New Year Honours List 2020

17 January 2020.

Congratulations to the seven recipients in the New Year honours list who were awarded for their services to seniors.

To be Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit:

Susan (Susan Boland) Cameron

For services to music and seniors

Susan Boland co-founded Operatunity Ltd in 2001, an organisation dedicated to delivering professional daytime concerts for seniors, while providing performance opportunities and employment to New Zealand artists.

She has contributed to the organisation as Managing Director and Artistic Director, since its inception, and Operatunity now performs to more than 65,000 seniors annually throughout New Zealand. In 2005 Operatunity expanded to include travel, based around music, helping seniors to experience more of the world. She has been responsible for numerous charitable initiatives and fundraising events including for The Hearing House, Alzheimers New Zealand, Kaikoura and Christchurch earthquake recoveries, and a project which resulted in a sustainable water supply for Yasawa High School, Fiji. Since 2016, Operatunity has partnered with Sistema Aotearoa, a South Auckland educational institution, resulting in both monetary donations and more than 50 instruments, helping more children gain access to music tuition. As a professional singer she has performed as a soloist with major music organisations in New Zealand. She founded Class Act Opera in the early 1990s, a group which toured nationally for 18 years, introducing opera to more than 500,000 school students.

Carole Gordon

For services to seniors

Carole Gordon established and is National Convenor of SUPA-NZ a voluntary organisation dedicated to demonstrating the positive opportunity aspects of increasing longevity and population-ageing.

She is a social scientist specialising in social gerontology, pursuing research aligned to a silver economy, policy transformation and social innovation. She has contributed to education, health and local government initiatives including achieving New Zealand's first smoke free hospital and the first Māori liaison role at Tauranga Hospital. She influenced the establishment of an Elders Forum at Wellington and Tauranga City Councils, working with Tauranga City Council to achieve New Zealand's first Age-Friendly City, largely due to her leadership and advocacy. She collaborated with Massey University on elder research, resulting in a national Older and Bolder health and continuing education programme. She was involved in the setup phase of SmartGrowth in 2004 and continues to ensure the needs of a growing and ageing population are included in the future of the Western Bay of Plenty. She was instrumental in setting up the Population-ageing Technical Advisory Group, a collaboration between SmartGrowth and the Bay of Plenty District Health Board, and was a founding trustee and board member of Socialink Tauranga Moana. She has initiated events and presented papers to highlight responses to ageing structural change.

Professor Ngaire Kerse

For services to seniors and health

Professor Ngaire Kerse is a Professor of General Practice and Primary Health Care and in 2018 was appointed the inaugural Joyce Cook Chair in Ageing Well at the University of Auckland.

Professor Kerse is an international expert in maximising health for older people, falls and older people, the impact of physical activity on development of disability, and developing Robot Technology for older people with dementia. She is a member of expert and advisory steering groups for the Health and Safety Quality Safety Commission and the Ministry of Health. She practices part-time as a General Practitioner at the Auckland City Mission. Since 2010, she has been the co-principal investigator of the longitudinal study 'Te Puāwaitanga o Ngā Tapuwae Kia Ora Tonu, Life and Living in Advanced Age: A Cohort Study in New Zealand,' a world-first study of an indigenous population of older people over 80, helping people to plan better for their own health and wellbeing in later life. In 2007 she led the Brief Risk Identification Geriatric Health Tool (BRIGHT) study to investigate methods for healthcare professionals to stay in closer contact with their older patients to identify health risks at earlier stages. Professor Kerse is currently President of the New Zealand Association of Gerontology.

Yvonne Palmer, QSM

For services to seniors and the community

Yvonne Palmer was awarded the Queen's Service Medal in 1998 for her services to the community.

