Eelco Boswijk Civic Awards Recipients

Community Hero

This award is about encouraging those who both lead and take part in community activities. The following were recognised for their efforts as Community Heroes in 2016:

Winner: John-Paul Pochin

John-Paul is a stand out community hero, notably for Light Nelson, but also for his innovative and positive influence across the cycling community. He is the creative force behind Light Nelson, generating and nurturing the idea from humble beginnings, to the event it is now. He is a passionate drive of community volunteers and his efforts in the community, in making this city a better place to live, are to be commended. He is a true Community Hero.

Recognition awards:

Dr Kay Sneddon

Dr Sneddon is being recognised for her work in establishing the Sukita project, highlighting the story of our Kayan weavers and raising awareness of the diverse cultures we have in our community. Dr Sneddon not only helps refugees find a sense of place within our community, but also helps Nelsonians connect with refugees and helps foster a better understanding and empathy within our community.

Catherine Brosnahan

Catherine has been the Community Hero of Fairfield House over a period of 20+ years. She has worked tirelessly to make this community asset available to the people of Nelson.

Penny Molnar

Penny is due to retire early next year and has served, supported and inspired the Nelson community over an impressive 30 year period. As a nurse and social worker, her commitment is across many organisations, communities, families, and children.

Andrew Barber JP QSM

Over the last 40 years, Mr Barber has been instrumental in establishing karate programmes in Nelson that cater for the personal development and wellbeing of children, teenagers and adults, including blind and deaf students. He has worked closely with local organisations in Nelson, running programmes for disadvantaged people. 

Brian & Diane Ramsay

For their tireless voluntary work across a broad range of community organisations. They organise an unbelievable number of events - there early to set-up and last to leave. Their work includes Nightwatch, Broadgreen Society, Anzac Day events and Nelson cadets, to name a few.

Janine Bowater

Janine started 'Boost – Room Makers' where she selflessly gives up her time and often her own funds to 're-do', 're-make' or transform under privileged children's bedrooms.  She boosts the morale of these children by giving them a positive space and environment to grow in.

Gillian Francis

As director of the Nelson Academy of Dance, Gillian has, for over 40 years, empowered Nelson youth through teaching dance skills. Her boundless energy and loving dedication to her students deserves community recognition.

Philip Chapman

Mr Chapman has worked tirelessly for over 3 decades in the Nelson region supporting families and males in their most difficult times. The Male Room Incorporated works with people who have found dead end, after dead end, and have do not known where they can turn, and Mr Chapman supports these people along their journey.

Jack Collin

Jack has been a stalwart of the Nelson Rowing Club for over 30 years. He is a coach, maintenance co-ordinator, fund-raiser, and for some years was club treasurer as well. He is very clear about the essential life skills that rowing teaches - commitment, teamwork, accountability and discipline.

Victory Community Centre

The team at the Victory Community Centre are always finding ways to change our community for the better, paving the way for future generations. The Centre offers a wide range of community health and family support services and co-ordinates a large program of activities and events. They also undertake community development projects, and act as an advocate on local and national social policy issues.


Community Spirit

This award recognises individuals and organisations that work to ensure resources are shared fairly and Nelsonians have their essential needs met. 

The following were recognised for their efforts in the Community Spirit category in 2016:

Winner: Glenn Bisdee

Recognised in the Community Hero award category, Mr Bisdee is also the Winner of the Community Spirit category. His project, Keeping Kids Warm, is one which assists the Nelson community, and those in need. Glenn has identified the vital importance of warm homes for our families and our children and has acted on his own initiative to do all he can to fill this need. In doing so, he is also inspiring others to join him.

Recognition awards:

Colleen Moss and Lynne Taylor – Burrell Park Community Gardens

Both Lynne and Colleen have taken the lead with the new community gardens in Burrell Park. Their warmth and friendliness, as well as impressive gardening knowledge, keep other volunteers involved, supported and learning. Their involvement benefits the wider community and is making a big difference in Tahunanui.

Community Fruit Harvesting

Community Fruit Harvesting is a charity that picks unwanted fruit from backyards and orchards and shares it with those in need. Their mantra is – no one should go hungry while fruit falls to the ground and goes wasted. They embody the community spirit well.

Faye Wulf

For more than ten years, Faye, along with her son, Karl, have been helping disabled people, people who have been mentally ill, and those in the justice system, connect with their artistic side, through the creative space, Community Art Works. Their invaluable contribution to our community, embodies the Community Spirit award.

Sonny McLean

Mr McLean has been the guardian of the Railway Reserve for almost a decade, keeping it tidy and safe for the community's use. He calls it a job "for life", heading to the reserve several times a week, spending a good part of the day smoothing out the rough patches of the popular walkway and cycle path and clearing away fallen branches.



The Leadership awards recognise those in the business or education fields who are thriving in a sustainable way, and educating and encouraging others to do the same.

The following were recognised for their efforts as Leaders working towards Nelson 2060:

Joint Winner: Debs Martin

Invasive weeds are one of the greatest threats to New Zealand's parks and reserves and Debs is doing a fantastic job getting rid of weeds like Climbing Asparagus, Banana Passionfruit and Old Man's Beard. Debs is what you'd call a natural activist, working tirelessly to champion our natural environment through Nelson Weedbusters.

Joint Winner: Nigel Andrews

Nigel champions community involvement with the staff at his Z stations. He encourages them to use time to volunteer for local charities and organisations, and to make a difference in their local area. Together, over the last year, Nigel and his team have donated time in the community across a number of organisations, including, Habitat for Humanity, Cancer Society, Arthritis NZ, Breast Cancer NZ, Nelson Ark, Tahunanui Community Garden. His leadership has empowered and inspired his team in many ways, and truly supported our community. He looks to give in other areas also, for example, giving away 270 kilos of apples at the Z Energy sites. He provides free talks at the Nelson Community College to help the unemployed in their search for employment and is a true community leader.

