Lifelong Whanganui resident Rob Bartley says giving back to the community "is one of those things you do when you live in a town like Whanganui".

Bartley has been awarded the Queen's Service Medal (QSM) for services to the community in the Queen's Birthday Honours.

He said he was "very much surprised and humbled" when he received the letter about the honour.

"I've got no idea who put me forward," Bartley said.


Bartley is well-known for his business interests through the Bartley Group but he has also spent years supporting community events and organisations.

"I've been here all my life and Whanganui has been very good to me over the years," he said.

"We employ a lot of people and I just naturally got involved in helping organisations out. It's important to give back to the community."

Bartley's community involvement has included providing financial support for the Whanganui Sports and Business Awards and several fundraising events.

He contributes to many community organisations, including Whanganui Rugby, Sarjeant Gallery, Waimarie paddlesteamer, Whanganui Brass Band, Splash Centre and the Whanganui Bike Park.

He has financially supported a wide variety of sports and sportspeople in hockey, cricket, squash, athletics and motorsport.

Bartley is a board member of Sport Whanganui, a role he particularly enjoys.

"It was a big achievement getting the new Sport Whanganui building done. I enjoy helping kids and sports."


His financial support has enabled young rugby players from Ireland, Fiji and Canada to visit and play rugby in Whanganui.

Bartley has also been active in assisting young people get into training and employment.

He helped establish INTRANZ, providing young people with training and career pathways, and has made significant contributions to local schools for technology development.

"With INTRANZ we were probably ahead of our time a little bit," Bartley said.

"We trained a lot of kids. They spent a year doing a course which saved employers $20,000 to $25,000.

"I hope with the Government we have now they are going to crank that up. Kids want to learn and the discipline makes a difference. We employed kids who went through that course."

At the 2018 Whanganui Business Awards, Bartley was awarded the Judith Timpany Award which acknowledges significant contributions to the community by a local businessperson.