Winston Churchill Memorial Trust Award Ceremony

  • Jo Goodhew
Community and Voluntary Sector

E aku rangatira, tēnā koutou katoa. Ka nui te honore ki te mihi ki a koutou.

Your Excellency, the Governor-General of New Zealand, Lt Gen The Right Honourable Sir Jerry Mateparae, Deputy British High Commissioner Patrick Reilly, Winston Churchill Memorial Trust Board chair Rachael Selby, members of the Trust Board, Department of Internal Affairs Chief Executive Colin MacDonald, Fellows and welcomed guests.

A special thank you to Sir Jerry Mateparae for hosting us in this lovely setting, and for His Excellency’s service as patron of the Trust.

Today is a celebration and acknowledgement of the achievements of the thirty Winston Churchill Memorial Trust Fellows who have completed their travel and research reports in the last two years.

The Trust was set up in 1965 to honour Sir Winston Churchill’s belief that world peace and greater international understanding, could be promoted through ordinary people travelling abroad, and experiencing other cultures. To date, some 790 Fellowships have been awarded.

These Fellowships have enabled recipients to widen their experience, grow in confidence and increase their knowledge. New Zealand has benefitted as these Fellows have come back to us inspired and with new networks and information that means they can contribute further to their communities, trades or professions.

The Fellows we are celebrating today have completed research in a huge range of topics.

Belinda De Mayo’s research examines the development and delivery of the Creative Partnerships programme which aims to make a difference in deprived communities in England and the United States. This research offers promising benefits to New Zealand in terms of how such programmes could be translated into our own communities.  

Kaye Vessey’s project looking at a programme in the United Kingdom where volunteers open their homes to older people for a day a week, sounds innovative. We also welcome Denise Bijoux’s research on community-led urban development projects and her findings on whether such initiatives could successfully incorporate community voices into our own local development work.

It will be interesting to see how the research of Mason Tolerton into the cultural components of the Canadian Raven Aboriginal Youth Employment Programme, and Rodney Bell’s investigation of youth programmes in the United Kingdom and the United States, can be used to further the aspirations of young New Zealanders.

While the Fellowship programme is vital for bringing back new ideas and innovation to New Zealand, another key gain for the country is the way the programme links like-minded people together.

Fellows become part of a community. This network gives them an avenue to share their new knowledge, perspectives and innovations.

An example is the work done by Sally Raudon who is helping the Trust Board and other Fellows with public relations and media relations advice and assistance.

Or, the way Sarah Pritchett was inspired by her trip to the United Kingdom. She looked at the work of ventures making use of waste textiles and brought the idea home where she has used decommissioned fire hoses to make Winston Churchill luggage tags for Fellows.

Building on that idea Sarah and her friend Kyleigh Adrian-Burne established Last Seen Limited which makes quality accessories from materials which would have gone into landfill. Following the Canterbury earthquakes, Last Seen donates a percentage of its profits to the volunteer fire services in the Christchurch area.

2013 was the first year the Trust offered the Winston Churchill McNeish Writer’s Fellowships, which resulted from a very generous donation from Sir James and Lady McNeish.

These fellowships will give promising writers a unique opportunity to travel and experience other cultures. It is hoped this opportunity will help launch their careers.

The Trust would not be able to have the impact it does without the efforts of the Trust Board. I would like to thank the Chair Rachael Selby, the deputy Chair Graeme Hall and the members Bruce Robertson, Dr Airini, Professor Helen Nicholson, Fiona Tregonning, Len Cook, Margy-Jean Malcolm, and Mary Schnackenberg for their hard work and dedication.

Over the next couple of years we will be preparing for the Trust’s fiftieth anniversary.

This is a significant milestone. It is an excellent time to not only celebrate and recognise the work and achievements of the Trust since 1965, but also to give some thought to their work in the future.

I believe the Trust has contributed immensely to New Zealand and to the people of New Zealand and I look forward to it continuing its work for many years to come.

Thank you.

Nō reira, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katoa.