Unique Bay women recognised

By Genevieve Helliwell

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Two Western Bay women who share the same first name have been recognised in a book celebrating the country's great achievers.

One of the women has dominated the squash court and now dedicates her time to charity work, while the other is an internationally renowned realism artist who shares her special talent with others all around the world.



Sir Ray Avery has honoured Dame Susan Devoy and Susan Harrison-Tustain in his book The Power Of Us - New Zealanders Who Dare To Dream, in his quest to recognise everyday people who have achieved something extraordinary.

Sir Ray, who in 2011 was awarded the Knight Grand Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for his services to philanthropy, told the Bay of Plenty Times the people who were selected for the book had excelled across a range of fields and deserved to be recognised for their work.

"I didn't want it to have all the usual suspects, I wanted it to be more about the people who play on the world stage and do incredible things for New Zealand.

"For example my good friend [Susan Harrison-Tustain], the fine artist, is internationally recognised but no one knows her at home and she deserves to be recognised. Then there are others who have succeeded on the world stage, like Susan Devoy. She has such a charisma and is so sure of herself that she was willing to be seen after she shaved her head for charity, not dolled up. She's a human being and she's proud to be herself."

As well as the everyday New Zealanders, the book also recognises some bigger names, like Hollywood actor Sam Neill.

Sir Ray said: "One thing you won't know about him is that he has an incredible stutter and can barely hold a conversation but once he gets on screen he's a different person. So this book is showing the more human side to these well-known Kiwis. It shows how ordinary these people are, they're no different from anyone else but what makes them different is that they never give up, particularly when times are tough."

Meanwhile, in her Mediterranean home tucked away in Oropi, Mrs Harrison-Tustain said she was honoured to be recognised in the book, which was compiled with the help of interviewer Cameron Bennett and photographer Adrian Malloch.

"I was so incredibly humbled when Ray contacted me and asked if I would appear in his book. It's the highest accolade someone can get, particularly when what you do is done with a whole lot of passion," she said.

Her paintings have gained her an international following and Mrs Harrison-Tustain hosts workshops all over the world. She has also published a painting book which has gone on to be an international bestseller.

Meanwhile, former squash world champion Dame Susan modestly told the Bay of Plenty Times her inclusion on the list was a treat.

"The thing with these things is that when you compile a list of 50 inspiring people, everyone comes up with different lists ... but this is a humbling thing to be included on."


Inspiring Kiwis

Alun Bollinger, Anand Satyanand, Annabel Langbein, Barbara Kendall, Beatrice Faumuina, Bill Buckley, Bill Manhire, Billy Graham, Catriona Williams, Cheung-Tak Hung, David Trubridge, Derek Handley, Eion Edgar, Elizabeth Knox, Emily Perkins, Glenn Martin, Graeme Douglas, Grant Ryan, Hugh Green, Ian Athfield, Jane Harding, Jane Hunter, Jeanette Fitzsimons, Prof. John Boys, John Reynolds, Karen Scott, Kathryn Wilson, Kerry Spackman, Mai Chen, Mahe Drysdale, Melissa Clark-Reynolds, Michael Hurst, Michael Moore-Jones, Nathan Haines, Neil Dawson, Neil Finn, Neil Ieremia, Oscar Kightley, Peter Beck, Peter Hunter, Peter Raos, Phil McCaw, Rhys Darby, Richard Faull, Sam Johnson, Sam Neill, Sean Simpson, Sharad Paul, Stephen Welch, Dame Susan Devoy, Susan Harrison-Tustain, Vincent Ward, Witi Ihimaera.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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