Our outstanding Kiwis

Round two for Timaru author Owen Marshall

Last updated 05:00 04/06/2012
Owen Marshall
Owen Marshall

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The Queen's Birthday Honours list for 2012 has left six South Canterbury recipients humbled.

A list of recipients has been revealed, which acknowledges four South Canterbury residents for services to the community, one for services to literature and one for services to music. Former South Canterbury man Michael Houstoun has also been honoured for his services to New Zealand music.

Timaru author Owen Marshall is among the list of Queen's Birthday Honours – making it round two.

Mr Marshall, who had previously been honoured as a member of the New Zealand Order of Merit, has been made a Companion of the Order.

"It was a bit of a surprise because a decade or so ago I did get an award, so I certainly wasn't expecting anything [again]."

Mr Marshall was nominated for services to literature.

"As well as the writing, it perhaps reflects the work [I do] on the Arts Board of Creative New Zealand and the board of New Zealand Book Council – you never know how these things happen," he said of his nomination.

Mr Marshall was a secondary school teacher for 25 years before becoming a fulltime author.

He published his first collection of short stories in 1979 and has since written and edited more than 24 books, including novels, short stories and poetry.

His work has been published internationally and he has received numerous awards and fellowships for his efforts. In 2005 the University of Canterbury appointed him an adjunct professor.

Mr Marshall said he owed "a lot" to his wife Jackie, who has given him "a considerable amount of support" over the years.

Renowned Kiwi muso and Geraldine native Jordan Luck had a big surprise for his mum this morning.

He was named a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit (MNZM) in the Queen's Birthday Honours list.

Eighty-year-old Elizabeth, who is in London for the diamond jubilee celebrations got the good news via Skype.

Luck, who is holidaying in Nelson with his sister, planned an early start this morning in order to surprise his mum.

He has sung with The Exponents for 30 years and written and performed 18 Top 40 singles during his career.

It all started in South Canterbury where, as a lad, Luck and bandmates played pubs and halls on the road to national fame.

Hits included Victoria, Why Does Love Do This To Me, and I'll Say Good Bye (Even Though I'm Blue).

Luck is an ambassador for Parkinsons New Zealand, KidsCan, and mentors upcoming songwriters with the Play It Strange Trust.

He accepted the honour on behalf of "all musicians of Aotearoa".

"There's a lot more work to do still; I haven't climbed Everest yet," he said.

"I feel humbled; I feel worthy in the respect of mum and dad, who let me grow up the way I wanted to."

Michael Houstoun grew up in Timaru and started playing the piano at the age of five. Today he has been honoured for his services to New Zealand music.

The now Manawatu-based pianist has become a companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit.

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Mr Houstounnow lives near Feilding.

According to his website, by the time he was 18 he had won every major piano competition in New Zealand.

Mr Houstoun has been recognised for championing New Zealand music and regularly features works from New Zealand composers Douglas Lilburn and John Psathas in his programmes.

A documentary was made about Mr Houstoun's battle with a neurological condition that affected his hands in 2001.

He overcame the potentially career-ending condition, focal hand dystonia, through physiotherapy and acupuncture.

The condition did not cause pain, only dysfunction, and prevented him from playing the piano properly.

It took a year of treatment to bring his muscles and postural alignment back to a normal condition.

In 2005, Mr Houstoun said on a blog that eventually he settled on the idea that the involuntary movements could only be countered through relaxation.

"This was primarily a mental matter. And the changes which needed to be made had to be made at the piano."

Five years after the first signs of focal dystonia he played his first full solo recital.

Mr Houstoun's citation said he has been instrumental in the promotion of New Zealand music.

His anthology of New Zealand composers won Best Classical Album at the 2008 New Zealand Music Awards.

He is patron of Palmerston North's Regent on Broadway theatre and the Nelson School of Music.

Mr Houstoun has been awarded honorary doctorates in literature and music from Massey University and Victoria University respectively.

