Northland has the highest rate of volunteering in New Zealand. Around 37 per cent of the adult population volunteer for about four hours per week on average, according to Volunteering Northland.
They all do it for the joy of giving something back to their community, rather than to receive any recognition. The region also has a large number of outstanding people who go above and beyond their duty in the workplace.
But recognition does often come with that work and today we profile more Northlanders who have received recognition in the Queen's Birthday Honours for the service they provide.
Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for her services to netball and governance.
Years of involvement with netball - as a player, manager, coach, administrator, governance and parent netball convenor - have seen Kawakawa woman Maxine Khrona Shortland made a member of the New Zealand Order of Merit (MNZM) in the Queen's Birthday Honours list.
Shortland (Ngāti Hine, Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Wai, Ngāti Porou) is a director of Netball NZ with 40 years of experience in netball as a player, manager, coach, administrator, governance and parent netball convenor.
She was a Board member of the Netball North, Kawakawa and Whangārei Netball Centres. As a former representative, she coached Bay of Island College netball team in 1993 when their coach became unwell and they went on to win the inaugural national schools title in 1993 and again in 1994.
She is a business leader with 25 years of governance and senior management experience and has served on several boards in the charitable, commercial and government sectors. She chairs the Public Health Association of New Zealand and is director of Waitangi Limited.
Shortland is also a Board Trustee with Foundation North, member of Global Women New Zealand, Kororareka Marae Committee, New Zealand Lottery Grants Board, and New Zealand Conservation Authority.
She was Chief Operating Officer at Ngāti Hine Health Trust from 2012 to 2017, which co-developed Te Mirumiru eco-early childcare centre, the first World Leadership 6 Green Star education rating facility.
Shortland has also been a past member of the Northland Conservation Board, Far North District Council Kawakawa Community Board, Springboard Trust, and Deputy Chair of Te Tai Tokerau Primary Healthcare Organisation.
She was awarded the Aotearoa New Zealand Māori Business leaders Award (Education and Health) in 2010.
Queen's Service Medal for his services to Search and Rescue.
Grant Conaghan has volunteered with Northland Land Search and Rescue (NLSAR) for 50 years, and that dedication has seen him awarded a Queen's Service Medal in the Queen's Birthday Honours list.
Conaghan has been active in all aspects of NLSAR from Field Team Member to Group Chair and Training Officer.
Conaghan has been designated search manager on many searches and has attended operations ranging widely from locating lost individuals and groups, downed aircraft, shoreline searches for maritime incidents, through to body recoveries.
As Group Chair of NLSAR from 2000 to 2016, he has had input at the national level, helping to shape constitutions and supporting the organisation's members to carry out training and rescue operations. He has been one of the NLSAR drivers behind the WanderSearch/Wandatrak system for individuals with cognitive impairment who have a risk of going missing. He has helped fundraise and acquire equipment and training to ensure the group is prepared to undertake searches for these individuals.
Conaghan has raised awareness of NLSAR with talks to local community groups and displays at the local Emergency Services Family Fun Day.
He has often taken time away from his business and personal projects to prioritise Land SAR.
Conaghan and his team received the Supreme Search and Rescue Award for their efforts in rescuing a man stuck on a cliff face in a remote Northland location in 2019.
Dr Derek Gibbons
Queen's Service Medal for services to health.
Working for 45 years in the Dargaville community has seen Dr Derek Gibbons acknowledged with a Queen's Service Medal for his services to health.
Dr Gibbons served as a general practitioner for 45 years in Dargaville and the surrounding rural districts.
He has supported the health of his community not only in this role, but also as an advocate and champion for the security and longevity of essential health services in the Northland region. Through his advocacy with government health authorities, he was instrumental in the retaining of Dargaville Hospital and ensuring that the community owned a 46 per cent share of it.
He played a significant role in the establishment of a total healthcare centre based at the hospital, and negotiated a contract for the Dargaville Medical Centre to take over patient medical care from the District Health Board, which has resulted in a steady supply of on-call doctors servicing the area, creating a stable around-the-clock medical service.
He also chaired Dargaville Medical Centre for 25 years. Dr Gibbons was key in the establishment of Kaipara Community Health Trust and Kaipara Health Incorporated, which were established to co-ordinate and provide representation for all health providers in the Kaipara community.
Queen's Service Medal for services to the community
Services to the community over four decades has seen Opononi man Ian Leigh-Mackenzie receive a Queen's Service Medal.
Leigh-MacKenzie has contributed to the Far North community in a range of capacities.
As a hotel/motel owner, and lately as the owner of the iconic local Opononi takeaways, Leigh-Mackenzie is recognised for volunteering his time and effort in supporting local community matters.
As a long-standing member and chairman of the Pakanae Water Board for 30 years, he has helped to ensure a reticulated water supply that provides high quality potable water to the households and a marae in the Hokianga.
After the prominent statue of Opo the Dolphin was damaged, he was instrumental in organising first the stone for the repair to the original statue, then organising the funding for a bronze replacement.
He has worked with various historical groups to ensure the preservation of the history of Opononi and the Hokianga region. He has variously a member of the Pakanae Cemetery Committee, the Opononi Lions Club, the Hokianga Historical Society, the Far North Justices of the Peace Association, the Opononi RSA Hall Committee, and the Opononi/Omapere Ratepayers Association.
Leigh-MacKenzie is judicial Justice of the Peace with the Kaikohe Court and frequently travels to Kaikohe to help with court business.