Citizens Award Recipients Announced

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Stratford District Council is pleased to announce the recipients for the 2020 Citizen Awards, Youth Citizen Awards and an Outstanding Citizen Award. 

District Mayor Neil Volzke says every year the Stratford district community puts forward nominations for people that go that extra mile, and every year there are people worthy.

We don’t seem to run out of caring and community minded people here in the Stratford District,” he says. “The ability to award the Outstanding Citizen Award for another year, the third year in a row, further demonstrates the commitment of our community,” said Mayor Volzke. 

The Outstanding Citizen Award was introduced in 2018 to recognise a person who has made an extra special contribution to the community, and is presented at the discretion of the selection panel. 

“These awards are a real highlight for our community, it’s an incredibly special time of the year, when we get to recognise our local champions,” says Mayor Volzke. 

The Stratford District Council Citizens Awards formally recognise individuals that give significant amounts of their time and energy to the community.

This year’s awards are being held slightly later than normal due to the disruption of Covid-19. People will have another chance to nominate community members next year in May.

Friends and family are invited to attend the awards ceremony on Tuesday 29 September 5.30pm at the Council Chambers.

Full interviews with the recipients will be shown on the night and shared on Council channels post the event. 

The 2020 Stratford District Council Citizen Award recipients are:

  • Outstanding Citizens Award Recipient: David West.
  • Citizens Award Recipients: Barbara Reid, Marianne Drummond.
  • Youth Citizens Awards Recipient: Leah Giblin.

Read below for profiles on our recipients. 


David (Dave) West – Outstanding Citizen Award recipient

Dave West 2020
Dave has been part of the Stratford community since 1949 when he moved here as a young boy with his parents. After moving around during his teenage years, Dave met wife Alison in Eltham and together have raised a family here in Stratford, which now includes a number of great-grandchildren.
At 76 years old he’s contributed a huge amount of time to our community. In 1996 he was awarded a Citizens Award for his dedication to a number of groups and committees in the district, and he’s continued to be involved in many of those in the 24 years following, notably his commitment to Whakaahurangi Marae and sharing the history and culture of Whakaahurangi/Stratford.

“I’m very proud of everything we do here,” he says of the Marae. Dave’s a life member of Whakaahurangi Marae, he’s been involved since the 1970s, holding a role on the committee for that entire time, including eight years as president. He’s well known as koro down at the high school, mentoring a number of our younger community members and supporting with powhiri and other tikanga Māori. That support spreads wider than the high school, with Dave’s presence a regular at most community events.

Dave is also a life member of the New Zealand Association of the Legion of Frontiersman. Joining in the 1970s he spent a lot of time on volunteering duty, assisting at community events with traffic control, parking and security.

For over 20 years Dave volunteered with the Order of St John. He mostly enjoyed getting to attend the rugby games, including supporting at an All Blacks game, but the school rugby was just as enjoyable he says.

He was a member of the Stratford and District RSA, including holding committee roles such as president and vice president. Dave got involved with the RSA through his time in the Territorial Forces and since the RSA closed, he’s continued his duties through supporting with the District and Senior Citizens Club. Mayor Volzke says Dave is a big part of our Anzac Day commemorations, always available to raise the flag at the right time. Dave took up the president role with the Air Training Corps for a few years as well, the group was at risk of closing down and Dave stepped in to ensure it stayed afloat. “I wanted to keep youth involved, keep it going for the community,” he says.
Dave puts the wellbeing of this community and the people in it at the forefront of everything he does. His involvement with the Māori Wardens has surpassed 50 years, he’s a life member, who does it because he loves the community work. “It’s about looking after your own. Stratford is my home town, you have to look after it and the people in it,” he says.

Many of his family members carry the same community spirited genes as Dave, he’s had grandchildren join the Stratford District Youth Council, and no doubt Dave’s legacy will continue for a long time yet. Dave said he was shocked when he got the letter about his Outstanding Citizen Award, “I said I can’t get another one, I already have one!”

We think you deserve another one Dave. Kia ora!

Leah Giblin – Youth Citizen Award recipient

Leah Giblin 2020

Leah is 17 years old, year 13 at Stratford High School, and tells us “I hadn’t heard of the Citizen Awards until I was nominated, if I’m completely honest.”

Honesty is just one of the many qualities Leah possesses. She’s taken on a number of leadership roles at high school including on the school production while in Year 10, Year 11 and Year 12. She’d be involved again this year as well if it hadn’t been cancelled due to Covid-19. She’s also involved in the Leavers Jersey Committee, Year 13 Ball Committee, SADD and ART Committee. She’s Deputy Leader of the Diversity Club, Captain of the Literacy Team which encourages lifelong readers and a Senior Librarian.

Leah’s involvement in the Church of the Latter Day Saints is also widely admired. She’s a chorister, is involved with the youth group, and organises elderly support for members of the church. Leah loves nature and in 2018 chose to take up an internship aimed up cleaning up green spaces with Rotokare Scenic Reserve.

