2016 Civic Awards citations.

304th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron United States Air Force

Photo of the 304th Expeditionary Airlift squadron representativesTheir primary mission is the provision of logistical support to the United States’ National Science Foundation facility at McMurdo Base as part of Operation Deep Freeze. In tandem with this they have provided support for numerous Christchurch charities, drawing largely on the widespread interest in the giant C17 Globemaster aircraft, and the ongoing local fascination with all things to do with The Ice.

The Globemasters have been flying in and out of Christchurch since 1999 and during that time the Airmen who fly them have raised many thousands of dollars for local, largely children’s, charities.

They run a small shop, from which they sell United States Air Force and particularly C17 themed items such as t-shirts, coins, posters, hats and stickers, and have undertaken many fundraising events in which tours of the cavernous Globemaster aircraft have loomed large. The Cancer Ward at Christchurch Hospital and Kids Can (Canterbury) have both benefitted from this plethora of generosity, as well as the NZ Red Cross, Kidney Kids of New Zealand, Cookie Time Charitable Trust, the Christchurch City Mission, the St. John Ambulance, and the Cholmondley Children’s Home. They have been most generous benefactors of Christchurch and Canterbury, as well as worthy and welcome ambassadors for their Service and their Country.

Akaroa Lighthouse Preservation Society

Photo of the Akaroa lighthouse preservation society membersHeritage buildings, those that tell the tale of the journey of a community across the years and the generations, are few and fragile, ever vulnerable to the vagaries of nature, the depredations of political agendas, and the prospect of the ‘quick buck’.

It takes a sturdy and determined group to protect these delicate and endangered creatures from destruction and exploitation, and diligence and perseverance to maintain them over time. Such a group formed around the Akaroa Lighthouse in 1979, undertaking not only to save it from almost certain destruction but to move it complete with all its esoteric equipment from its original home on the desolate harbour heads to its present location close to Akaroa village.

For almost four decades this hardy band of local enthusiasts has worked to ensure that this, the last fully operational 19th Century lighthouse in the South Island, is kept in working order for the delight and edification of future generations. They have given many thousands of hours of work, and raised many thousands of dollars to that end. The Lighthouse, unique in Canterbury, is now a key feature of the village scenery, enjoyed by tens of thousands of schoolchildren, tourists and visitors every year. At a purchase price of $1, it must surely rank as the best bargain that the heritage movement in Canterbury has ever made.

Photographer Linda Paterson.

The Christchurch Community Response Volunteers

Photo of the Christchurch community response volnteersThe earthquakes of September 2010 and the subsequent months and years served to highlight many weaknesses in the fabric of society, one of which is that many people live alone.

The highly mobile and fragmentary nature of modern civilization means that large and increasing numbers of households consist of one person, and when disaster comes this can have tragic consequences. Several groups of people, largely in the east of the city, recognised this problem very early in the piece and in March of 2011 formed a collaboration to undertake a door-knocking exercise to check on peoples’ well-being.

Although initially established as a result of the earthquakes, its role has evolved over time to include the whole metropolitan area, not just those parts where significant damage occurred.

To date they have visited over 70,000 homes and have provided assistance to more than 4,000 people, mainly the elderly and otherwise vulnerable, directing them to various helping agencies and community groups, alerting community workers to problem areas, and even doing little handyman-type jobs such as freeing up stuck doors or straightening up clotheslines. They are giving back that which too many have lost – a place in the community.

Photographer Linda Paterson.

David Leonard Ching

Photo of David ChingOn being approached in 1996 to set up a Conductive Education facility at Addington School, he embarked upon a course that would become a passion. Over the ensuing years he became ever more deeply involved in the provision of holistic education for children with motor disabilities, a curriculum that involves the specialised teaching of skills that most people take for granted.

He served as a member of the NZ Foundation for Conductive Education, later becoming Chairperson. As such he was instrumental in promoting the practice of Conductive Education throughout New Zealand, raising official and sponsorship awareness not only of Conductive Education but of all special needs teaching.

On retiring as Principal of Addington School in 2005 he worked for the Foundation, becoming National Co-ordinator. A lifelong rugby union enthusiast he has for nearly three and a half decades been associated in a number of capacities with the Canterbury Rugby Union: Committee Member and Archivist, Canterbury Primary Schools' Association Deputy Chairman, Chairman, Selector and Manager. His involvements and achievements in and on behalf of so many fields, be it education, or rugby union, or primary school sports, are too many to enumerate. Dedicated, conscientious, selfless, he has established a benchmark for service to his community that is extremely hard to surpass.

