The Board was pleased to present the ‘Eastbournes’ 2023 to Ginny Horrocks, Allison Gandy, Daisy Yan and Sue Fieldes
Ginny Horrocks – For her many years of service to Eastbourne on the Community Board and as a life long campaigner on environmental and community issues.
Ginny has had a lifetime of involvement in environmental and community issues. In 1975 her concern about the world we would be leaving to our descendants led to her standing as a candidate for the Values Party, being a founder member of the Cambridge Planning Group, a public interest group set up to promote the preservation of the character of Cambridge, and Waikato organizer for the successful New Zealand anti-nuclear campaign. These interests led to Ginny becoming part of the core groups leading the Save Aramoana campaign, getting lead out of petrol and banning tobacco companies from sponsoring sport.
These have all been significant in adding to New Zealand’s identity locally and internationally, and our country’s progress towards a healthy future.
Ginny has also had a lengthy involvement in politics, both local and national.In her first election battle in 1975 as a Values Party candidate she was the candidate due to have a baby on election day. In her last as a Green Party candidate in 2017 she was billed as the Green Grannie on the Warpath.
Her experience as a Devonport Borough Councillor was invaluable when she was elected to the Eastbourne Community Board in 2011 and became In Chair of the board three years later. She used her experience from the Cambridge Planning Group when the board carried out a comprehensive Eastbourne Community Survey which has remained the reference for subsequent board actions. The top three community concerns were identified as completion of the cycle path, climate change impacts, and community safety. Ginny’s three terms as chair were highlighted with a number of wins for the community and were not without a degree of turbulence which she took in her stride. She also served in the lead group designing “ Our Race against Time”, the Lower Hutt Climate Action Pathway Te Ara Whakamua o Te Awa Kairangi ki Tai, and Eastbourne’s Emergency Response Plan.
As ECB chair Ginny and her predecessor, Derek Wilshere, led the community consultation for our shared path, Tupua Horo Nuku. With construction of this project finally under way Ginny stepped down from the board to focus on the second community priority, initiating the Climate Change Response Network to help the Eastern Bays become more resilient and adapt to the coming changes. This is now a focus for her and partner John, but they are also spending time in bush huts on their property on Great Barrier Island which is in the QEII Trust.
With a lifetime of working for the environment and the future generations Ginny is a very deserving recipient of this award. We are lucky to have her and John in our community, and working for our future.
Allison Gandy – For her tireless service to Point Howard residents, including leadership of the Point Howard Residents’ Association.
Point Howard and Eastbourne are fortunate that Allison chose here as her home when she moved to Aotearoa with her husband Alister from London in 2016.
Allison joined the Point Howard Residents’ Association soon afterwards and in 2018 became the President, a position she has held since then.
She has shown outstanding leadership during that time, including during the community challenges of Covid and more recently the slip on Howard Road that stranded 50 homes above it.
During the Covid lockdowns, the Association and residents came together to make sure everyone was taken care of. This plus the regular social gatherings and working bees organised by the Association laid the groundwork for an immediate response by Allison and other residents when Howard Road was closed in March this year.
In addition to ensuring that all residents were supported, Allison has been the key communications contact with Hutt City Council in the aftermath of the slip and again now during the repair phase which again sees limited vehicle and pedestrian access up Howard Road for six weeks.
Communication is one of Allison’s strengths. She and the Association produce a fantastic monthly community newsletter and a flyer for new residents. Allison is the key contact for contractors who need to close any road, for the Seaview Resilience Project that impacts Point Howard residents with construction noise, the Community Hub, and Civil Defence.
The project Allison is proudest of is the fabulous Point Howard Community Garden established by a group of residents to bring the community together. It is a huge success and a focal point for the community. Allison is incredibly grateful for all the support of the volunteers on the committee, and the wider community, without whom, the garden and other community initiatives wouldn’t be as successful as they are.
When I ask Point Howard residents about Allison, they invariably say, “Aren’t we lucky to have her here!”.
Daisy Yan – For services to Eastbourne Community as Pharmacist
Sue Fieldes – The Heartbeat of Muritai School Library
Since stepping into the role in 1998, Sue Fieldes has been the dedicated librarian of Muritai School. To her, the library isn’t just a space filled with books—it’s a sanctuary of learning, connection, and community. Sue’s unique role allows her complete management of the library without oversight, and though she makes all decisions, she leans into the support of the Muritai teachers and staff for advice and open dialogue about concerns.
Her journey into the world of librarianship began with her tenure at DSIR library, where she was a part of a specialised team. However, at Muritai, Sue wears many hats, handling every facet of library work. The school’s community holds a special place in her heart, valuing traditional reading over screen time. Thanks to Sue’s efforts, attempts over the years to shift the focus to digital storytelling have been thwarted. Instead, her steadfast commitment has ensured that the library’s budget focuses on enhancing its collection, enticing children to engage with stories in a tactile, timeless manner.
Partnerships play a crucial role in Sue’s mission. Her excellent relationship with the local Eastbourne library manifests in her encouragement to teachers to introduce their students to this wider world of books. Collaborative events, like the recent morning tea she hosted with Sam and his team, solidify these bonds.
But more than the books, it’s the young readers who remain at the heart of Sue’s mission. She’s a protective gatekeeper, ensuring age-appropriate materials grace the shelves. Her sharp instincts and dedication even led to the creation of a special section for Years 7&8, accessible only with parental permission. If a book is not in her vast collection, you can bet Sue will find it.
Recognized in the community by the countless children she’s served, Sue’s reputation precedes her. As Stu Devenport aptly puts it, “Sue is Muritai’s biggest asset because she knows every single child.” But Sue isn’t your typical librarian. Her vibrant and lively demeanour shatters stereotypes, making every child feel welcome and loved. She’s deeply connected with the school’s staff and plays a pivotal role in pastoral care, providing solace and a quiet haven for students who need it.
In a time where dedicated school librarians are becoming rarer due to financial constraints, Stu couldn’t imagine Muritai without Sue. Her presence is more than a role—it’s an enrichment to the student experience. Local teenagers, reminiscing about their primary days, remember her as “super-duper kind and caring,” and always spot-on with her book recommendations.
In essence, Sue Fieldes isn’t just a librarian. She’s a storyteller, a guardian, and most importantly, the heartbeat of Muritai School’s reading community.