With 50 years of voluntary work under his belt, Garry Dumble has received a Queen's Service Medal (QSM).

His work also included planning and constructing Timaru's Mountain View Village, where he now lives.

He has continued to assist within the village whenever he can, helping residents with housing and general concerns.

Mr Dumble has also dedicated many years to Lions, a community service group. For his efforts he has received humanitarian and service awards from the Lions Club International Foundation and through the Timaru Suburban Lions Club, of which he has been a member for 42 years. He also received a Timaru District Council community award in 2006 for outstanding voluntary services to the citizens of Timaru.

Mr Dumble is a life member of the Lloyd Morgan Lions Club Charitable Trust, and was an elected member of the Southland County Council and the Southland United Council. He was also a member of the Lumsden fire brigade for 21 years and was appointed a Justice of the Peace in 1971.

His latest achievement has "knocked him back a bit", he said.

Volunteering in his community is something Mr Dumble has enjoyed.

"I get a lot of pleasure, especially with Lions projects, where you're helping the needy ... I work away and see what I've left behind, and people are better off."

A stalwart of the Plunket and Presbyterian Church support groups, Alison Linscott has received a QSM for services to the community.

She has been "heavily" involved in the community over the years, primarily through Plunket and Presbyterian Church support groups.

Mrs Linscott continues to be a long-serving member of the Plunket Society. She was president of the Timaru branch and Highfield sub-branch and is currently a volunteer for the Giving Parents Support Scheme. She is an elder of the Presbyterian Church and was a session clerk from 1999 to 2006, a moderator of the South Canterbury presbytery, and a member of the Association of Presbyterian Women. She is a founding member of Presbyterian Support's Big Buddy scheme and served from 1998 to 2010 as a big buddy.

Mrs Linscott has also been a member of Amnesty International in South Canterbury since 1984, was chairperson of the Trade Aid Trust and provided fundraising for the start of the Life Education Trust.

Her services to the community continues today as a committee member of the Women's Loan Fund and member of the South Canterbury branch of the National Council of Women.

Mrs Linscott's latest accolade has left her "quite shocked," because she did not believe she had done any more than "a great number of other people".

Conservation has seen Rosemary Acland's name added to this year's list of Queen's Birthday Honours.

She received a QSM for her services to the community, particularly for her role as chairperson of the Rangitata Gorge Landcare Group.

She has had the role since 1998. During that time she has brought groups and government departments together to support and help control invasive weeds and pests in the upper Rangitata River.

Mrs Acland was also a member of the Aoraki Conservation Board and chairperson of the Lincoln University Foundation. She established the Peel Forest Plan, the Peel Forest Enhancement Group and initiated the Geraldine Community Resource Centre Te Rito, which opened in 2007.

Mrs Acland is a lay minister in the Geraldine Anglican Parish. She is also a funeral celebrant and was the Geraldine High School chaplain from 1999 to 2000.

Jim Morris has raised more than $100,000 for charity through his poetry, and now his services to the community have been recognised with a QSM

The Omarama man raised money for charity, in particular for the Cancer Society and Age Concern, through sales of his books and CDs of his popular poems.

He has also donated proceeds from speaking engagements.

Mr Morris is a committed conservationist and advocate for the South Island High Country. He has also helped other farmers with their tenure reviews.

Mr Morris initiated the High Country Carbon Project, comparing total carbon sequestration between retired and grazed land.

Now he is teaching outdoor skills and work skills, in a voluntary capacity, to Mt Aspiring College students.

Mr Morris said being recognised for all of his work came as a surprise.

"I'm very humbled to think people thought what I had done might have been worthy of something."

He had considered declining the honour.

"When you do that sort of thing you don't look for accolades. But all these friends spent long hours putting together a proposal nominating me.

"I guess in a lot of ways it's an honour of the friendships, of the people that had written in, because they had gone to the effort," Mr Morris said.

- The Timaru Herald

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