Central Otago Awards 2017 winners

​9 September 2017

Celebrating excellence within our community

The winners and community recipients of the biennial Central Otago Awards were announced last night at a special ceremony held in the Roxburgh Town Hall and Entertainment Centre.

"The Central Otago Awards are always such a great occasion when we come together to celebrate the incredible and important achievements of the wonderful people who live in Central Otago," said Central Otago Mayor Tim Cadogan.

"All of our winners are truly outstanding people who give freely of their time and energy to make remarkable and inspiring contributions that create a difference in our communities."


The winners are:

James Sutherland – winner of the Youth Award

Youth award winner, James Sutherland, impressed the judges with his influential leadership, and his commitment to contribute to a diversity of community and youth activities that benefit others. A leader who acts with humility and passion and proactive in supporting youth, James is a true community champion.

In Year 13 at Dunstan High School, James is on the national board of Sticks 'n Stones, a founding member of the reformed Central Otago Youth Council, a senior leader and treasurer on the Otago Suicide Prevention Trust and a Young National party representative. James was described is a big picture thinker determined to make the world a better place, and committed to local and global issues.

Luke Bottriell – winner of the Apprentice Award for Overall Excellence

The judges described the winner of the Apprentice Award, Luke Bottriell, a horticulture apprentice as 'a fantastic role model who is pragmatic, ambitious and inspiring'. With no previous knowledge or experience in the horticultural industry, Luke has fast-tracked his career with Hinton Orchard, Earnscleugh as an orchard supervisor, through forward thinking, enthusiasm and an excellent work ethic.

The judges agreed his achievements and the capabilities he has developed in a short time were outstanding and described him as a leader who consistently strives for the best — for himself, for others and for his chosen industry.

Dave Ewan Highly Commended in the Apprentice Award category
Dave Ewan, an apprentice builder, was awarded a highly commended placing in the Apprentice Award category. The judges were panel impressed by Dave's work ethic, strong leadership skills and commitment to high quality workmanship. 'He demonstrates what can be achieved when you follow a dream with enduring passion and commitment', the judges commented.

Morgan Grundy – winner of the Young Professional Award
The winner of the Young Professional Award went to Morgan Grundy for her outstanding business expertise and leadership skills that have added real value to Central Otago's business and community environment.

Morgan manages Ranfurly's Maniototo Café, a successful business with an unwavering commitment to quality and innovation.

The judges were hugely impressed by her achievements and abilities in shaping a successful business that delivers excellent food matched by exceptional customer service.

The Real Dog Company – winner of the Business Excellence Award

The Business Excellence Award was awarded to The Real Dog Company – a company that took up the challenge to craft a business that followed their dreams.

With a genuine love for sled dogs, Rose and Nigel Voice have created a strong, two-pronged business model; offering memorable sled-dog adventure experiences, and manufacturing and selling first-class dog equipment.

For the judges, this authentic, thriving business truly captures Central Otago's spirit and strongly aligns with the region's values.

Gary Anderson Solutions for Sound & Vision - Highly Commended in the Business Excellence Award category
Gary Anderson Solutions for Sound & Vision's success comes from doing the fundamentals well. The business was awarded a highly commended placing in the Business Excellence Award category.

The judges recognised that the business's early adoption of online retailing, understanding of the power of premium brands and development of a distribution network show that great ideas reap retail success, no matter where they begin.

Community Service Awards were also presented recognising individuals who have made a significant contribution to the well-being of the Central Otago community over a significant period of time.  Recipients of Community Service Awards for 2017 are:

Carol Haig
Carol was recognised for her breadth and passion of her community involvement over the decades. The judges were impressed with boundless generosity forged by a love for the Clyde community, Carol Haig's selfless commitment to 'get involved' was inspirational. 

With endless energy and enthusiasm spanning 40 years, Carol has helped in big and small ways. These include key roles in the Clyde Volunteer Fire Brigade, Clyde Theatre Group (she is a life member), Clyde Memorial Hall committee, Promote Dunstan, Clyde Playcentre, Clyde School, Clyde Historical Museums and the Clyde Community Development Group.

Heather McPherson
Heather was recognised for her big heart and a strong sense of community health and development making Central Otago a better place. Over the decades she's been instrumental in driving progress in many community-based organisations and events in the Cromwell Basin.

Over two decades, Heather has transformed the Cromwell & District's Community Arts Council into a high-profile, proactive organisation. Heather is also on the Bannockburn Community Centre committee and a key organiser of Central Otago's Trashion Show. Plus she supports the Cromwell Farmers' and Craft Market, and the Cromwell Wine and Food Festival with her time and energy.

Rod Peirce
Community Award recipient Rod Peirce was recognised as a truly inspirational volunteer. Rod has made an extraordinary personal contribution to the successful development of the Clutha Gold Trail. He has guided the project with integrity, tenacity and inimitable humour through eight years of planning and three years of construction. Because of his unwavering determination and commitment to get the job done 'boots and all' there is now a hugely significant tourism and public amenity asset — a magnificent legacy for future generations.

Judy Elliott Hall
Judy was recognised as being motivational and inspiring for her decades-long voluntary contribution as an active leader and participant in a raft of local organisations in the Alexandra community.

All these groups benefitted from Judy's active involvement including: Senior Citizens, Ranui Home House, Citizens Advice Bureau, the Molineux Aquatic Centre, the Town Christmas Decorations committee, the Alexandra Blossom Festival, the Volunteer Fire Brigade, Victim Support,  the Wheelchair Van committee to name a few.

Valerie Smith
Community Award recipient Valerie Smith was recognised for her quiet generosity, humility and patience, and the friendship, care and practical support she gives to others.  Faith, family and community are at the centre of Valerie Smith's incredible, long-standing service to her community.

From a teenager organising Christmas presents for children in need, Valerie's life-time involvement in community, particularly church activities, was awe-inspiring - 35 years, she taught Sunday School at Naseby, the chaplaincy services for Ranfurly's Chalet Rest-home, taking the rest-home, local ANZAC, Christmas Eve and funeral services when needed.

Many Maniototo organisations have benefited from Valerie's extraordinary voluntary contributions.

All the award winners for 2017 were presented with a handcrafted recycled glass trophy made by artisan Phil Newbury of Invercargill.  The trophy design was inspired by Central Otago's landscape, history, contours and colours.

Guest speaker at the ceremony was cofounder of WeVisit and Adjunct Fellow in the School of Education and Leadership at the University of Canterbury. Most well-known for founding the Student Volunteer Army after the Christchurch earthquakes and for his work in the international disaster risk community, Sam returned home in 2016 to develop a company that can connect generations and end social isolation in New Zealand. 

The evening was attended by invited guests, including finalists' friends and family. It is the 8th time the awards have been held.​

For more information about each of the winners visit:


Page reviewed: 09 Sep 2017 2:29pm