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QSM a group effort says Christine


Christine and Bill-601As if attaining an award for citizenship just last year was not enough, local identity Christine Bygrave again put Mangawhai in the national spotlight being awarded the Queen’s Service Medal (QSM) in last week’s Queen’s Birthday Honours.

“While it was a surprise, it’s also very humbling but it’s good for Mangawhai,” said a proud Christine. “Mangawhai is a lovely community and it’s not hard to be a volunteer here,” she added, emphasising that although she may have helped drive a number of activities, there has been a lot of other volunteers who have also contributed a lot of time, effort and support in such areas as Kaiwaka St Johns, Plunket, Otamatea School Board, Church, Mangawhai Museum and several others. 

“I can’t do what I do without the help of others and it gives volunteers great pleasure to see how these things have progressed over the years and developed with the growth of Mangawhai.”

One who endorsed the award said: “She has a vibrant personality which attracts those about her, be they family, friends or those at work. There is never any dissension toward others, and her abilities in her leadership roles are legendary.” 

Coming to the district in 1965 as a farmer’s wife and raising three children meant involvement in clubs and activities was almost mandatory and saw her holding various offices in Brownies, Girl Guides, Cubs, Scouts and Ventures. Being farm orientated, a pony or two soon entered the mix and Christine became a foundation member of the Hakaru Pony Club, a thriving enterprise today. Other accolades include:

 Foundation member of Kaiwaka St Johns, an active member of Kaiwaka Plunket & Playgroup Centre, and Girl Guide leader.
 Chairperson of Otamatea High School Board of Trustees for seven years.
 Organist at St Paul’s Church, Kaiwaka & St Michaels, Hakaru and other Churches for 30 years.
 Instigated formation of singing group in Mangawhai.
 Active member of the Mangawhai Historical Society since 2007. 
 Chair of Museum BOT since 2015.
 Committee member of the Pioneer Village complex. 
 First Woman president of Mangawhai Golf Club and Life Member.

“I was also fortunate to have a husband (Bill) and family support that allowed me the time to be involved in so many things in such a wonderful environment,” she says.

Christine Bygrave QSM with number one supporter, husband Bill. PHOTO/JOHN STONE

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