'Farmy Army' leader honoured for quake aid

By Heather McCracken

Prime Minister John Key helps out the Farmy Army volunteers, at Linwood College, following the 6.3 magnitude earthquake in March 2011. Photo / File
Prime Minister John Key helps out the Farmy Army volunteers, at Linwood College, following the 6.3 magnitude earthquake in March 2011. Photo / File

The driving force behind Christchurch's 'Farmy Army' says providing help and hot meals in the earthquake-struck city was a humbling experience.

John Hartnell was made a member of the New Zealand Order of Merit today for services to the community and beekeeping.

Mr Hartnell, who is also chairman of Federated Farmers Bees, was the driving force behind the Farmy Army in 2011.

He co-ordinated up to 500 volunteers a day helping to clear liquefaction, delivering food parcels, and making hot meals.

"It was a heartfelt reaction from the farming community," Mr Hartnell said.

"The farmers said we want to help, we want to do something. We don't want to sit on our farms and see people in Christchurch hurting.

"The initial thought was they were going to bring their bulldozers and loaders into the city and knock it down themselves, but we sorted that out quite quickly and had them onto shovels and wheelbarrows instead."

A hot roast meal was provided for every volunteer at night, which soon expanded to providing hot meals for families in the worst-hit eastern suburbs.

Volunteers worked out of kitchens at the A&P Showgrounds, and food was donated from around the South Island.

"It was just an outstanding thing to be involved with, and a very humbling experience to watch so many people give so much."

He was among those to receive their insignia from Governor General Sir Jerry Mateparae at a ceremony at Government House today.

Also honoured was Sir Bob Harvey, who said he was proud to be the first Knight of lifesaving - especially as the title of first Knight of the West was taken by Sir Graeme Douglas.

"I'm the first Knight of lifesaving in 103 years, and I carry that very proudly," he said.

Sir Bob, who served six terms as mayor of Waitakere, was made a Knight Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to local body affairs and the community.

His 58 years with Surf Lifesaving included driving changes that saw the organisation become "the All Blacks of beaches", he said.

At 72, Sir Bob is still regularly patrolling on his beloved Karekare beach, swimming and going to the gym daily, speaking in a lecture series and working on a new book.

"If you have time, use it," he said. "You've got to be energised."

Former ACT leader Rodney Hide, who was made a companion of the Queen's Service Order, drew a laugh at Government House when his 4th placing in Dancing with the Stars was read during his citation.

"I was tempted to do a wee cha-cha," he said.

Mr Hide said his appearance on the show was the thing people most often spoke to him about.

"I'm quite pleased in a way because it was something that was entertaining and joyful to people, and I'd never done anything like that.

"It's quite different to politics."

Mr Hide said he was now focused on spending time with his two daughters, aged seven months and two years. "They're just a total joy," he said. "It's nice to have a bit of time to be with them. I'm getting big satisfaction. Baby girls are wonderful."

Actor Jacob Rajan, from the Indian Ink Theatre Company, was made a member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to theatre. The company's plays included Krishnan's Dairy, The Candlestickmaker and the Pickle King.

Mr Rajan said he shared the award with his collaborator in Indian Ink, Justin Lewis.

"It's because I'm the face of the company that I receive these honours, but I'm standing on his shoulders," he said.

Christchurch children's book illustrator Gavin Bishop was made an officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to children's literature. He said it was "tremendous recognition" as children's literature was often regarded as less importance than literature for adults.

"This has been a terrific acknowledgement of my work and the standard of literature for children in this country."

Investitures at Government House today:

Morning:

- Gavin Bishop, Christchurch, ONZM for services to children's literature
- Phillipa Bishop, Auckland, QSM for services to the community
- Barry Brook, Palmerston North, QSM for services as an entertainer
- Frances Denz, Tauranga, MNZM for services to business
- L/Corp Anatoliy Derepa, Auckland, DSD for services to the Defence force
- Barry Dineen, Wellington, CNZM for services to business and the arts
- Grp Capt Athol Forrest, Christchurch, MNZM for services to the Defence force
- Lt Arthur Gale, Palmerston North, DSD for services to the Defence force
- John Hartnell, Christchurch, MNZM for services to the community and beekeeping
- Sir Robert Harvey, Auckland, KNZM for services to local body affairs and the community
- Hon Rodney Hide, Wellington, QSO for services as a Member of Parliament
- Hon Christopher Hill, Colorado, MNZM for services to NZ-US relations
- Alan Isaac, Wellington, CNZM for services to cricket and business
- Mileva Jankovich, Auckland, QSM for services to refugees
- Shona Murray, Wellington, QSM for services to music and education
- Paul O'Sullivan, Australia, CNZM for services to Australia-New Zealand relations
- Jacob Rajan, Wellington, MNZM for services to theatre
- Tuaine-Nurse Robati, Porirua, ONZM for services to education and the Pacific community
- Ian Roche, Dunedin, QSM for services to lawn bowls
- Major Shane Ruane, Upper Hutt, DSD for services to the Defence force
- Lt Col Brett Wellington, Wellington, DSD for services to the Defence force
- Susan Worthington, Kapiti, MNZM for services as a botanical artist

Afternoon:

- Brian Adams, Christchurch, QSM for services to cricket
- Lynette Bowe, Taupo, QSM for services to people with diabetes
- Douglas Catley, Wellington, MNZM for services to sport and healthcare services
- Dr William Childs, Whangarei, MNZM for services to health
- Jeanette Crosado, Dunedin, MNZM for services to animal welfare
- Mary Devine, Christchurch, ONZM for services to business
- Prof Roger Field, Wanaka, ONZM for services to education and land-based industries
- Harold Findlay, Napier, QSM for services to cricket
- Sylvia Frame, Napier, MNZM for services to nursing, motoring and the community
- Peter Gibson, Napier, QSM for services to the community
- Graham Goss, Wellington, QSM for services to the community
- Vicki Hyde, Christchurch, MNZM for services to science
- Bob McDavitt, Auckland, MNZM for services to meteorology and yachting
- June Mills, Dunedin, QSM for services to the community
- Geoffrey Neilson, Mosgiel, MNZM for services to agriculture
- Turoa Royal, Wellington, CNZM for services to education
- Trevor Shailer, Wellington, MNZM for services to sport and the community
- Sir Julian Smith, Dunedin, KNZM for services to business
- George Sue, Levin, QSM for services to the community
- Dr David Taylor, Rotorua, MNZM for services to pathology and Maori
- Dr David Teece, Berkeley, CNZM for services to New Zealand-United States relations
- John Wheeler, New Plymouth, MNZM for services to the horse racing industry
- Asantha Wijeyeratne, Lower Hutt, QSM for services to business and the community
- John Wilce, Porirua, QSM for services to golf and the community

- APNZ

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