Wellington City Council has honoured 17 residents at its Absolutely Positively Wellingtonian Awards for their commitment and contribution to the community and city.
“The work they do – often through volunteering, charitable actions, and their length of service – is invaluable to our community. It is the foundation on which our society is built,” said Mayor, Andy Foster.
“The awards are a small way of marking their contributions.”
Winners’ contributions ranged from facilitating Tikanga Māori and improving the lives of Pasifika people, to acknowledgement of those who fought for, and continue to champion, LGBTQI+ rights.
Councillor Teri O’Neill nominated Scott Kennedy and Malcolm Vaughan, a gay married couple known in Wellington simply as Scotty and Mal.
“They have been trailblazers in Wellington’s gay scene over many years. They were vocal in their advocacy for prostitution law reform in 2003 and same-sex marriage in 2013,” she said.
“The couple were also the co-founders of what is now called The Chrissy Witoko Memorial Trust to provide dignity for those in the rainbow community when they die.
“But they are perhaps best known in the wider community for the bars they’ve run over the years, including the ever-popular S&M’s on Cuba St.”
Deputy Mayor, Sarah Free says selecting the APW winners from the nearly-40 entries received was a challenge.
“It’s humbling to hear of so many people doing amazing things to help and improve the situations Wellingtonians from all walks of life face.
“I congratulate and thank you all for what you have done to make Wellington a better place.”
The APW awards were presented and celebrated during a ceremony held at Te Papa this evening (Thursday 11 August 2022).
Absolutely Positively Wellingtonian Awards 2022 winners:
As General Administrator for Newtown Festival, a round-the-year job, Rhona ensures the festival goes off without a hitch. She also ensures the community gardens are planted and maintained. She is also the current President of the Newtown Residents Association.
With more than 20 years as Director of Youth Community Projects at Boys & Girls Institute (BGI) Wellington, Ross has led BGI to empower rangatahi (younger people) to step into leadership roles and ‘be the change’ that they want to see in our Capital.
Mark Dunajtschik and Dorothy Spotswood (joint winners)
Mark and Dorothy have been generous benefactors in the Capital, notably donating $50 million to build the new Wellington Children’s Hospital. They are passionate Wellingtonians, particularly assisting those who can’t help themselves, such as the intellectually and physically disabled.
As the 12th City Missioner, Murray is the first who is not an Anglican priest. An innovative thinker, Murray is generous with his time and talent. He advises and supports many community agencies on initiatives such as the City Mission’s Social Supermarket, which is being replicated across New Zealand.
Tagaloatele Emeritus Professor Peggy Fairbairn-Dunlop
For more than 50 years, Tagaloatele has fought to improve the lives, education, and wellbeing of Pasifika people. She has had a distinguished academic career and is currently the director of the Kilbirnie Salvation Army’s children’s ministry, as well as other voluntary leadership roles.
Appointed official pianist at Government House by then Governor General, Sir Bernard Fergusson in 1967, Bruce has served under 13 Governors-General. With a stellar musical career seeing him accompanying opera singers such as Kiri Te Kawana and Dame Malvina Major, he is also a sought-after music teacher.
A founder of Predator Free Miramar, Dan successfully galvanised households in Miramar, Strathmore, Seatoun and Breaker Bay to join the movement. Since its launch in 2017, volunteers, residents and Predator Free staff have trapped a whopping 10,000 rats, weasels, and stoats. Bird life is recovering as a result.
Scott Kennedy and Malcolm Vaughan (joint winners)
This couple continue to be trailblazers in Wellington’s rainbow community. Scotty and Mal were vocal advocates for prostitution law reform in 2003 and same-sex marriage in 2013. They have also run several bars in Wellington including the ever-popular S&M’s.
Tom is a genuine grass roots community person. Amongst many community-based activities, Tom has been committee and board member of the Newtown Community and Cultural Centre, Smart Newtown committee member, and Federation of Wellington Progressive and Residents Association President.
Kura Moeahu of Te Atiawa, Nga Ruahine, Taranaki-tuturu, Ngati Mutunga, Ngati Tama and Ngati Toa descent, has strong whakapapa to both Te Whanganui a Tara and Taranaki. He has spent more than three decades supporting communities bringing his expertise in te reo Māori, tikanga Māori, kapa haka, Māori governance and leadership.
With many years voluntary service to her name, Hiromi helped establish Wellington’s 10 sister-city relationships. Standing down as President earlier this year, she has been appointed Emeritus President of Sister Cities New Zealand in an advisory role.
Mukesh Jeram Patel
After arriving from India in 1989, Mukesh joined the Wellington Indian Association in 1993 where he became Assistant Secretary and has been involved in running the Association ever since. He has authored a book on India’s Freedom Fight and also designed and established the Association’s membership database, to use with Patrika (newsletter) distribution.
A three-times President, and long-standing member, of the Onslow Historical Society, Judy has recorded Wellington’s history, and both collected and archived key historical artefacts. Judy is also a published author including the seminal book on architect James Chapman-Taylor and was also a three-term Wellington city councillor.
Involved in community youth education for more than 50 years, Brenda has helped people, particularly youth, to develop confidence and discover their strengths. She’s also worked as a chaplain in a Guidance Learning Unit helping refugees and new arrivals.
Both for those who chose to rent or have little choice, life can be challenging. By co-founding Renters United, a regional and national organisation that has transformed advocacy for renters, Robert has done something about it. Living in Newtown area for the past 53 years he’s held a number of positions on community boards and organised many community initiatives.