Over the years Kathleen Patricia Fletcher has encouraged many people to have a go at learning, singing and painting just as she herself has done.

The Waipukurau woman was given a Queen's Service Medal for her services to music, science education and the community in the 2018 New Year Honours list.

She wears many hats, not limited to organist, choir director, gallery secretary, science fellow and lifesaving advocate, and said she was humbled to receive a QSM.

"You don't do things to get honours but when you do you're very humbled."


A science teacher her entire life, Mrs Fletcher had significantly contributed to education through assessment development and training for NZQA and the Ministry of Education and roles with Massey University College of Education.

She had also contributed musically to the community of Central Hawke's Bay since moving to Waipukurau with her husband in the 1970s.

"I got involved through music; getting involved in the music and dramatic club shows in Waipawa, church choir and playing the organ.

"Then at the Central Hawke's Bay College I was always the accompanist for, it seems like, hundreds of kids for the yearly music competitions."

A memorable community moment for Mrs Fletcher was starting up a choir in 2001.

"Somebody asked me to get a group of singers together as they were bringing an orchestra down from Hawke's Bay. I got about 30 people and a lot of them hadn't sung since they were in a choir at high school and we did pretty well.

"Then suddenly the Hastings Music Society asked me if I'd take their choir to sing to them but I said it was just a group of people I'd gotten together."

Since then she had run a choir for 16 years and said she had "loved giving others enjoyable experiences".

"A lot of people say to me 'You paint, sing and play; I can't do that'. I say 'When did you last try?' and a lot of them look very sheepish and say it was probably when they were at school.

"Unless there's something there to try they don't know whether they can do it. It gives us pleasure doing it and it gives pleasure to those who come to listen."