluntary work in Palmerston North for 30 years.

Marilyn and Bruce Bulloch

Marilyn helped establish Neighbourhood Support in the city in 1985 and has seen that grow to an organisation with excellent links to formal emergency services. Bruce is a valued office holder in the NZ Farm Forestry Association - an organisation he has been involved with both nationally and locally.

The Bullochs have worked to strengthen the social threads of their immediate neighbourhood. They have been very active in the Awapuni Ward Committee. They've used that experience to support and encourage others to participate in the city's democratic dialogue and to engage in the submission process. They are tireless champions of green space and environmental issues.

The Railway Land Action Group which they spearheaded eventually successfully achieved protection for land directly across the road from the Globe and Centrepoint Theatres.

They have worked and campaigned for reserve land on Fitzherbert Avenue, for Pit Park, the Linklater Block, planted at Waitoetoe Park, participated in the Esplanade Review and championed access to river land behind Buick Crescent.

Sometimes their views were at odds with authorities, but that is the nature of activism.

They are known by everyone who has been involved with them as very active volunteers - they are a couple you can count on to be there on the day. They're tree planters and walkers and cup of tea makers as well as people with an impressive understanding of grass roots democracy, legal processes and how to fight a good fight.

The Bullochs devote their time to the issues they believe in. As a result our world is a greener place than it otherwise would have been and the city is a safer, more supportive place to live.

John Reddiex

John has been a quiet, tireless voluntary worker in various community organisations in Palmerston North over many years, often taking on one of the most responsible and least sought roles in the not for profit sector - that of treasurer.John Reddiex

He joined Community Shelter Manawatu in 1996 as treasurer and continues that work today as the treasurer of the organisation it later became - Manawatu Community Housing Trust. He has helped negotiate mortgage finance with Housing NZ to ensure there was money for maintenance on the trust's 16 flats, and his excellent fiscal reporting has helped the organisation through tough times.

He was secretary/treasurer of Age Concern for many years and helped create the solid organisation it is today.

For the Manawatu Rugby Supporters Club John recovered the club finances to allow monies to be directed to the Save the Turbos campaign and to local junior rugby.

John has worked for over 25 years as a committee member and treasurer for ParaFed Manawatu and in so doing is a living example of someone for whom disability is not a disabler. His voluntary work record includes involvement with Options for 14 years, Phoenix, the Takaro Sports Club and the Disability Persons Assembly.

John has also contributed his treasurer's skills to the Palmerston North Neighbourhood Support and Palmerston North Victim Support groups, supporting and enabling their valuable work in our community. He is valued by those who know him for his great sense of humour as much as for his steady hand on the organisational coffers.

Maurice Rowe

Maurice Rowe has used his considerable vision and his ability to think strategically to help create one of the most successful regional theatres in provincial Australasia.

Maurice Rowe

Over a period of 19 years Maurice has worked to save, restore and develop the Regent Theatre. This iconic building is today a vital and central venue for the performing arts in the city and is widely used for civic and community celebrations.

Beyond the building is a network of human endeavour. This includes the Regent Theatre Trust Board which Maurice Rowe chairs, the Friends of the Regent which he helped to form and Regent Theatre Promotions which he was also instrumental in developing.

Salvaging and renovating the theatre and creating an operational business structure has been a complex project. Hundreds of people and many hours of voluntary and professional effort have been involved. There have been negotiations, purchases, the development of legal frameworks, millions of dollars worth of fundraising, and the creation and leadership of teams of people who work well and efficiently together. Maurice Rowe was the Regent Trust Board's inaugural chair. While Jim Jeffries chaired through the fundraising stage, in recent years Maurice has resumed his leadership role to consolidate the theatre's operational viability.

Maurice Rowe quietly gets behind the projects he believes in - sometimes he leads, often he sets up the legal frameworks within which others can lead or operate.

While the Regent is one of the more visible examples of his community work, Maurice is also one of those instrumental in the work of the Manawatu Music for Youth Trust. This group owns, hires, insures and replaces musical instruments for a long standing Saturday morning group tuition scheme that gives group music performance to about 500 children per year.

He has also recently helped with the fundraising and building of The Centre on the Massey University Campus and has provided support for the Manawatu Tram Trust. In addition he has through the law firm in which he is a partner, provided pro bono advice and support to numerous charitable trusts and sports organisations in the city.

he law firm in which he is a partner, provided pro bono advice and support to numerous charitable trusts and sports organisations in the city.