Marlborough Express - Recognising hard work where it's due

Monday, June 13, 2016

It was fantastic to see three very deserving people from Marlborough and Kaikoura recognised in this year's Queen's Birthday Honours.

I would like to extend my congratulations to Dr Dianne McCarthy and Christine Brunt, both from Blenheim, along with Melville Syme from Kaikoura, who all received honours for their contributions and dedication to their communities and to society as a whole.

The annual Queen's Birthday Honours are an opportunity for all of us to recognise the hard work of these worthy recipients, who quite often operate out of – in fact sometimes avoid – the limelight.

These people have dedicated energy, drive and years of their lives to pursue a passion that benefits others, whether it be within their chosen profession or in a purely community-based voluntary position.

Christine Brunt was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for her almost 40 years of involvement with the Girls' Brigade, including a numbers of years as its National Commissioner.

During her time in this position, she helped to modernise the Girls' Brigade and also gave up her day job to dedicate herself to the cause full-time.

Dr Dianne McCarthy was made a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for her services to science, business and women.

Her list of roles and achievements makes for very impressive reading and includes a numbers of years as chief executive of the Royal Society of New Zealand where she helped establish a programme that assisted women in tertiary institutions to take on leadership roles

She is a member of the board of the Cawthron Institute and was also a founding trustee of the Business Trust Marlborough.

In Kaikoura, Melville Syme has long been contributing to a huge range of community projects.

He was closely involved with the He Timatanga Hou walkway and forest regeneration project, was project manager for the restoration of the Kaikoura Mayfair Community Theatre and led fundraising for the upgrade for the Memorial Hall.

Melville has been involved with the Lions Club of Kaikoura since 1968 and initiated a Lions project to establish more than 50 public benches around the district.

He contributed to the development of the Kaikoura Coastal and Seal Colony Walkway and Boardwalk, serves the Kaikoura St Paul's Presbyterian Church in a number of roles and contributed to the Kaikoura Agricultural and Pastoral Society.

It is people like these three award recipients who bring out the best in a community – and keep the community spirit alive - through generosity, dedication and a passion for the place they live in.

Queen's Birthday Honours recipients are nominated by members of the public. If you know a person worthy of an honour, please contact my office to begin the nomination process: Phone 579 3204, visit at 22 Scott Street, Blenheim, or email