Recognition awards:

Rick Field

Mr Field is a passionate educator, taking school groups into the Brook Waimarama Sanctuary. He serves hundreds of school groups a year, with a never ending energy. In both a voluntary and professional capacity, Mr Field has contributed time into many environmental projects in Nelson.

Hilary Bird

Hilary runs a small private rest home (Tui Glenn Rest home in Atawhai). She doesn't do it for profit, but instead to ensure everyone has the chance to feel like they have a family and are loved and cared for. Hilary is a true inspiration in our community.

Marilyn Gibbs

Marilyn is being recognised for her lifelong voluntary community spirit. She was the Sister City Coordinator for ten years from 2003 – 2013 and also Chief Executive of the Nelson Tasman Chamber of Commerce from 1981 – 2004.



This award is about raising awareness of those who are caring for our natural environment through volunteer efforts.
The following were recognised for their efforts in the Kaitiakitanga category in 2016:

Winner: Ian Price

Ian is being recognised for his tireless leadership of the Paremata Flats restoration project – a voluntary community effort to repair this valuable ecosystem for future generations. Over 11,500 volunteer hours have gone into the project to date and now the planting of all the areas of the Flats has been completed – massive achievement that would not have been possible without Ian's dedication and hard work.

Recognition awards:

Friends of the Maitai (Ami Kennedy and Jane Martin)

Ami and Jane have been very active in the Friends of the Maitai group. Jane instigated the recent Maitai River educational game and Ami also has an interest in Permaculture and runs a seed library.

Peter Hay

Peter has been a dedicated volunteer at the Brook Waimarama Sanctuary, doing track cutting at least one or two days a week for ten years. He has also pitched in on many community planting projects.

Gillian Pollock

Gillian has spent a lifetime protecting our natural environment, in both the practical and political forums. Her determination to advocate for change makes her an inspiration to many.

Graham, Marjory and Clint Fern

Since 2004 the Ferns of Delaware Bay have been working hard trapping pests, doing weed control and replanting areas of native bush on 6 hectares of remnant bush.

Lindy Kelly - The Kelly Bush Project

A bush restoration project over 30 years in the making is the reason Lindy Kelly is being recognised today. Many schools and community groups have been involved with the restoration work over the years, providing a great opportunity for people to learn more about our native bush.

Bryce Buckland

As the instigator of the Birdlife on Grampians pest trapping group, Bryce has been instrumental not only in eliminating harmful predators but also raising awareness of the issue.


Smart Living

This award recognises those going above and beyond to reduce resource consumption and/or embracing alternatives to fossil fuels.

The following were recognised for their efforts in the Smart Living category in 2016:

Winner: Rod and Ngaire Witte

The Wittes' new home in Atawhai Drive embraces many environmental and eco friendly initiatives, including passive solar design, rainwater collection, universal design, recycled materials, non toxic building materials, to name a few. The Wittes opened their new home recently, as part of the Library's Environment Week, allowing the public to view their house and sharing their vast knowledge and ingenious solutions and ideas for sustainable homes. Their home is a stellar example of smart living.

Recognition awards:

Hybrid Homes

This year, Hybrid Homes won the top sustainable house at Registered Master Builders House of the Year awards. Sustainability is their core focus, they believe in not only designing, but building sustainably.

Victory School

Victory School received a silver enviroschools award this year for their work in cleaning up York Stream, recycling and the creation of a community vegetable garden. The school manages its fruit waste, by composting and waste practices are being maintained well.

Tahunanui School

Tahunanui School is a very active and committed student led Enviroschool. School events are run in a sustainable way, and they have reduced their waste and litter significantly through a whole school education programme. They have re-established and extended their vegetable gardens and composting systems as well as installing a water harvesting system.

Hira School

Hira School is an amazing example of an Enviroschool that works with its community to educate and create a more sustainable world for its schools. It is involved in numerous projects and sustainability, which is deeply embedded in everything the school does. For example, this year when a classroom was renovated, nothing was sent to the landfill. The school are exceptionally committed to leading a sustainable way.


Change Maker

This award recognises those who are environmentally innovative and who embrace change in the business and/or the community.
The following were recognised for their efforts as Change Makers in 2016:

Winner: Megan Rutledge

As Director of Natureland, Megan is turning the zoo into a community asset, leading her team of staff and volunteers to change. Along with her partner and fellow Director Mike, Meg has transformed Natureland into a viable, sustainable trust and conservation centre. Since they took over management in 2014, welfare has been at the forefront of their thinking. Meg has changed the philosophy of Natureland and is continuing to pave the way for the local zoo, with new partnerships in place with other local organisations, including with the Brook Waimarama Sanctuary Trust, with the aim of breeding, raising and releasing kaka and other native birds back into the region. Meg is a true Change Maker.

Recognition awards:

Louis Laws

Louis is 17 and head boy at Nelson College. He established a volunteering committee at Nelson College and has gathered 50 volunteers so far and still growing. He leads weekly activities including helping central school build a wildlife sanctuary, volunteering at family fun days and also held the first pink shirt day at Nelson College.

Jarrod Aberhart

As head of the Business School at Nelson College, Jarrod inspires young adults to be creative, collaborative, innovative and think laterally. He gives them the opportunity to create amazing things on their own. In his own words, it's about giving kids the chance to learn about business and allow students to not just connect locally, but nationally and internationally as well.

Galen King

Mr King is a local businessman with an amazing vision. He runs his business, the Bridge St Collective and his charity, the Foodback Project, promoting unity and a social conscience.