Community contributors recognised
‘‘It’s nice to be recognised but I’ll just go on, as usual’’.
John Wilce, from Mana, is proud of what he’s done in his 79 years – he has a wall in his lounge covered in certificates – but that doesn’t mean he’ll gloat about it in public.
‘‘I try to hide sometimes, you can get embarrassed by it all.’’
Mr Wilce was one of five residents of Porirua and Tawa who received New Year honours. He says he was ‘‘ excited’’ to receive notification that he was awarded the Queen’s Service Medal for services to golf and the community, and has fielded plenty of congratulatory calls and emails.
His CV of service is long, often in conjunction with wife Judy, who died in 2010.
Mr Wilce has been a member of Mana Lions Club for 39 years and is a recipient of the club’s coveted Melvin Jones Fellow award.
He organises the Senior Citizens Christmas Lunch and a number of other projects for Lions.
His involvement with Judgeford Golf Club, Mana Little Theatre, the Eagles Golfing Society – through which he has helped young people with disabilities play the sport – and the Child Cancer Foundation have been continuous for decades. He shrugs his shoulders, however.
‘‘I just enjoy helping and work- ing with people and being part of the community.
‘‘ Everyone gets my share of attention and I don’t intend to stop yet, I’ll just carry on.’’
Of his QSM, his only regret is that Judy was not here to enjoy it with him.
Also receiving QSMs were Shona Murray and Graham Goss, both from Tawa. Mrs Murray, who received the honour for services to education and music, taught at Tawa College from 1977 to 2011 and established the suburb as a strong centre of music, particularly choir.
She was the driving force behind the Tawa Schools and Community festivals, held since 1979.
Mr Goss, meanwhile, was involved with the establishment of the New Zealand Federation of Brevet Clubs. The clubs provide fellowship and welfare for those who served in air crew and their dependants after World War II. He was also involved with the fundraising and establishment of museums at the Ohakea and Wigram bases.
Turoa Royal, from Paremata, was made a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to education.
He was foundation director of Whitireia Community Polytech and foundation chief executive of Te Wananga o Raukawa.
‘‘I’m honoured to receive [the CNZM], people think I’ve done a good job and it’s a culmination of a lot of things.
‘‘ I’m enjoying my retirement now but I’m keeping very busy, I have a lot of energy.’’
He has a book on the way and continues to work with the World Indigenous Network Higher Education Consortium, which is looking to establish an online university.
Tuanine Robati was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to education and the Pacific community. He has been involved in education for 40 years and has contributed to the growth and maintenance of Cook Islands dance and culture in Porirua.
A lecturer at Whitireia, Mr Robati chairs the Ministry of Education Cook Islands Maori Language Curriculum.
Honoured: John Wilce gets a round in once a week at his beloved Judgeford Golf Club, but his community work often draws his attention elsewhere.