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13 a lucky number for Wellington communities

The community work of 13 locals has proved lucky for many Wellingtonians who’ve benefited from their labours.

Contributions to the city’s ethnic, marginalised, arts, sports, conservation and education communities were recognised last night when Mayor Justin Lester presented Absolutely Positive Wellingtonian award certificates to 13 recipients at an event at City Gallery Wellington.

“These awards are about acknowledging the people who selflessly give so much to our communities – people who volunteer their time and effort to make our city a better place,” he said.

The 13 winners are:


Taruna Bhana has worked tirelessly for the Wellington Indian Association for more than 10 years. She has helped to look after the organisation’s large complex in Kilbirnie, making prudent decisions in relation to property, investment and membership.

Carol Comber brought her project management expertise to a community role at residents group Mt Cook Mobilised 11 years ago and has been a driving force ever since.

Tānemahuta Gray, Kahukura of Taki Rua Productions who has transformed the once struggling company, and last year toured the major work Tiki Taane Mahuta.

Swimming advocates Steve Hind and Gary Hurring have been at the helm of a nine-year project to transform the pool at Wellington East Girls’ College into a fit-for-purpose community facility.

Stephanie McIntyre, Director of Wellington’s Downtown Community Ministry for 14 years, has been a champion of the most marginalised Wellingtonians throughout her working career, regularly speaking out on issues that affect the poorest, most vulnerable citizens.

Todd Morton of Easyswim Swim School, which has been running in the northern suburbs’ school pools for 12 years, and has taught swimming to children as young as three months through to adults.

Shelagh Magadza’s tenure as Artistic Director of the last three New Zealand Festivals has seen the wider public engaged in the arts through large-scale opening events, while attracting top international artists and supporting the development of New Zealand work.

Roger Moses, whose served as headmaster of Wellington College for 23 years, building a remarkable record in NCEA and Scholarship.

Colin Ryder has been involved in the region’s conservation for 30 years, including the purchase of Baring Head and the establishment of Taputeranga Marine Reserve, and managing the eradication of mice on Mana Island.

Lloyd Scott is a long-time stalwart of Wellington theatre and musicals, and became nationally known for his TV advertisements with Barry Crump. His broadcasting career started in 1965, and he retired last year as much-loved overnight host with RNZ.

Arts advocate Grant Stevenson has created and managed remarkable events that have contributed to Wellington’s creative reputation for the past 22 years, and has been involved in Gillies McIndoe Research Institute for the past 15, helping establish it in custom-designed premises for cancer research.

Bernice Williams is in her second spell as its president of the National Council of Women having joined the Wellington branch in 2005. She has also been involved with the playcentre and primary school in Ngaio, the Wellington Playcentre Association, and management of local basketball.