Hutt at Heart
Mayor Ray Wallace, Victoria Ferguson, Archie Kerr, Susan McNair and the Mayoress Linda Goss-Wallace

Residents receive Lower Hutt’s highest honour

Three of Lower Hutt’s most dedicated and selfless residents were recognised with the city’s highest award, a Civic Honour, at a ceremony last week.

Victoria Ferguson JP, Dr Archie Kerr and Susan McNair were recognised for their outstanding voluntary service to the Lower Hutt community.

Lower Hutt Mayor Ray Wallace said that the Civic Awards acknowledge a lifetime of involvement and service to our city.

“Recipients must have dedicated significant time and energy, over a number of years, to the community. This year’s recipients enter a very small and impressive group of people who have been recognised for their commitment to the city and our community with a Civic Honour.”

“I congratulate them and thank them for their dedication to our city.”

Read more about the recipients:

Victoria Ferguson – Awarded for Voluntary Service in the category of Community Services

Victoria has contributed outstanding service to the community through her judicial work as a Justice of the Peace in Lower Hutt, and her volunteer work in other sectors of the community.

Victoria has been a Justice of the Peace (or JP) for 20 years.

On top of perfoming the regular functions required of a JP,  Victoria presided as a Judicial Justice of the Peace over various courts in Lower and Upper Hutt for 12 years, including weekly Traffic Court, Bails and Remands on Saturday mornings, depositions in serious criminal cases, and Summary Proceedings Court. This involvement required a significant time commitment and a professional level of expertise.

The work of judicial Justices of the Peace is important as they undertake a number of different functions which allow District Court Judges to focus on cases that require a judge. Victoria still attends the Court Service desk when required and regularly staffs the JP service desk at local libraries around the Hutt.

More recently, Victoria has been President of the Hutt Valley & Districts Justices of the Peace Association. During her time on the Association’s Executive she has been commited to upholding its high standards and leading it into the future through challenging times.

In addition to her judicial work, Victoria has volunteered at Te Omanga Hospice as a receptionist and is secretary of the Hutt Repertory Theatre.

Dr Archie Kerr – Awarded for Voluntary Service in the categories of Community, Educational and Environmental Service

Archie is an outstanding volunteer who has served and supported his local community for many years in many fields.

Archie is a keen and accomplished woodworker, a skilful carver, and a Life Member of the Guild of Woodworkers Wellington. Archie has been a member of the guild for 25 years, including two terms as president and holding various committee roles.

A former paediatrician at Hutt Hospital, Archie continues his work for the betterment of our community through his volunteering.

Archie was a key figure in the establishment of the Menzshed in Naenae in early 2000 and has carried it forward into the well-established presence it is today. Archie gives many hours each week to the Menzshed as a member and mentor in woodworking. He mentors young people and those facing challenges in their lives, encouraging them to learn new skills and helping them to grow in confidence.

Archie is also passionate about the environment and has been involved with the Pauatahanui Wildlife Reserve for fifteen years as the Lower Hutt Forest and Bird representative on the Reserve Committee. Archie is also a volunteer at Otari Wilton’s Bush along with his wife Lynsie.

Archie’s connection to the Menzshed and his mentoring skills have been important to his work in both of these groups, through creating mutually beneficial connections, such as arranging ceremonial poles carved by the Lower Hutt Menzshed for the fernery entrance at Otari Wilton’s, and making traps for predator control at Pauatahanui.

In addition to his Menzshed and environmental work, Archie is also a member of the Knox Presbyterian Church where he regularly leads worship services, a study group and extends pastoral care to others. He’s involved with the Living Wage Aotearoa movement and supports several other community groups with their work.

Susan McNair – Awarded for Voluntary Service in the categories of Community, Educational and Environmental Service

For the last 22 years, Susan has given up her home and life to take care of stray and unwanted cats and kittens in our community.

Susan’s commitment to cats started when she was a child. At the age of 10 she rescued her first kitten and by the time she had reached her teens, she had 21 cats. In the last 22 years she has been especially focussed on helping the community spay and neuter cats. Susan was a Cats Protection League committee member between 2008 and 2014, including holding roles as Vice President and President.

In 2014, Susan founded the well known charity, Kitten Inn, to continue this important work. Between 1500-1800 cats and kittens are desexed and adopted out through Kitten Inn each year, and every weekend Susan opens up her house for the public to come and adopt the cats and kittens.

She is an inspiration to the over 150 volunteers who assist her, and she regularly speaks out for the protection and care of cats and kittens and the importance of desexing mother cats to break the cycle.

Susan recently helped a campaign for the deaf community by providing them with some white kittens, as these are normally born deaf. Kitten Inn also has a foster programme running at Rimutaka Prison which is helping the prisoners to develop empathy, emotional control, and nurturing skills by caring for cats.

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