Royal honours for two


Two Far Northerners - businessman Tony Norman (Mill Bay) and Mid/Far North police area commander Inspector Wendy Robilliard (Kerikeri) were recognised in the New Year's honours list. Both were named Members of the New Zealand Order of Merit.

Mr Norman, whose honour is for services to the community, worked in finance in Asia for 30 years before returning to New Zealand in 2001.

Having had the "good luck" to retire at the age of 51, he wanted to make the most of his time by helping others, starting by helping resolve a financial crisis for the tourism promotion trust in his home town of Mangonui.

He went on to win (unchallenged) the Doubtless Bay seat on Te Hiku Community Board, while he currently chairs the Northland District Health Board and is a former chairman of Far North Holdings.

A strong and active supporter of music and the arts, he voluntarily "does the books" for organisations including the Kerikeri International Piano Competition, the Taipa Sailing Club and the Mangonui Maritime Community Trust, and for the best part of a decade has hosted a classical music concert on the verandah of his home in Mill Bay.

He also chaired the Oruaiti School board of trustees while his son was a pupil there, and co-coached the school's future problem solving team that won its category at the international event in the US.

Humbling

Much of Inspector Robilliard's recent career has been devoted to working with the families and victims of some of New Zealand's greatest tragedies, experience she described as humbling.

She was the manager of Victim Services at Police National Headquarters from 2008 until her appointment as Mid/Far North area commander in June last year.

It was a role far removed from the tragedies of Pike River, the Christchurch earthquakes and last year's Wairarapa ballooning disaster.

"In my 25 years of policing this has been the most humbling and rewarding work I have done, because I see it as a privilege to have worked for these families," she said.

"It was gut-wrenching, because you could relate to these families and realised it could have been one of your family members".

She had been "blown away" by her nomination for a Royal honour, "because you do these things not for recognition but because you want to do them,"

She said she could not have done what she had done without the support of her family and friends.

- Northland Age

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