Queen's Birthday Honours

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Peter Chambers.
Peter Chambers.

Eight Hawke's Bay citizens made the cut for today's Queen's Birthday Honours list. We spoke to each recipient about what the honour means to them - and what drives them.

Peter Chambers - Queen's Service Medal

It was thanks to a mate that Queen's Service Medal recipient Peter Chambers first joined the Royal New Zealand Returned and Services Association, an organisation he has since served for more than 50 years.

Over that time, his wife of 65 years, Esmae, has had to accept her husband "never being home", but has also been a supporter of his many roles in the association.

Mr Chambers, 85, joined the Napier RSA in 1962, and was elected to the executive of that branch in 1982. He became vice-president in 1986, a position he held until 1988.

He joined the Taradale RSA in 1986 and served four years on the sport sub-committee, during which time he was captain of the Snooker Club and secretary of the Shooting Club.

In 1998 he moved to Central Hawke's Bay and transferred to the Waipukurau and District RSA, where he served on the executive committee and was elected president in 2002, a position he held until last year.

National President of the 2NZEF (Japan) and British Commonwealth Occupation Forces Veterans Association national executive for three years, Mr Chambers was also editor of the 2NZEF (Japan) newsletter for 21 years. He said it was a big surprise to find he had been nominated for the honour and he and Esmae were still racking their brains as to who put his name forward.

"We've had a few names go through our minds but still have no idea - I didn't expect this, that's for sure.

Among the highlights of his involvement over the years, he said there were two stand-outs.

One was being selected among 40 others from New Zealand to personally receive a badge and certificate in 2008 for the Year of the Veteran. He also went to Australia with Governor General Jerry Mateparae and National Party MP Judith Collins to the ceremony of New Zealand soldiers on Anzac Bridge, one of eight people chosen to attend this event.

Les Probert - Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit

When Les Probert got word he had been honoured as an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to local government and the community his thoughts turned to others.

"My philosophy is, if it is awarded to me then I happily accept it but I think of all the people who have helped me along the way."

About to turn 80 soon, Mr Probert said it was the first time in his life he had no direct involvement in any form of public life, although was far from sitting back.

"I'm still working on the farm."

Mr Probert was mayor of the Wairoa District Council from 2001 to 2013 and was involved with the council for 28 years as councillor, deputy mayor and mayor.

He initiated and took a lead role in the formation of the Wairoa Walkway, something he rates as one of his most satisfying achievements.

"It was possible to get out and raise the money without hitting the ratepayers hard, and we did it."

He praised his "excellent" staff on the council and made special note of former mayor and "mentor" Cliff Owen.

Mr Probert was a trustee of the Wairoa Community Development Trust and was involved in the establishment of the Lake to Lighthouse, an award-winning 196km multi-sport event.

He co-chaired the Tairawhiti Development Taskforce and has been a Trustee of Te Matau a Maui Health Trust since its inception.

Mr Probert has been chairman and secretary of Federated Farmers in Hawke's Bay, chairman of the Hawke's Bay Agricultural Committee and for 10 years was Chairman and a member of the Federated Farmers Hawke's Bay Farm Cadet Training Board.
"The cadet scheme was especially pleasing - I enjoyed that very much.

Eileen von Dadelszen - Queen's Service Medal

When Eileen von Dadelszen received a call asking her to accept a Queen's Service Medal, she said she would do so on behalf of those who have supported her in 40 years of volunteering.

It was "a great honour" to receive the medal in recognition of service to her community, which also belonged to countless others who had worked alongside her in the volunteer sector, the Havelock North local said.

"I was instrumental only because of the support of my family, friends and the people I've worked with."

Mrs von Dadelszen's husband, Mark von Dadelszen, who was given a Queen's Service Medal two years ago, was born and raised in the region.

After meeting and marrying in Wellington, the pair "saw the light" and moved to the Bay in 1971. They have worked tirelessly for local communities ever since.

However, Mrs von Dadelszen's aim as a volunteer was never to be lauded or recognised.
"You go into voluntary work very much to do the work."

She was chairwoman of the Hawke's Bay Regional Council for three out of her seven years as a member, and often found herself working after hours.

"There's a lot of voluntary work done by councillors. I believe most councillors go into the job with a desire to help the community."

A self-employed planner for most of her career, she also found time to share her planning expertise free of charge as an active member of the New Zealand Planning Institute.

But her true passion is singing, which she describes as her "great hobby".
"After my family it's my greatest interest, and I've been able to do a lot of it in Hawke's Bay, thank goodness."

The trained classical singer was a founding member of several Hawke's Bay music organisations and had co-ordinated the New Zealand Choral Federation's East Coast "Big Sing" festival.

Jan Beck - Queen's Service Medal

Like many who are honoured for their devotion to their work, Napier woman Jan Beck said being awarded a Queen's Service Medal for services to music came as a surprise but a pleasant one.

"There were a lot of different emotions," Mrs Beck said.

"It was not something I was looking for because for me, music is a passion," she said, adding that she was a "child of its environment," having grown up in a house always filled with music.

"It was always going to be," she said.

Mrs Beck has been involved with music in Hawke's Bay since the 1960s and has been a committee member of the Hawke's Bay branch of Chamber Music New Zealand for more than 40 years, holding office as chairwoman and vice chairwoman on occasions.

