New res­i­dent hon­oured

CHB Mail - - Front Page - BY CLIN­TON LLEWELLYN

He may be a re­cent ar­rival from Auck­land, but Cen­tral Hawke’s Bay’s lone 2018 Queen’s Birthday Hon­ours re­cip­i­ent is more than happy to be claimed as a lo­cal and says he is look­ing for­ward to us­ing his skills to make a dif­fer­ence in the com­mu­nity.

Richard Jef­fery, who moved to Ash­ley Clin­ton six months ago, was made an Of­fi­cer of the New Zealand Or­der of Merit (ONZM) on Mon­day for ser­vices to gov­er­nance and the com­mu­nity, recog­nis­ing his work in South Auck­land over the past 18 years.

Un­til a few weeks ago, Mr Jef­fery was com­mut­ing to Auck­land as chief ex­ec­u­tive of the Sec­ond Na­ture Char­i­ta­ble Trust, a po­si­tion he had held since the trust was formed in 2000 by Sir Noel Robinson.

His ci­ta­tion said as the trust’s found­ing chief ex­ec­u­tive, Mr Jef­fery had over­seen the rais­ing of $100 mil­lion to es­tab­lish two com­mu­nity fa­cil­i­ties in South Auck­land: the Voda­fone Events Cen­tre, which since open­ing in 2000 has en­abled four mil­lion peo­ple to take part in school and com­mu­nity pro­grammes, as well as the Vec­tor Wero White­wa­ter Park, which opened in 2016.

At the events cen­tre, he had es­tab­lished the largest free schools pro­gramme in New Zealand for the per­form­ing arts, which at­tracts 36,000 stu­dents a year, while the Olympic­stan­dard white­wa­ter park is used by 5000 stu­dents a year for water safety and con­fi­dence build­ing pro­grammes, as well as pro­vid­ing an elite train­ing fa­cil­ity for Ca­noe Slalom NZ.

A Lin­coln Agri­cul­tural Col­lege “dropout”, who went on to work for some of the largest ho­tel chains in New Zealand and the world be­fore pro­gress­ing into venue man­age­ment, Mr Jef­fery said he and Sir Noel Robinson es­tab­lished the trust with the aim of cre­at­ing fi­nan­cially sus­tain­able com­mu­nity as­sets in the de­prived South Auck­land area.

“We did that with the Voda­fone Events Cen­tre — a 700-seat per­form­ing arts cen­tre and 3000-seat in­door arena and con­fer­ence cen­tre.

“Once that was suc­cess­ful we looked at what other projects could achieve some­thing of na­tional and in­ter­na­tional sig­nif­i­cance that could still be used by the South Auck­land com­mu­nity, and that was the Vec­tor Wero White­wa­ter Park.

“It’s an in­ter­na­tional-stan­dard white­wa­ter slalom venue but more im­por­tantly for us, we get over 5000 kids a year through it learn­ing water safety pro­grammes in mov­ing water, and [tak­ing part in] youth de­vel­op­ment pro­grammes about build­ing con­fi­dence, tak­ing risks,” he said.

While the two fa­cil­i­ties were ma­jor achieve­ments, Mr Jef­frey said his great­est ac­com­plish­ment was in­vest­ing in the fu­ture of youth.

“The bricks-and-mor­tar stuff has to come first, but what I am most proud of is num­ber of kids us­ing the [fa­cil­i­ties] and that they are self-suf­fi­cient — they don’t re­quire sub­si­dies from ratepay­ers like other venues of that type around the world.”

At the rel­a­tively young age of 52, Mr Jef­frey said he was “blown away” to be made an ONZM.

“It’s very hum­bling. But also I think it’s great recog­ni­tion for what we — the trust — achieved as a team.”

With plans to step down from the trust, Mr Jef­fery and wife Michelle Good­man pur­chased the John Scott-de­signed Wal­lop Hall sit­u­ated on 2ha of gar­dens at Ash­ley Clin­ton off SH50, six months ago.

Michelle now works at Sher­wood School and though he of­fi­cially left the trust a few weeks ago, he is con­tin­u­ing to do pro bono work for the Ris­ing Foun­da­tion Trust, which men­tors 300 South Auck­land kids each year.

Though en­joy­ing grow­ing a bread in “semi-re­tire­ment,” he is still in­volved in gov­er­nance roles af­ter re­cently tak­ing up his first com­mer­cial di­rec­tor­ship with Hast­ings-founded mi­cro-brewery man­u­fac­turer, Wil­liams Warn.

He also hoped to be able to use his skills and network of con­tacts to ben­e­fit the CHB com­mu­nity down the track.

“Peo­ple are so friendly and wel­com­ing — Michelle is ab­so­lutely loving it.

“And with her work­ing at the school, it’s a great way for us to get know the com­mu­nity, so we are def­i­nitely keen to get in­volved.

“As you get older you tend to go back to your youth and I grew up in South­land, so I have loved con­nect­ing back with ru­ral New Zealand — the real New Zealand. I just love the area and the peo­ple.”

The cou­ple had a long con­nec­tion to Hawke’s Bay, hav­ing owned a hol­i­day beach­side house at Bayview north of Napier, but in Ash­ley Clin­ton they had found “the per­fect place,” Mr Jef­fery said.

“Michelle al­ways wanted a gar­den, which she couldn’t have at the beach, so that keeps me busy. And I am re­ally en­joy­ing, of all things, Waipuku­rau Bridge Club. I am learn­ing how to play bridge to keep the brain tick­ing over.”

Other Hawke’s Bay peo­ple recog­nised in the 2018 Queen’s Birthday Hon­ours

Robert Ker­ridge, of Have­lock North, the Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor of the SPCA in Auck­land from 1984 un­til 2016, was made an Of­fi­cer of the New Zealand Or­der of Merit (ONZM) for ser­vices to an­i­mal wel­fare and gov­er­nance. Caren Rangi, of Ta­matea in Napier, the Na­tional Pres­i­dent of the Pa­cific women’s coun­cil PACI­FICA Inc. from 2015 to 2017, was made an Of­fi­cer of the New Zealand Or­der of Merit (ONZM) for ser­vices to the Pa­cific com­mu­nity and gov­er­nance.

Des Ra­tima, of Whakatu¯ in Hast­ings, chair­man of the marae col­lec­tive Nga¯ Marae O Here­taunga and chair­man of Whakatu¯ Ko­hanga Reo for 10 years, was made an Of­fi­cer of the New Zealand Or­der of Merit (ONZM) for ser­vices to Ma¯ ori.

Ray Met­trick, of Have­lock North, who founded and led the an­nual River­bend Camp Cricket Tour­na­ment from 1980 to 2002 and a Life Mem­ber of the Hawke’s Bay Cricket As­so­ci­a­tion since 2011, was awarded the Queen’s Ser­vice Medal (QSM) for ser­vices to cricket.

PHOTO: CLIN­TON LLEWELLYN.

Ash­ley Clin­ton’s Richard Jef­fery was made an Of­fi­cer of the New Zealand Or­der of Merit in Mon­day’s Queen’s Birthday Hon­ours.

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