Honourable start to the new year


SOUTHERN Institute of Techno› logy (SIT) chief executive Penny Simmonds has been made a Com› panion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to education, sport and the community.
In 2000 she was instrumental in setting up SIT’s zero fee scheme, which allows all domestic students to attend the polytechnic free of charge.
It had proved to be an economic boon to Southland, Ms Simmonds said.
‘‘It took our institution from 1400 [equivalent full›time students] to now around 5000…’’
In addition to her role at SIT, Ms Simmonds is president of New Zealand Hockey, has helped develop various sports facilities in Invercargill, and is on the boards of the Community Trust of South› land and Venture Southland.
Otautau Community Board member Ken Davidson has been awarded the Queen’s Service Medal for community service.
Over the 51 years he had lived in the town, Mr Davidson (77) has contributed in many ways, includ› ing helping build facilities such as the swimming pool, tennis and netball courts and the Otautau Combined Sports Complex.
His desire to help was born out of a passion for what he called a ‘‘nice quiet, peaceful, little town’’ and he said he was glad to have made a difference.
Mr Davidson also spent many years as a coach, manager and selector for the Otautau Rugby Football Club, of which he is a life member, as well as having a long involvement with rugby in wider Southland.
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