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King's Birthday honours in Whitianga.

By Pauline Stewart.

QSM Queen’s Service Medal

Derek Boyd Collier. JP. Whitianga for services to Fire and Emergency New Zealand and the community

The Queen's Service Medal is a medal awarded by the government of New Zealand to recognise and reward volunteer service to the community and also public service in elected or appointed public office. The Queen’s Service medal is still named after the late Queen Elizabeth II This year but will change name to the King’s Service medal to acknowledge this new monarch.

“Two months ago, I received an email,” says Derek. At first, I thought it might have been a scam, but my wife told me that she had known for almost a year.” Derek and Jenny, his wife, told their adult children last night - daughter Tracie and sons, Adam, Paul and Timothy. Both Adam and Paul are also in the Fire Brigade in their respective communities.

“This is hard to get my head around. It was a nice feeling when one of my kids read the letters from the Prime Minister and Governor General out to my other adult children Then you think to yourself, ‘Why me and not the others I know who work really hard for their communities?”

This medal was issued back when the Queen was with us. I’m proud it is form her. The local JP society put my name forward. I have been a JP for the last 18 years. Thirty -six years as a fireman in August. I was also Chairman of the Scouts for ten years.” I like what I do. I believe in it.”

Throughout the interview, Derek was helping customers in his shop. Derek clearly loves the Fire Brigade. “I actually joined the Fire Brigade because my grandfather was Chief of the Stratford Fire Brigade in Taranaki. He inspired me. Incidentally, he received Queen’s Fire Service medal (QSM), but in those days, it was QFSM). To me the Fire Brigade is a big family. The camaraderie is a central part. But in the end, we are here to serve the community.

Balancing the work is not always easy. In Winter, I close the door of my shop when the siren goes off.

Roly Cheney, The Fire Chief in Whitianga, popped in to Whitianga Sports shop to congratulate his friend. “We are very proud of him as a Brigade. He is the fourth one now – Roy Billings, Merv George, Walter Russell, and now Derek Collier. That’s an amazing achievement for a small Fire Brigade. ‘It’s not just fire service but the other things in the community they were involved in though all were serving Fire Brigade members when they received their awards.” Well done, Derek.

The investiture ceremonies for Shirley and Derek will be in Wellington or Auckland

Officers (ONZM) - Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit

Dr Shirley Jean Julich, Whitianga, for services to restorative Justice and survivors of sexual abuse

The Order is awarded to those “who in any field of endeavour, have rendered meritorious service to the Crown and the nation or who have become distinguished by their eminence, talents, contributions, or other merits”.

Dr. Shirley. - Her academic achievements span five pages. It began in 1975 and concluded with a PhD in 2002 though she has kept studying and researching and consulting in the field of Restorative Justice and Sexual Abuse. The list of her published papers and dissertations spans another seven pages. She is often working online internationally – Iceland, Mexico, USA. Recently, SBS television came and did a story on Shirley for their channel in Australia.

Shirley left school at 16; she just couldn’t see her future then. She went to Australia at 20 and finally returned to New Zealand to live with husband Harry and their three boys on Queens birthday weekend, 1992. How ironic that she would receive a Queen’s Birthday honour 21 years later.

What a journey it has been. From the Wild West of Western Australia – Mount Magnet, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Germany and finally New Zealand. “For a person who hated flying, I have had to do quite a bit.” Says Shirley. Her journey to achieve this very high level of academic work began with a conversation with a Kiwi acquaintance in the Philippines. “We were managing a car and boat business repair in Philippines, a big business due to accomodating all the expatriates. I had my sewing machine doing extra work to help the family economy. I had often thought about study particularly after my work with mentally disabled people in Western Australia and had done some study achieving a certificate in that field then. I relished the experience. This kiwi young adult was studying extra murally at Massey University, and she explained to me about registering as an adult. She finally said, ‘If I can do it, so can you.’ From then on, I just kept doing papers wherever I travelled and however I could. Harry was a wonderful support through everything. My first degree was in computer science which has come in handy.”

Two major realisations/events forged Shirleys direction of study and spurred her on to help a wide audience. The first was her self-knowledge that she had been sexually abused by someone related to the family all during her growing up years. This haunted her and had caused her to leave home and lose her way at school. She had found out that her brother had experienced the same. She wanted to understand it and confront it and enable the family to face it. It would take years to do that. “I was finally able to do that with my fathers help,” Shirley says. “He called a family meeting to which the culprit came. Funnily enough, he admitted it all but although he apologised to my parents, he never did to me or my brother.

“However it was hugely validating for me, that he admitted it. I was 40. I knew I could help others and so the study continued and the research into how others had found some way of healing after their own experiences of sexual abuse.”

The second experience was that her family was captured by pirates on 5 March 1991 when they were leaving for a brief holiday in Borneo at the end of their time in the Philippines (71/2 years). They were to leave for Harry’s home country of Germany after the holiday break. However, once on the boat, they were captured and held hostage. The family survived but not unscarred by the terror they felt and the experience. The boys were very young - Vernon just seven years. Life had been very intense in Philippines.

“Reflecting on that time, it gave me another dimension as to the realness of humanity. The ones who organise these terrorising acts are truly criminals. But those who do the work are poor and desperate people. Making barely enough with no opportunity to get further. They never have had.”

Shirley loves living in Whitianga and so does Harry. She is a active member of the local Cancer Community Support Group. She is very proud of the boys and Harry. She says about her study. I love research and reading but, in the end, I am persistent and work hard. What I would add for all is,-

“We should always keep an open mind, as out there - there might be something waiting to be discovered.”

Note: Shirley and harry had a few friends and family at their home to celebrate Shirleys. Achievement. She rang The Informer to say, “Picnic and Platters have put on an amazing spread - they have gone the extra mile. Of course the family have paid for it, but it is so wonderful what they have done.”


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