Professor Hong Hu

Photo of Professor Hong HuThe last few years have seen an exponential increase in contacts between New Zealand and China. Trade and tourism have grown enormously and can only continue to grow. It is essential, therefore, that mutual understanding between the two should also continue to grow, and she has played a key role in that facilitation since she arrived in Christchurch in 2010.

Through her work with the Confucius Institute, she has been instrumental in the nearly ten-fold increase in the number of local High Schools that teach Mandarin. She has organised workshops and seminars on Chinese culture, and events such as the NZ Chinese Film Festival.

At all times she has acted above and beyond the call of duty. Although the first earthquakes occurred within months of her arrival to take up her position at the Confucius Institute, and although advised by the Chinese authorities to leave the city, nevertheless she refused and stayed to play an invaluable part in the recovery activities of the University of Canterbury, as well as helping the Chinese Embassy to care for local Chinese victims. Throughout her stay in Christchurch she has exemplified the virtues of generosity, diligence, sincerity and loyalty such as would make the Great Sage himself proud.

Photographer Linda Paterson.

Independent Fisheries

Photo of the Independent Fisheries representativesA commercial enterprise is more than simply an engine to create products for sale. A commercial enterprise is an entire piece of the complex jigsaw of society, and its activities have ramifications and influences far beyond its immediate mercantile function. Since 2005 this enterprise, at considerable expense in time and money, has been supporting and funding an exchange programme for students with disabilities between Christchurch and Kurashiki in Japan on alternate years.

In one year two students, one with a physical disability and one with an intellectual disability, together with their caregivers and a team leader from Kurashiki visit Christchurch. In the following year, a similar group from Christchurch will visit Kurashiki.

The programme enables young people who would otherwise never know such a thing to experience first hand the people and culture of another country, and to learn what their overseas counterparts are doing to improve the lives of their own people with disabilities. They come home full of new ideas and new enthusiasm, having gained understandings far beyond their previous horizons, and are thus infinitely better equipped to participate in the decision-making processes of their respective societies. The programme is an outstanding example of good corporate citizenship, and a fine challenge for all to emulate.

Photographer Linda Paterson.

Ira Mitchell-Kirk

Photo of Ira Mitchell-KirkMost artists seek support from their communities. An established artist and teacher of art, she has turned that equation around, using her art to support her community. Over the years she has given works of art and countless hours of her time to the benefit of numerous charities in the Greater Christchurch area and the Canterbury region.

Her paintings, bright, colourful and impressionistic, are in popular demand, and proceeds from their sale go regularly to boost deserving coffers. For AVIVA family violence services in Linwood she designed and painted a delightful jungle mural for the children’s room.

Donated artworks sold at auction have raised funds for the St. Andrew’s rowing and hockey teams, Christchurch Home and Families, and Ohoka School. One painting sold at auction raised enough money to fund almost two Mondiale LifePod Incubators that could over their lifetime could save the lives of up to a thousand babies. She raised $50,000 for local services through the sale of her five giraffes in 2015, and auctions of other works have benefitted the Transplant Games organisation, Cashmere High School, Ronald McDonald House, Beckenham School, the Christchurch Charity Hospital and others too numerous and varied to enumerate. Her generosity is matched only by the beauty of her creations.

Photographer: Linda Paterson.

Josiah Tavita Tualamali’i

Photo of Josiah Tavita Tualamali'iFor many young people, becoming involved in public affairs and the democratic process is seen as complex and daunting. This is true for all, and even more so for those who come from those minority cultures whose ways of life may be very different from those of mainstream New Zealand. From the age of fourteen he has immersed himself in community and youth groups, speaking the language of young people in a way that young people understand.

As a student of law at the University of Canterbury he been able to augment his natural affinities and abilities with the knowledge, skills and critical thinking that legal training brings to the student. He is Chairperson of the Pacific Youth Leadership and Transformation Council Charitable Trust, a Pasifika Youth Guide, a member of the Student Well-being Advisory Group at the University of Canterbury, Student Representative on the University of Canterbury Pacific Strategy Board, Youth Representative on the Pegasus Health Pacific Youth Reference Group, Community Representative on the Christchurch City Council Multicultural Strategy Working Group, and other positions too numerous to list.

He is a community leader, a youth leader, an activist, an educator, an enabler, an advisor, and a communicator. Above all, he is the future.

Photographer: Linda Paterson.