Looking to the future Leah wants a career in medicine. She’s already kick started that by having an active role as a first responder with Frontline Ambulance as well as teaching first aid. You’ll see Leah at local sport matches, community events like the Christmas Parade and Americarna. She joined the ambulance team a year ago and refers to it as a “dream job.” Leah is reliable and can think on her feet, demonstrating this recently when she made the call to involve the rescue helicopter at a motorcross event incident in Eltham. Leah plans to attend WITT next year to complete a nursing degree.

She’s chosen to stay in Taranaki to be close to family. Leah has an important role as the primary carer of her younger brother Isaac who lives with autism. Isaac is non-verbal but Leah has been helping him from a young age and he can mimic some sentences and respond to short instructions. “I taught myself sign language to help,” says Leah, who also lives with hearing impairments which she’s managed throughout her life by lip-reading and observing body language.

We think Leah is an outstanding young woman. Congratulations Leah.

Barbara Reid – Citizens Award Recipient

Barb Reid 2020

Barbara’s contagious smile and personality is well known within the district, and in particular amongst our netball community.

Her commitment to netball is extensive, in 2008 Netball Taranaki gave her an award in recognition of 30 years’ service to the sport, but she hasn’t stopped since. While she didn’t start playing herself until she was 23, netball had always been a dream of hers since her childhood. “I should have been a silver fern!” she laughs. But she’s done much for the sport than just play the game.

She spent 17 years as Stratford Netball Association Executive, ran the canteen for 10 years, spent 14 years coaching and managing Stratford Association Rep Age groups in addition to her involvement with local primary and secondary school teams, and from the early 2000s held the role of Satellite Coordinator for winter, summer and spring leagues, and stadium and bench official coordinator for Premier Netball at the TET Stadium. She remembers fondly coaching the Checkmates team in her early years, a group of young Stratford kids, who she was more than a coach for. Her and husband Eddie spent their own money to ensure the team had uniforms, she says “My love of children always came first.”

Barbara also held a Taranaki Practical Umpires Badge for 10 years and has been a dedicated bench official for a number of years. In 2010 Barbara was named Taranaki’s bench official of the year while she represented Western Netball at the Lois Muir Challenge, The Lion Foundations Netball Champs and New Zealand Secondary Schools Champs.

Some of Barbara’s treasured moments as a bench official include those big games, like the Pulse in Wellington, Silver Ferns in Palmerston North and of course the 1999 World Netball Championship in Christchurch, where unfortunately “that team in the yellow won,” she says.
She has always mentored young people looking to develop their skills as players, umpires, bench officials and coaches. Known for having a positive impact on every single one of those young people who come through the courts. Her caring attitude doesn’t stop at netball, Barbara has been the Chairperson of Avon Primary School for six years and runs the breakfast in schools programme there. “I make sure every child has had breakfast, and a healthy one. Even if they’ve had breakfast I ask them if they’re still hungry and get them some more kai,” she tells us with a smile.
Stratford is Barbara’s home, she’s been part of this community from a young age attending Avon Primary, Stratford Primary and Stratford Highschool. She speaks fondly of her foster family the Marsh’s and of her husband Eddie who she married at age 17. “We’ve been together 47 years! He’s very proud of me,” she says. “ I was very shocked to receive the call, but I’m so proud to receive it.”

Congratulations Barbara, and thank you for your dedication!

Marianne Drummond – Citizens Award Recipient

Marianne Drummond 2020

With over 30 years of sitting on the Midhirst Tennis Club, 12 years on the Midhirst Combined Sports Club and over 25 years of service to the Taranaki Swiss Club Marianne Drummond is the epitome of longevity of service.

She has predominately held the roles of secretary and/or treasurer for these clubs but also spent five years as President of the New Zealand Swiss Society when the responsibility rotated around the North Island clubs to sit with Taranaki – this is now back with Taranaki and she currently holds the role of treasurer.

Her other roles within these organisations have included coordinating the night tennis competition, compilation of the New Zealand Swiss Society magazine and sharing the role of organising the annual Swiss picnic day.

She has held these roles while working on the farm with husband Adrian and raising her two boys, Daniel and Richard. Family led to her involvement of over 20 years with local schools with roles on the Midhirst Primary School and Stratford High School PTAs as well as being a member of the St Mary’s Diocesan School Board of Proprietors as a former student.

Marianne was also an active member of the Stratford Squash Club, for which she was honoured with Life Membership. She also administers the annual Cockies Squash Tournament.
She speaks fondly of her 10 years delivering meals on wheels and noted the pleasure she felt in making a difference to peoples’ lives.

When reflecting on her longevity of service Marianne credits the presidents of the clubs she has been a part of for their support and passion, and Adrian for his support of all her roles – as well as the maintenance he undertakes at the domain. She firmly states there is no ‘I’ in ‘team’ and that working together means a lot of work gets done!
Marianne was shocked when she found out she’d been nominated and awarded with a citizen award. “There are so many other worthy recipients” she claimed, but the work and dedication shown by Marianne to her organisations make her a very worthy candidate.

Marianne hit the nail on the head when she said, “we are just so fortunate to have so many people who volunteer in our community.” Reinforcing there is no ‘I’ in team and acknowledging the others who keep our district ticking along.

Well done and thank you Marianne!