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Senior Achievers Selected

MEDIA RELEASE 28th October 2003]

Senior Achievers Selected

Age Concern New Zealand and MASS Healthcare are proud to announce the hosting of the above awards by the Hon Ruth Dyson, Minister for Senior Citizens in the Grand Hall, Parliament Buildings on the 19th November at 4pm.

The awards again attracted keen interest with six regional awardees being announced over the last three weeks. A short bio on each regional awardee follows.

Their stories are now being considered by a new panel of national judges and one will be selected as the Gold Senior Achiever for 2003.

We also acknowledge the assistance and support of MASS Healthcare Ltd, as without their sponsorship, the recognition of older volunteers in the community would not be acknowledged in this way.

Upper South Island

Ron Hayward: from Ashburton.

Ron's voluntary service has included a number of positions of leadership during his 60 years of service with the Salvation Army. He started the Mayfield Scout Troop in 1957 which is still active and was a Scout Master for six years. He formed the Mayfield Volunteer Fire Brigade and served on the committee for 21 years. He has been a member of the Railway Preservation Society for 27 years, 8 of them as President. He was a member of the Mayfield School Committee 13 years, 9 as Chair and was actively involved with the Hall and Baths Committees for varying periods. He has had a variety of other interests and responsibilities to numerous to name.

The local community has benefited in many ways from Ron's life of service. He is described as a sincere, humble person who is selfless in his service to the community and combines this with a healthy, happy and helpful Christian belief.

Lower South Island

Geoff Buckingham: from Tokanui Geoff is described as a quiet, diligent, and strongly motivated person who is interested in people and the betterment of life. He creates situations that assist young people to achieve and be part of their community.

His list of community involvement is extensive and includes time as a scout leader 10yrs, school committee 16yrs, a Presbyterian church elder since 1972 for his lifetime, a charter member of the Toi Toi Lions club of which he is in his 2nd term as President, a JP for 32 yrs, a school bus driver, a rugby referee and many posts within the farming community.

A true heartland nominee.

Northland and North Auckland

Janie Olsen: from Kaikohe

Janie has featured in rural women's community functions for 46 years, and has helped many people over that time. She has been a friend of the hospital (Middlemore and Bay of Islands) for 22 years and has been donating knitted woolen babies garments and blankets for 46 years. A helpful member of the C.M.A., as well as a dedicated member of the Presbyterian Church, the Royal Women and Women's institute and a garden club member.

Janie is most noted for her gifts of baby's garments, which she still produces, and recently forwarded a basket of over seventy pairs of booties, and a box of bonnets and beanies.

Janie is known for her kindly hospitality, constant cheerfulness which inspires optimism and inspiration to all who come in contact with her.


Joan North: from Mangere East

Joan commenced her voluntary work with the Baptist Action City Mission in 1967 and has been a constant and faithful volunteer since then.

Joan has a strong Christian belief, is hardworking, loyal, honest and resilient. She has been a fund raiser for the mission which has in turn benefited the Merivale Women's Refuge, the food bank and has assisted in budgeting for clients needs.

Joan's selfless work, until 2001 win conjunction with her late husband, Doug, has helped to enrich and lighten the load on many families, from all cultures and beliefs, whose needs have been great.

Joan is truly an achiever and at 85 years of age still volunteers 20 hours per week.

Mid North Island

Arthur Edmonds: from Putaruru

Arthur is described as creative, warmly enthusiastic and totally committed to anything he undertakes. He gets excited with new ideas and is a shining example of an older person who continues to respond to life with zest even during times of adversity.

For decades Arthur has participated in local community projects band committees. He set up and then taught Yoga for over 10 years, he has been President of the Putaruru Intermediate Home and School assn., joint founder of South Waikato Senior Net, founder and current Sec/Treas., of Diabetes Putaruru as well as time with the South Waikato Diabetes Society, editor of the diabetes newsletter and is currently working on a new community health initiative.

He is the author and publisher of "With Greek Guerillas" an historical account of the WW 2 struggle in occupied Greece.

At 88 Arthur is an inspiring example of how one should approach life and its many challenges.

Lower North Island

Len Frances: from Masterton

A warm caring person who loves people and is committed to giving of his time and effort in helping to improve the community in which he lives. Len is known for not being able to say "no" when approached for assistance.

People are a strong motivating factor in his life and even when a medical condition made it impossible for him to continue heavy work he has found other ways of helping.

He has been President, secretary and coordinator of many clubs and projects including, J R Mckenzie Youth Education Trust, Masterton South Rotary, Heart Foundation, Friends of Queen Elizabeth Park, Friend of the Millennium Native Forest Reserve, Athletics club, Paraped federation, CCS, special Olympics, Masterton Jaycee, Fire Board, Masterton Intermediate school and the organizer of an informal weekend walking group.

The work he has undertaken for the above groups are too many to enumerate but clearly Len has certainly given a huge amount of time to his community over the last 88 years.


Age Concern is a not-for-profit, charitable organisation promoting the quality of life of older people, and encouraging healthy, positive ageing for people of all ages, since 1948.

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