Champion of underdogs

By Sandra Conchie

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Don Brebner has selflessly served the Tauranga community for a quarter of a century and his efforts have been recognised with a Queen's Service Medal.

The 80-year-old retired from a successful career in marketing and advertising in the late 1990s.

But he continues to be heavily involved with a variety of community organisations and regularly clocks up 30-50 volunteer hours a week.

He's become a champion for the underdog and the impoverished in the Western Bay community.

Mr Brebner is a former trustee and chairman of Tauranga Community Foodbank Trust.

He is also the director and chairman of Habitat for Humanity Tauranga.

In 2001, he joined Te Tuinga Whanau Support Services Trust, which supports at-risk families, individuals and youths, and was trust chairman from 2002 to 2010.

Mr Brebner said he initially declined the prestigious medal.

"But we have a big family and my wife finally persuaded me it would be good for our children and grandchildren for me to accept it. I feel very honoured and humbled to be recognised in this way," he said.

Mr Brebner said it had been a great privilege to help to make a difference in people's lives.

"There is nothing better than attending a Habitat for Humanity hand-over ceremony or to give a lift-up to someone visiting the Foodbank, even if it only a week's worth of food," he said.

Mr Brebner has also been chairperson of the Waikaraka Estuary Management Committee, the Voice for Life Bay of Plenty Charitable Trust, and Saint Joseph's Te Puna Parish Council.

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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