Queens Birthday Honours and NZ Indoor Bowls Championships

There are many things to celebrate about being a part of the Ashburton District.

Among them is our people. Our community is well supported by numerous sports groups, service clubs and community organisations. The volunteers and members all put in a tremendous amount of work into organising events, sourcing funding, creating opportunities, and helping those in need. It was therefore no surprise that we had four local recipients named in the recent Queen’s Birthday Honours list.

The Topp Twins, Lynda and Jools Topp, were named Companions of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to the entertainment industry. They have been an integral part of Kiwi culture for more than 30 years and we’re very lucky to have Dame Lynda Topp living in Staveley. From recording and releasing numerous albums, sold out tours, television and comedy shows, and a record breaking documentary, the Topp Twins are incredible ambassadors for our country.

Dr John McGettigan received the Queen’s Service Medal for services to rural health. Before his recent retirement he had worked as a GP in Methven for 40 years and helped to establish the Methven Medical Centre. Over the years he accepted sixth year trainee doctors from The University of Otago to gain an understanding of rural medicine, and has helped train staff at Mt Hutt and assist in emergencies.

Matthew Hall was named a member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to conservation and fishing. Since 1991, he has been a member of the Central South Island Fish and Game Council and was the inaugural chairman of the Canterbury Water Management Strategy Ashburton Zone Committee. He is a life member of the South Rangitata Reserve and last year he organised a salmon symposium which attracted international speakers.  

The New Zealand Order of Merit was also awarded to Ian Begbie, for services to aviation and motorsport. He has been a member of the Mid Canterbury Aero Club since the 1980s and was president of the Ashburton Motorcycle Club from 1968 to 1993. He personally constructed 115 hangar door sections at the Ashburton Airfield and has been involved with the Ashburton Aviation Museum since the 70s. Following the Kaikoura earthquakes, he helped to establish an air-link so local pilots could fly emergency aid to Kaikoura.

It is a tremendous achievement to receive an honour. From services to the cheese industry, bonsai and quilting, through to conservation, athletics and medical technology, each person on the Honours List contributed significantly to their respective sectors and is an integral part of our country’s social fabric. Their commitment and dedication is highly valued and I would like to congratulate them and say thank you for all they do.

I would also like to acknowledge the New Zealand Indoor Bowls 69th National Championships that have been underway in Ashburton at the EA Networks Centre since 9 June and will conclude on 16 June. More than 750 players from across New Zealand have been competing and it is the first time the championship has been hosted here. I was delighted to be invited to attend the opening and speak about our district, especially as this is the first time the tournament has been in Ashburton.

If you haven’t given bowls a go I would highly recommend it. It is a fantastic sport for people of all ages and abilities. Our local bowls groups around the district do an amazing job and should be congratulated for the effort that has gone into hosting this tournament. In particular, Michael Lawson and his team of helpers who worked incredibly hard to ensure the event has run smoothly.

​As a community, each of us is an ambassador for our district and it is up to us to roll out the welcome mat to our visitors and showcase the best of our slice of the country. We should be proud to call Ashburton our home and actively champion it on both the national and international stage.

Page reviewed: 16 Aug 2018 11:02am