2013 Community Honours


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Image from left to right: Brian Pinker (accepting the award for his wife Elaine), Allan Muntz and Russell Harris.

At Council’s last meeting of 2013, it awarded three Manawatu District Community Honour Awards to Allan Muntz, Elaine Pinker (posthumously) and Russell Harris.

Each recipient was acknowledged for their commitment to making Manawatu a more enjoyable and safer community.

Manawatu District Mayor Margaret Kouvelis spoke about volunteering being the heart of any coherent community, borne out of the womb of generosity and measured by the feel good factor.

“It asks itself only one question – has my action today on behalf of another person made me more fully human? “If the answer is ‘yes’ then humanity has been served, not just the person with whom you connected,” she said. (Read Manawatu District Mayor Margaret Kouvelis' address here.)

Citations for each of this year's recipients are provided below.

Allan Muntz

There wouldn’t be many people in the Manawatu District that haven’t heard of or from Allan Muntz.

His role with Manawatu District Neighbourhood Support enables him to get out and about promoting safe and friendly communities.

Allan works tirelessly to ensure that Neighbourhood Support is offered to residents in many areas in the Manawatu District. His street BBQs are well-known for not only the meal but also for the opportunity for neighbours to get to know each other.  His close contact with Feilding Police enables him to email members (which is up around the 2000 mark) of the Neighbourhood Watch to keep them informed of the crimes happening in their area. This email system also plays an important role in alerting members to emergencies. It is a valuable asset for Feilding and surrounding rural areas to ensure we have a safe community.

Allan is also the Central Region Delegate of the National Board of Neighbourhood Support New Zealand.

  • He is a Committee member of the Social Issues Network Council of Social Services or SINCOSS.
  • He is Chairperson of the Feilding and Districts Youth Board.
  • He is a member of Feilding Manchester Lions Club.
  • He is a member of the Palmerston North Ethnic Centre Committee.

And in the past he was an advisor and Chairperson for the Manawatu Home Budgeting Service and also a member, and Chairperson, of the Manawatu Community Organisation Grants (COGs) Local Distribution Committee.

Allan has at all times responded to anything he has undertaken with good humour, cooperative manner and enthusiasm. It is his commitment to making the community and region a more enjoyable place for everyone, and service to community committees that sees him receive one of this year’s Community Honours Awards.

Elaine Pinker

Elaine Pinker patrolled the Himatangi Beach Village coastline as its sole beach ranger. This role was to keep ‘law and order’ on Himatangi Beach and endeavour to make it a safe place for all to enjoy.

She quickly became an institution on the beach, with a well-known ability to slow speeding traffic with a simple stare from her quad bike.

To those close to her in her role, they would describe her as part Mayor, part police chief, part guardian, part traffic warden and part great aunt, all rolled into one. Not a day went by during the patrol season from December to the end of March where she was not on the beach. Regardless of the weather, she would be out there doing her job - engaging, educating, reading the riot act, helping, encouraging, enjoying, participating and watching the general public, all in the pursuit of making the beach a safer and enjoyable place for the community.

She was also instrumental in saving lives. In 2012-13 she was involved in two major rescues, both of which the Club was recognised for by Surf Life Saving New Zealand, and left a lasting impression on all Surf Lifesaving Members. She was always willing to pass on her knowledge and guide others through challenging situations.

For eight years Elaine patrolled Himatangi Beach during the busy season, with her own quad bike and her own time. She willingly donated her time to this service, She loved Himatangi and wanted everyone who visited the seaside village to feel the same way.

As she once put it, “she did it to ensure that her grandchildren and those of others would be able to continue to enjoy the beach as it should be”. It is because of this commitment and service, Elaine Pinker receives a Manawatu District Honours Award. Sadly, Elaine passed away. We are all saddened by her passing and present this award posthumously to her and her family.

Russell Harris

Russell Harris has been an avid supporter of Feilding and Manawatu District for many years. In his role as a radio announcer for Newstalk ZB he showed a willingness to promote Feilding and also compere numerous events in an honorary capacity.

In his earlier years, Russell lived in Shannon. This did not deter his generosity to promote events in Manawatu, however, often returning home in the wee small hours after another successful function. He now lives in Palmerston North and still continues to support Manawatu District and Feilding with great enthusiasm. To keep up to date with what is happening in our community he has arranged for personal delivery of The Feilding Herald by a local resident – now that’s dedication.

At an effervescent 75 years of age, Russell seldom refuses an invitation to promote or compere an event. Among many areas of expertise, he is in hot demand as a quiz master during the winter fundraising season. Some say his talents are unrivalled in this field, and you can put that down to the amount of research he puts into his questions. It’s safe to say that every event is a success.

Russell retired from full-time employment with NewsTalk ZB in his late 60s. He has retained his ZB Radio Sports Show program on Saturday mornings and announces Speedway Saturday evenings.

While he may not be a resident of Manawatu, he is certainly a Manawatu citizen. In view of his untiring commitment to Feilding and Manawatu District, he is a worthy recipient of a Manawatu District Honours Award.