2021/22 Eelco Boswijk Civic Awards honour Nelson’s community champions

26/04/2022 11:04am

After a year-long delay due to pandemic restrictions on event numbers, the winners of the 2021/22 Eelco Boswijk Civic Awards were honoured at a COVID-resilient ceremony on Wednesday 13 April.

The awards, which are presented every three years, celebrate the mahi of Nelsonians who go above and beyond to make their community a more resilient, creative and diverse place. This year, Nelson City Council partnered with the Nelson Civic Trust and Nelson Mail to deliver the awards.

In total, 41 nominations were received across the five award categories. Thanks to sponsors Nelson Civic Trust, NBS, Nelmac, Nelson Pine and Nelson City Council, the winners of each of the five award categories will be able to direct a $1,000 donation to a local charity of their choice.

Deputy Mayor Judene Edgar, who presented the awards, said the occasion was a reminder to celebrate the people and organisations contributing to the community, particularly during COVID-19, when even small acts can make a big difference.

“An important part of recognising people is to role model this to others, to show them that they too can make a difference, and to demonstrate that, despite feelings to the contrary that people may have, we still live in a good world with people who care.

“So thank you for letting us shine a light on your contributions and the impact you’ve made on the life of others and on our community,” Edgar said.
Read more about the winners and finalists below:
Nelson Civic Trust Community Hero
Recognising those who selflessly give up their time to assist the community, whether that is across one organisation or group, or several.

Winner: Brian McIntyre and the “A Team”
Over the past few years, Brian and his team have dedicated themselves to maintaining the Wakapuaka Cemetery in Atawhai. These amazing volunteers give up their time to clean, clear, mow and tidy the cemetery, helping its upkeep and creating a pleasant, peaceful place.

Finalists: Jan Berkhout, Peter Burland, Cable Bay Adventure Park Trail Crew, Mike Carnahan, Richard Carruthers, Brendan Crichton, Jeanette Douglas, Karolina Gorton, Murray Leaning, Ron Marris, Peter Millward, Sally Rees, Emma Jane Silke-French, Heather Walker, Nigel Weeks

Nelson Pine Change Maker
Individuals who create change and encourage social change for the betterment of others.

Winner: Sean Thomas
Sadly, Sean died of lung cancer in December 2021. Nelson Mayor Rachel Reese presented Sean his award in November last year.

Sean spent many years as a volunteer mentor with Big Brothers and Big Sisters in Nelson, offering support and acting as a role model for many troubled young boys to assist them in becoming good people and successful young men. Sean also devoted a great deal of his time to the Rotary and several youth arts-based charitable organisations. He tirelessly worked to ensure policies and procedures have been put in place at the Nelson Youth Theatre Charitable Trust to ensure young people are safe from discrimination, harassment and creating a safe environment for all.

Finalists: Kimberley Anderson, Yusuf Corten, Justin Eade, Tanya Nock, Emma Sanders - Brain Injury Association 

NBS Leadership
Individuals, organisations and businesses who go above and beyond to show leadership, provide opportunities for others and give back to the community.

Winners: Giving Aroha in Anzac Park and Kai with Love
Giving Aroha in Anzac Park was set up to address homelessness and poverty in the area over two years ago. It now involves more than 30 volunteers who cater to more than 80 people every Sunday afternoon. Volunteers also assist people who can’t physically make it to Anzac Park, as well as offering independent advocacy for those in need and providing basic shelter items.

Kai with Love is a food charity set up in Nelson, ensuring over 600 families every week receive individual food parcels. The team’s tireless efforts over the past three-plus years have made a tangible difference to the communities in which they work.

Finalists: Businesses for Climate Action, Isaac Carnegie, Miraka Norgate, Safeguarding Children - Willow Duffy, Karen Stade, Te Tauihu o te Waka a Māui Māori Cultural Council, Sue Wilson - Sioux Line Dance

Nelmac Kaitiakitanga
Awarded to those who enhance or restore Nelson’s natural environment through volunteer efforts. 

Winner: Sophie Weenink Smith
Sophie is a passionate year 13 student who has devoted all her free time for the past three years to help the community and our environment. She is part of the leadership group of the Nelson Tasman Climate Forum, runs a Facebook page called EcogirlNZ, has started a group called Teens Taking Action, and has spoken at many schools in the region. 

Finalists: Trevor and Myffie James, Nelson Tasman Climate Forum, Gillian Pollock, Te Wairua o Keri – Kelly’s Conservation Forest Committee, Wakapuaka Mouri

Nelson City Council Smart Little City
Smart and innovative thinkers who create new possibilities to achieve our vision of being a Smart Little City.

Winners: Ben Bushell and Anne Rush - Make/Shift Spaces
Ben Bushell has founded, inspired, led and managed a diverse team of volunteers in a local fight against climate change for the past four years. Every week, Ben and his team manage to turn one ton of food waste – collected from households, businesses and events – into compost.

Anne Rush has been chosen thanks to her exceptional creativity through the stunning Art Walk throughout our city. She has made art accessible in everyday places and in everyday life. The cost-effective project ensures works can be replaced, removed or shifted about – creating a durable and easily managed city asset.

Finalist: Chia Sisters