She has voluntarily coached students for the New Zealand Community Trust Chamber Music Contest since the late 1970s and also helped stage those events. She has been a committee member, and now is a life member, of the Napier Performing Arts Society for 25 years and is committee member of the Hawke's Bay Branch of the New Zealand Suzuki Institute, holding office as its chairwoman from 2011 to 2013. One of the greatest joys she gets from music is seeing the young people she engages with grow and excel.

"It is so satisfying to see the young ones come through."

Mrs Beck is an executive member of the New Zealand Suzuki Institute Inc as a Hawke's Bay Delegate.

She also supports New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and Chamber Music New Zealand concerts in Hawke's Bay and organises groups of young musicians to attend these concerts.

Mrs Beck has been the pianist for Napier Operatic Society major productions and school shows, and a harpsichordist for the Concord Ensemble, a string orchestra from Hawke's Bay. It is a rich and busy life but she has no intention of easing off.

"It has been wonderful and I will continue - I don't want to stop."

Jim Lum - Queen's Service Medal

Jim Lum is a tad shy about being praised for his services to the Hawke's Bay community: "People wanted help, so I helped them," he said.

The Taradale man has done his bit for others for more than 50 years, and was among those to receive a Queen's Service Medal for 2014.

Receiving a letter in the mail as notification of the award was an honour, he said. "It would be the last thing I thought I'd get, I certainly don't go out of my way to do anything, if something crops up, I help, I will do it."

When he wasn't working as a produce grower and retailer, Mr Lum dedicated much of his time to Napier and Taradale Rotary Clubs, as a member and president from 1973 to 1974. He also joined the Freemasons about 45 years ago.

"I suppose positions in both organisations have allowed me to help, but I'm getting on a bit now."

As a member of the Masonic Lodge, Mr Lum chaired the Home and Hospital Sub-Committee and was still active in charity work, caring for walkers and wheelchairs used by frail elderly people.

Over the years he sat on the Taradale High School Board, Hawke's Bay Fruit Retailers Association, and Hawke's Bay Chinese Association.

"I got involved with Taradale School Board and that was the beginning of all the rest," he said.

But his good work didn't end there - he was also the force behind fundraising efforts for an eye camera and beds at Napier Public Hospital. Mr Lum visited people in hospital, especially from the Chinese community, and often acted as translator and interpreter.

Heather Skipworth - Queen's Service Medal

Queen's Service Medal recipient Heather Skipworth is honoured by the award, for services to athletics and Maori, but says it leaves her with a huge challenge.

"Whenever I have received an award it has been a physical reminder to do more and take things to the next level," she said.

"To get a Queen's Medal means I'm really going to have to skyrocket."

She is one of three founders of IronMaori, an event she committed to in response to her work with Maori as a lifestyle coach in Hastings.

It is a half IronMan event comprising a 2km swim, a 90km bike ride and a 21km run. The triathlon has grown from 228 participants in 2009 to 2500.

Other events of different lengths and different age groups are held throughout New Zealand and this year the first Gold Coast IronMaori was held.

She has encouraged Maori with health issues to improve their physical and mental health through physical activity and setting their own health-related goals. Her group training sessions throughout provide a sense of kinship, encouragement and motivation for participants - a Maori approach.

Other awards include: Maori of the Year 2012, Marae Investigates Awards, Sir Peter Blake Emerging Leader Award 2011, New Zealander of the Year Local Hero Award, 2011 and Ngati Kahungunu Sports Awards Administrator of the Year Award, 2011.

Last year she was elected to the Hawke's Bay District Health Board.

Bevan Maihi Taylor - Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit

Being heavily involved with the local Maori community was not a service but a passion for Bevan Maihi Taylor, who is receiving a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to Maori.

Having come from a large family, with a strong involvement in the local marae, Mr Taylor learned from an early age how to give back to his community.

"I have been doing it for a long, long time and I did a number of things with my partner, who was that way inclined," he said. " If there's one person I should share this with, it's Noreen."

Not one to pat himself on the back, Mr Taylor was quietly delighted that he had been nominated for the award and became very emotional on reading the news.

"About a month ago I went on my computer and was going through my email, and there was one from Government House, I opened it up and read it and burst into tears. They had sent a hard copy, but didn't get the address right, so they sent the email."

Mr Taylor has been chairperson of Maungaharuru-Tangitu Incorporated (the mandated entity for Treaty of Waitangi settlement negotiations) since 1992, and in 2012 took on the same role for post-settlement governance entity Maungaharuru-Tangitu Trust.

His interest in conservation saw him become a member of the Poutiri Ao o Tane Strategic Group, which advises on collaborative projects with the Department of Conservation.
Over the years he has chaired several other committees and organisations, such as Tangoio Marae and Kohupatiki Marae, as well as sitting on the New Zealand Maori Council.

In 1992, kaumatua handed him the taonga tokotoko, in recognition of his rangatira status, to represent his hapu.

A talented carver, Mr Taylor also helped to build and carve the whare tipuna at Tangoio Marae between 1981 and 1991, as well as doing carvings for the Department of Conservation's Napier Area Office, Lake Tutira and Boundary Stream, and Kohupatiki tipuna whare.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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