Whangarei District Council is delighted to announce the recipients of the 2017 Civic Honours Awards. The district’s top honours for this year go to Kelvin Attwood, Linda Melville, Maxine Neighbour and Audrey Trimmer in recognition of their outstanding service to the community.
Councillor Crichton Christie, who chairs the Civic Honours committee, says a Civic Honour Award is the highest honour a council can bestow on a resident. Only four Civic Honours are awarded each year in the Whangarei district.
The 2017 recipients were announced at a special ceremony last week with friends, family members, the Mayor, councillors and local dignitaries in attendance.
“These awards recognise people who have made a significant contribution to our district. These four recipients are outstanding examples of the difference one person can make to their community,” he says. “These people by their personal leadership, inspiration, sacrifice or devotion to a cause, have improved the wellbeing of the Whangarei district.”
Cr Christie says each award recipient was nominated by their peers. “The recipients are nominated by the people who have seen what they have achieved and witnessed the long hours they worked and their struggles and victories.”
An indispensable asset to the Bland Bay community as a marae volunteer, Coastguard radio operator and emergency First Aid provider.
Linda Melville is recognised for her dedicated service to the Bland Bay and Whangaruru community as a first response First Aid provider, Coastguard radio operator and longtime volunteer at local marae.
Loved and respected throughout her community, Linda is described as someone who has a wonderful rapport with young and old alike - a person who is always ready with a kind word, a cup of tea or a shoulder to cry on.
Raised in Auckland, Linda began her working career as a caterer working at Mt Albert Boys Grammar. She is married to Ray and they have one daughter, Tamara.
Linda moved to Bland Bay in 1992 and soon became an indispensable part of the community. Her amazing catering and organisational skills meant she quickly became part of a so-called “Dream Team”, that were always on hand to help at local marae functions. Linda also helped run the popular Whangaruru Easter Fishing Family Carnival for many years.
Linda and Ray volunteered for Coastguard providing radio cover from 7am to 5pm, seven days a week, from 2002 to 2006 when coastguard calls were centralised to Auckland. This voluntary work involved daily logging of all boats, tracking vessel locations, checking planned routes and responding to emergency calls.
Linda was instrumental in setting up Whangaruru First Aid Emergency Trust providing emergency first aid to this remote area. In 2003 the Trust built a First Aid clinic at Bland Bay - now also used as a community health clinic.
On average Linda attends 120 first aid callouts a year, often in the middle of the night. She responds to a range of accidents and medical emergencies from acute asthma attacks, allergic reactions, transport accidents and heart attacks to serious events like stabbings. At times like these, Linda’s immediate expert medical care can make the difference between life and death.
Linda is an incredible asset to her community. She is someone who has shown unstinting dedication and willingness to give selflessly of her own time to help others.
A devoted and hardworking stalwart of the Maungakaramea farming community.
Kelvin Attwood’s contribution to the Maungakaramea area spans many community projects and countless voluntary hours, at the school, local hall, sport grounds and anything in between. Whether it is helping to roof a building, driving in a fence post, pouring concrete, coaching kids at sport or lighting the barbecue at an after-match function - he will be there.
Kelvin is known as a humble and modest man who prefers to stay out of the limelight but is the first person to help if something needs doing.
Raised on a local farm, Kelvin attended Maungakaramea School, then Northland College as a boarder studying agriculture. After leaving school, he started work on the family farm alongside his twin brother Warren. Kelvin left the farm for a short time in 1979, fulfilling a lifetime dream to work in the Australian outback for six months. When he returned he married his wife Liz and they bought their own farm in Maungakaramea where they still live today. They have three children, Matthew, Michael, and Nikki.
Kelvin has been a committee member of Maungakaramea Recreation Society for 35 years and is known as the “go to” man who never says no to a request for help. He has also recently taken on maintenance of the local cemetery.
While his children attended Maungakaramea School, Kelvin spent several years on the Board of Trustees where he was involved in fundraising and working bees.
