Service to the arts, sport and the community recognised

A husband and wife team who have given more than thirty years’ service to the arts in Hurunui are among those honoured in this year’s Hurunui District Council Community Service Awards.

Carl and Margaret Thompson of Hanmer Springs are credited with being the driving forces behind the Amuri Arts Council, which has been operating now for 17 years.

Carl, a photographer, was one of the instigators and Margaret has been President, Vice President and Treasurer.

Councillor Michael Malthus says the couple has worked tirelessly and together in their endeavours.

“Their dedication, skills, enthusiasm and sheer hard work has vastly improved the ‘arts’ and the pleasure of two communities.”

The couple has also supported the Autumn School, “with Carl initially carting chairs in his vehicle from Waiau to Hanmer Springs and back each time,” and been an integral part in establishing and running the Arts Council market in the township over the past two decades.

“From the beginning the Thompsons were there, planning, setting up, and applying for funding. They are still there each Saturday to set up the market.”

Margaret was also wardrobe mistress for the Amuri Players for 14 years – “14 amazing productions with immaculately dressed players and all garments made individually by Margaret involving countless hours of sewing, designing, driving back and forth to rehearsals, fittings and final productions.”

Another couple, Tony and Isobel Whyte, are recognised for their joint contribution to the Glenmark community.

Tony has been a member of the Waipara Fire Brigade for 39 years and foundation member of the Weka Pass Railway and Glenmark Irrigation Schemes. He is also a committee member of the Waipara Village Fair, which is held biannually.

His wife, Isobel, has supported Glenmark Scouting as a leader and coached and supported Glenmark netball. She is also a member of the Friends of Glenmark Church.

Three individuals also receive Community Service Awards for longstanding contributions to their communities over their lifetimes.

Waikari’s Colin Twose, a keen sportsman, has devoted 55 years to the game of rugby, both as a player and coach for the local United Club. He coached Canterbury Country, the Hurunui Seniors during their 1981 winning season, and was a Canterbury selector.

During his 37 years of service to bowling in Hurunui, he has been three times President of the Waikari Bowling Club, President of the North Canterbury Bowling Association overseeing clubs from Amberley to Hanmer Springs, and a junior selector for North Canterbury and Country Bowls.

Outside of his sporting achievements, Colin Twose is also a volunteer fireman, who for the past 34 years has attended fire training fortnightly, provided innumerable hours fighting fires and attending motor vehicle accidents.

Councillor Marie Black says he also displayed a great sense of civic duty as a longstanding member of the Hurunui Community Committee, Waikari Hall and Reserve Committee, and Waikari Domain Board and a member of both the centennial and jubilee committees for the Waikari School

“Colin is a ‘community minded’ person with a genuine interest in the area in which he lives. He is always willing to lend a hand in whatever capacity is needed. He is dependable, generous of his time, has extensive community knowledge and is always willing to share this to improve the overall wellbeing of our community.”

During the years Clare Harris has lived in Cheviot, she has been President of the Home and School and Play Centre committees, both in the same year, and of the Community Centre, and served on the Plunket Committee, of which she is now patroness – all while raising her own family.

She has been, or is also associated with the Cheviot Cancer Support Group and Red Cross, Probus and the Garden Club, is a committee member of the Historic Society and Promotions Group, and President of the Three Churches Opportunity Shop Committee.

The organist for her church for 46 years Clare also served on the Friends of Waikari Hospital Committee.

Mary McIntosh settled right into farm and community life when she arrived in Rotherham as a new bride, working at the Amuri medical centre; volunteering for St John, and for the Citizens Advice Bureau in Rangiora. She was also secretary of the Amuri A&P Association, when computer systems were still relatively new, and after volunteering at the Amuri library later become the local Librarian.

Mary also put many hours into securing the Amuri Historic Society’s collection for future generations and many more hours opening up the museum for locals and travellers alike.

When she and her husband moved to Mt Lyford, the pair became loyal supporters of 4x4 driving, promoting the safety skills required of many new owners including government employees.

The walkway through the Mt Lyford Village Reserve is a result of her untiring efforts.

Mary, who, amongst other things, drove the establishment of a Civil Defence team in her community, received her award earlier this year because of ill-health. She passed away in May.

Councillor Dick Davison says Mary recognised the very real need for a unit to be set up and it was due to her hard work and commitment there is now one in place – along with an adverse events plan.

“Mary’s passion for Civil Defence was very evident. She always made herself available to organise and attend training sessions as they came up.

“Following the September 2010 earthquake in Christchurch she joined up with teams heading into the city without question. The work was not easy, but Mary, like the rest of the Hurunui team, gave so much.”

Mary was also a strong supporter for the establishment and recruitment of volunteers to train and become the Amuri Rural Fire Group.

“In true Mary fashion she spent last Christmas doing the paper work at the Ashworth’s fire. In her no nonsense style she responded immediately to the call for assistance and quietly worked her way through the day. This was Mary’s last Christmas.

“She was a well-respected, committed and valued member of both the Amuri and Hurunui community who will be very much missed, not only by her husband Donald, but also the wider community for which she worked so hard.”

One award is promoted from each council ward each year. Recipients must be able to display a long period of exceptional service for which there has been no direct financial reward.

For further information contact:

Audrey van der Monde

Manager Community & Corporate Services

Hurunui District Council

P: 03 314 0012