By Mick Jensen
Ashburton resident Dellwyn Moylan has turned sleuth and amateur historian in her mission to compile a comprehensive list of Mid Canterbury people who have been awarded Royal, New Zealand or civic community honours.
Her list of names currently totals an impressive 153, half of which have photos and potted histories to go with them.
Ms Moylan said no complete list existed anywhere and she believed a compiled public record would be of interest to the community and also a good way to honour those who had been recognised.
Names on the list included people born and brought up in Mid Canterbury and others with a close connection to the district.
She had trawled through online government records, through books and library material and had spoken directly to both honour recipients and their families.
The list included knights like Methven-raised Sir Graeme Harrison, dames such as former Prime Minister Dame Jenny Shipley and Elizabeth Harper and many others honoured with the likes of Queen’s Service, Order of New Zealand, Order of the British Empire and other medal honours.
Ms Moylan said her list totalled 78 when she had started the project in 2013, but had since doubled.
“It will obviously be an ongoing project and need adding to over time.
“I’ve made a start, but I’m sure there are more names out there that I don’t know about and more details behind those names.”
Included in the list are the names of six women, Jeanette Tarbotton, Anne Fleming, Linda Baker, May Greenslade, Jenny Shipley and Joy Harris, who have received Suffrage Medals, instituted by the New Zealand Government in 1993 to celebrate 100 years of votes for women in New Zealand.
There are also 18 Commemorative Medal recipients in the district. The medal was given to nominated recipients to mark the 150th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi,
The oldest service award on Ms Moylan’s list goes back to 1918, when Marion Galbraith received the OBE (Order of the British Empire) for her services to the war effort in New Zealand.
Another interesting recipient, with plenty of history to back up her honour, is MBE recipient Mary Grigg, who later became Lady Polson.
Grigg was elected on to the Ashburton Hospital Board as its first woman member in 1941, and was president of both Ashburton Plunket and Mt Somers Ladies’ Guild.
She was elected to represent the Mid Canterbury electorate from 1942 after the death of her husband Arthur, who had held the seat from 1938, and was the first National Party woman to be elected to Parliament.
A display of honours’ medals, photographs and excerpts from the booklet could feature in a future exhibition at Ashburton Museum.
Anyone with information on honours’ recipients is welcome to contact Dellwyn Moylan on 308 1237 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.