A keen hockey player Kelvin played for many years for Maungakaramea, starting as a five-year-old and progressing to senior teams. When his children started playing hockey he became a coach (including coaching the Northland Under 11 Boys team) and was chairman of Whangarei JMC Hockey.
Kelvin was instrumental in the planning, fundraising and manual work that went into the building of the Maungakaramea Sports Club in the 1980s. This facility is an important hub for the whole community, not just the hockey and cricket clubs that are based there.
When something needs to be done in Maungakaramea, Kelvin can be relied on to get it done. He is a respected and popular member of a close-knit rural community who value him highly.
A tireless worker, community leader and vocal advocate for social justice issues.
Audrey Trimmer is recognised for her service and leadership across a wide range of community groups. Audrey is hardworking, reliable and a tireless worker, who has given her time and expertise to many. In leadership roles she is known for her eye for detail, impressive memory, and ability to listen to others to make an informed decision.
Audrey spent her early years in London, England and lived through the Blitz. She emigrated to New Zealand at the age of 18 and worked as a radiographer in Auckland before marrying her husband Barrie and having two sons, Owen and Brian. The couple moved to a farm at Totara Grove, where Audrey soon got involved in the local community as secretary of Kamo Plunket. Barrie and Audrey then took on the challenge of developing a large beef and sheep farm at Pipiwai.
Never afraid to speak her mind, Audrey has been a vocal advocate for social justice issues. During her time in Pipiwai, Audrey promoted the interests of country women through the Country Women’s Institute. She has over 50 years involvement with Whangarei Women’s Club, serving as secretary for 26 years. She was the local president of National Council of Women for four years, lobbying on a wide range of social justice issues, locally and nationally. Audrey’s significant contribution to this organisation is recognised with a Distinguished Service Award and life membership.
One of Audrey’s most personally rewarding contributions is her volunteer work for NZ Blind Foundation, improving the quality of life of blind people, for 30 years as part of Reading for the Blind. She was also trustee of Kamo Home and Village for 12 years between 1997 and 2005, bringing her practical business skills and empathy for the needs of older people to her governance.
Audrey has also played an integral role in St Johns Golden Church for 40 years. She organised the distribution of Meals on Wheels dinners to elderly people in their homes for many years and has been a representative of Churches Together in Northland for many years.
Audrey Trimmer is a person who gets things done. She is tenacious and persistent when working to achieve an outcome for her community.
A long-serving union representative, dedicated Rotarian and energetic community worker.
Maxine Neighbour has spent her life in the service of others, whether in her local community or at a national level. She is known for her tireless energy, determination and strong leadership skills. Maxine is married to Murray and they have one son, Michael.
Maxine spent 32 years of her working life as a school administrator in Whangarei and as a long-time union representative lobbying successfully for improved working conditions for school support staff nationally. She was also the first non-teacher ever to become a New Zealand Educational Institute Fellow. She was an able leader for the school community, frequently giving presentations to support staff on best practice and co-authoring a book entitled ‘Handy Hints for School Administration staff’.
Maxine’s contribution to the community spans many leadership roles and projects. She was involved in Special Olympics as a swimming coach co-ordinator, committee member, chairperson, national and regional games manager. She was a committee member and chief timekeeper for Okau Swimming Club, based at Whangarei Primary School. Maxine served on the committee and then became chairperson of Pataua Ratepayers Association. She served on National Council of Women as well and was local president of this nationwide group twice.
Maxine is also secretary for People Potential Charitable Trust and volunteers for Angel Flight New Zealand, a charity providing free flights to hospital appointments for needy rural patients.
Maxine and Murray joined Rotary in 1995 and make a great team, combining their talents for the benefit of others. The couple worked to bring the Rembrandt Revised Exhibition to Whangarei. The oral hygiene programme in Northland schools, Rotary Northtec Science Programme and Walk Because You Can Polio campaign are more examples of their many community projects. Maxine has held top leadership roles within Rotary including President of Whangarei South Rotary Club, District Secretary and District Governor.
Whatever Maxine does, she gives it her all. She gives freely of her own time, energy and expertise. She displays a dedicated community spirit and willingness to use her talents and abilities for the good of others.