Young Kiwis will readily tell you Harold the Giraffe is the best health educator in the country, but it is the heroes behind the iconic mascot who really deserve the praise.

Hawke's Bay Life Education educator, Anne Jamieson , and two of the trustees, Ian Emmerson and Brian Kelsey , were recognised at the recent Life Education conference for their longstanding commitment to the organisation.

Jamieson has been teaching Hawke's Bay children health lessons out of her mobile classroom for 25 years.

She says the lessons she teaches are still just as relevant for children today as they were when she started.


"The way that technology and all the other things that have happened, the way the world has evolved, they really still need to have those messages," Jamieson said.

Hawke's Bay Trust chairwoman Angela Williams said Jamieson was the consistent figure at Life Education Trust Hawke's Bay.

"Anne has seen trustees come and go but she has been the consistent force here in Hawke's Bay," Williams said.

Trustees Ian Emmerson and Brian Kelsey were both awarded life memberships for their 20 and 22 years of service respectively.

Emmerson said he was involved with the trust because it gave children a good foundation to live a healthy lifestyle.

"It's a key to hopefully getting youth a healthy lifestyle, and drug free, from a young age," he said.

He was humbled by the decision to be made a life member, he said.

"I don't personally do it to be recognised as such, but it's always nice I suppose when you've spent family time doing that sort of stuff, that it is recognised."


Kelsey said what children learn in their primary years at school influences them in later life.

"It's acknowledging the opportunity to provide a service to the children of Hawke's Bay" Kelsey said.

"As a charity, there's not many where you can assist in the local community and get such value for money.

"I mean, you've only got to keep one person out of prison and that covers the cost of offering Life Education in Hawke's Bay for a year," Kelsey said.

Life Education Trust New Zealand's chief executive John O'Connell said they only award five Life Memberships each year, so the fact that two came from Hawke's Bay was really reflective of the region.

"Only five Life Memberships can be given in a single year and for Hawke's Bay Trust to have two awarded, and for their educator to be recognised as the longest serving in NZ says a lot for how they work as a team," O'Connell said.

The New Zealand Life Education Trust was established in 1988, with the first two mobile classrooms arrived from Australia to deliver health education to children in Auckland and Christchurch.

30 years later, Life Education Trust mobile classrooms visit 250,000 children every year across New Zealand.

Last year in Hawke's Bay 5999 children attended classes in the Life Education van, with 30 primary and intermediate schools being visited.