News, Events and Culture

Civic Honour Awards recipients announced

Monday November 13 2017

Junne Bendall, Lyal Brenton and David Edge have been awarded Civic Honours, presented by Mayor Grant Smith at a ceremony tonight.

The annual Civic Awards are the city's highest recognition for voluntary service. Established in 1988, they highlight the efforts of those who give up their time to ensure community groups and organisations tick.

“The Civic Honour Awards are our city’s highest recognition for voluntary service, and the recipients are people who really have gone above and beyond,” Mayor Smith says.

Junne Bendall

Photo shows 2017 Civic Honour recipient Junne Bendall with a bronze sculpture in her garden.

Junne Bendall is recognised for service to the Palmerston North Public Sculpture Trust, Centrepoint Theatre and the city’s arts and culture sector.

Mrs Bendall has chaired the Palmerston North Public Sculpture Trust since its inception in 2006, successfully leading the fundraising, selection and installation of nine sculptures in the central city. She has just retired from the trust as the 10-year project has come to an end.

She says the sculptures have helped lift the city as is fitting for a regional centre. “They are often a talking point and people just get used to them. I think they are a form of art that is available to everybody, they just add a bit of vibrancy to the area they are in.”

When a group of local theatre lovers sought to establish a professional theatre company in the city Mrs Bendall became involved. In 1973, she become one of the first trustees of Centrepoint Theatre.

Lyal Brenton

Photo shows 2017 Civic Honour recipient Lyal Brenton in the Square with All Saints in the background.

Lyal Brenton is recognised for service to the city’s young people, those in need, and older people.

In 1994 Mr Brenton joined the Rotary Club of Takaro and it is through this club he has served the city in so many ways, including the Girls' Sheds Tours and master of ceremonies for the senior citizens afternoon. He's served on several Rotary youth committees and five times hosted international exchange students.

Seven years ago Mr Brenton became Big Brothers Big Sisters of Manawatu’s first mentor. He currently mentors 13-year-old Charles, who was lacking a male influence in his life.

For 12 years, he's donned a Santa suit his seamstress sister made him to bring smiles to the city’s young and not-so-young residents. He began at the Farmers Santa Cave and has since appeared at retirement homes, Te Manawa, the Christmas parade, and Christmas in The Square.

“I'd like to be Santa all year round but unfortunately it’s not an all-year-round activity,” Mr Brenton says. “It just gives me a chance to spread cheer to people who might not otherwise have it.”

David Edge

Photo shows 2017 Civic Honour recipient David Edge with a musical instrument.

David Edge is recognised for service to the Manawatu International Jazz & Blues Festival and Manawatu Jazz Club.

Dr Edge is a vital part of the team that has organised the festival each Queen’s Birthday Weekend since 1993. As coordinator of Café Scene, he does everything from scheduling to helping with promotion and advertising, and making sure the acts are feed, watered and have everything they need. He helps organise the schools' jazz competition and runs the event on the day. Instigated in 2000, the competition is part of the jazz festival and helps promote jazz to a new generation and raises the level of musicianship among school students.

Dr Edge shares the promotion and fundraising for the jazz festival with musical director Rodger Fox. He acts as master of ceremonies at festival concerts, effectively becoming the public face of the festival. The festival is run by the Manawatu Jazz Club, which he's been involved with since 1985, stepping up to the committee in 1993, and becoming president in 1997 – a position he still holds.

Dr Edge says receiving a Civic Honour Award is “amazing for something I enjoy doing.”