She continued her involvement with the Shirley Papanui Community Board until 2010, having variously held the roles of Chair and Deputy Chair. She was Chair of the New Zealand Community Boards Executive Committee from 1999 to 2009. She established the Confident Driving Programme in 2007 involving New Zealand Police, Canterbury Land Transport Authority and Age Concern. She personally facilitates up to 45 workshops each year, helping thousands of older people to make informed decisions about their driving. She is recognised as a leader in road safety in New Zealand and was appointed to the University of Otago's older driver study. She works closely with Canterbury Police to assist their older driver strategy. She facilitates Home and Personal Safety courses with multiple agencies including New Zealand Police, Neighbourhood Support, Fire and Emergency New Zealand, Civil Defence and Emergency Management, and Christchurch City Council. She has coordinated the Positive Ageing Expo for 13 years. She was appointed to the Community Advisory Committee of the Canterbury District Health Board from 2013 to 2019. She was a member of the Community Justice Panel in Christchurch, which contributed to reducing the number of prosecutions for low-level offending from 2009.

Geoff Pearman

For services to seniors and business

Geoff Pearman is a leading consultant, commentator, speaker and author in the field of ageing and in particular the ageing workforce.

He has worked to raise awareness of the issues faced by New Zealand's ageing population. In 2009 he established Partners in Change, a TransTasman business that works with organisations to address the challenges and opportunities of the ageing workforce. In 2016 he founded Senior Entrepreneurs New Zealand to support senior entrepreneurs through coordinating networking opportunities and providing access to training workshops, mentoring and other resources. He has published a book entitled 'Doing it Differently – Life and Work After 50' (2016) and this has been a key education resource in raising awareness of the challenges of increased age and work. He was a principal advisor to the Auckland-based HT Group and its national research on New Zealand's 55 to 70 year old population and their working, financial and consumer behaviours. He is contributing to on-going research conducted by Massey University's Health and Ageing Research Team and leading a research stream on senior entrepreneurship in New Zealand. He is a member of the independent advisory group for 'Better Later Life He Oranga Kaumātua 2019 to 2034' strategy and advisor to the Retirement Commissioner for the Review of Retirement Income Policy 2019.

Grant Sidaway

For services to seniors and ICT education

Grant Sidaway instigated the SeniorNet initiative with the establishment of the first SeniorNet training centre in New Zealand in 1992 and has been a driving force for the service, which now has 70 training centres throughout New Zealand with around 9,500 members.

SeniorNet is a community training network that supports and motivates people aged 50 plus to enjoy and use technology in their daily lives. The courses are social and cover a variety of topics such as emailing, using the internet, social networking and media, internet banking, creating spreadsheets and using multi-media. Over the years thousands of older people have taken the courses, enabling them to keep up to date with technology and connect with the wider community online. He set up the national SeniorNet Federation in 2006 to provide a vehicle to obtain national grants and government funding to keep the centres running and for the training of tutors, and was CEO from inception until retiring in late 2019. He is a technology columnist and writes about issues that are of particular interest to older people, such as avoiding scams and being connected online. He is a Business Mentor for Business-in-the-Community and is a Big Buddy mentor for fatherless boys.

The Queen's Service Medal:

Harjit Singh

For services to the Indian community and seniors

Harjit Singh has contributed to the Sikh and wider communities in Auckland since 2007.

He has volunteered with a range of community organisations. He became involved with Age Concern Counties Manakau in 2008 as a member of the accredited visiting services team and was appointed to the Board in 2013. He is currently Deputy Chair of the Manakau East Council of Social Services under Age Concern Counties Manukau. He is an English home tutor with English Language Partners South Auckland, through which he teaches migrants with limited English language skills on a voluntary basis. He has been involved with New Zealand Guru Ravidas Sabha for the past 11 years. He is also involved with the Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO), the Auckland Sikh Society, the Punjabi Cultural Society, the Manakau Indian Association, and the New Zealand Indian Central Association. He has been an ethnic consultant with the Howick local board. He is the Chair of the Indian Kiwi Positive Ageing Group. He is also a White Ribbon Ambassador and fundraises for the Cancer Society and the Heart Foundation. He has been a Community Panel Member of the Care and Protection Resource Panel for Oranga Tamariki since 2012.