Wanaka and Central Otago recipients in this year’s New Year honours include contributors in mountaineering, search and rescue, athletics and dance. The News looks at the many ways five local residents have given back to their community.
JOHN SCOTT TAYLOR
The Queen’s Service Medal for services to the community
John Taylor has been involved with the Hawea Community Association since 1991.
For the past 10 years, Mr Taylor has been co-chairman of the Hawea District Anzac committee, helping to establish a war memorial for the district and organise Anzac commemorations. He is an active member of the Lake Hawea Foreshore Working Group, helping to maintain the reserve land along the southern foreshore of the lake, and oversees health and safety aspects of the work done by community volunteers. He has held roles with the Guardians of Lake Hawea for 37 years, including three periods as chairman between 1995 and 2005.
He has been a member of Wanaka Search and Rescue since 1982 and was made a life member in 2017.
Mr Taylor was a founding member of the Lake Hawea Volunteer Fire Brigade, serving in a variety of positions between 1972 and 2008.
LYDIA POUNAMU BRADEY
Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to mountaineering
Lydia Bradey is an internationally acclaimed mountaineer who, over the past 35 years, has been a trailblazer for women climbers.
In 1988 she was the first woman to climb Mt Everest without supplementary oxygen, and remains the only New Zealander to have achieved this feat.
She has scaled Mt Everest six times, most recently in May 2019, and is the only woman to have successfully guided Mt Everest expeditions four times. She is a qualified New Zealand Mountain Guides Association guide and is sought after for guiding both nationally and internationally. She has completed more than 20 expeditions to heights of over 6000m. She summited Aoraki/ Mt Cook and Mt Aspiring as a 17-year-old, and made seven first female ascents of the 10 ‘‘Big Walls’’ in Yosemite Valley, California in the 1980s. She also holds the first ascents of mountains in Pakistan and the Antartctic. She was appointed a life member of the New Zealand Alpine Club in 2011.
GARY JOHN DICKSON
Companion of the Queen’s Service Order for services to search and rescue.
Gary Dickson has contributed more than 30 years of voluntary service to Search and Rescue (SAR) organisations in the South Island.
He served as the communications adviser for WanakaSAR for the past 18 years and as the alpine rescue leader for nine years. He was an adviser to LandSAR New Zealand and president of the New Zealand Mountain Guides Association. He represented New Zealand at the International Commission for Alpine Rescue (ICAR) and the International Federation of Mountain Guides Associations (IFMGA). He facilitated LandSAR New Zealand’s membership into the ICAR. He has also developed qualification standards for the New Zealand Mountain Guides Association, which were vitally important for New Zealand’s mountain climbing tourism industry. He is credited with developing WanakaSAR from a group of casual volunteers to one of the most professional volunteer alpine cliff rescue teams in New Zealand. Mr Dickson has personally been involved in more than 200 rescue operations during his time volunteering at Aoraki/Mt Cook and in the Wanaka and Fox/Franz Josef Glacier regions.
KENNETH ALAN HAMILTON
Queen’s Service Medal for services to athletics and youth
Alan Hamilton has been coaching sport, particularly youth athletics, for more than 40 years.
He first began coaching in 1974, when he was a pupil at high school.
He has continued to coach in a variety of different sports for many organisations while employed as assistant principal at Dunstan High School.
He managed the Dunstan High School cycling team for eight years on a voluntary basis. In his own time he also established a highperformance programme of mentoring for pupils, which involved regular motivational talks from high profile speakers.
He has been a member of the Alexandra Amateur Athletics Club, the Winton Athletics Club and Ariki in Dunedin. He was an administrator, adviser and mentor for the New Zealand Secondary School Athletics Association, as well as a member of its executive committee from 2001 to 2006.
MARILYN JOY CASSIDY
Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to dance
Marilyn Cassidy has taught ballet and dance in the lower South Island for 65 years.
She taught dance in Alexandra, Clyde, Dunedin, Mosgiel and Invercargill. She has performed in productions for 72 years and was invited at age 16 to dance with the Royal Ballet Company in London in the 1950s. She is actively involved in all aspects of the performing arts, including choreography, writing, music, scenery and costume design. She has written, directed and produced many two-act full length ballets, including one for Dance Southland. She has offered dance to a wider group of children with her Dance for Fun classes. She has spent countless hours, often on an unpaid basis, helping students and groups prepare for competitions and performances, including conducting and choreographing the Clyde School choir for many years. She has been adjudicator at several dance competitions. She has choreographed productions for the Dunedin Operatic Society, Cromwell Fine Thyme Theatre Group, Alexandra Blossom Festival, and Alexandra Musical Society. Mrs Cassidy, who has received the Solo Seal Award, is a life member of the Royal Academy of Dance.