Anthony Francis Kokshoorn
Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to local government and the community

Retired Grey District mayor Anthony Kokshoorn has been made an officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to local government and the community.

Kokshoorn, who is better known as Tony, served in local government for 21 years, including 15 years as mayor of the Grey District Council.

He also served as a Grey District Councillor before becoming mayor in 2004.

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As mayor he provided leadership during some tough times for the West Coast community, including after the Pike River Mine disaster in 2010, the closure of the Spring Creek Mine, and after several large storms to hit the region including a tornado which caused major destruction.

Following the Pike River tragedy he quickly became the face of the West Coast community in national and international media coverage.

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Since then he has worked alongside the families of the 29 men who are entombed in the mine and contributed to a plan to gain re-entry to recover the bodies.

Kokshoorn had previously been a driving force in lobbying for the Pike River Mine to be built to bring much needed jobs to the West Coast following the decline of the timber milling industry.

He has also held several chair and patron roles within the Coaster community and has worked on projects to strengthen infrastructure and improve local amenities to promote local tourism.

Kokshoorn, who retired from politics this year, has helped raise more than $30 million for West Coast charities, often at his own expense in travel time and resources.

Tony Kokshoorn served in local government for 21 years, including 15 years as mayor of the Grey District Council. Photo / Jason Oxenham
Tony Kokshoorn served in local government for 21 years, including 15 years as mayor of the Grey District Council. Photo / Jason Oxenham