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“I have a long-standing belief in this community”

Judy Livingston, QSM

AFTER recovering from the surprise of being named in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list, community campaigner and music patron Judy Livingston was quick to heap thanks on her family and mystery nominator.

Miss Livingston has had a life-long involvement with community bands and musical theatre groups in Gisborne as well as a long-standing involvement with Gisborne charity groups. She was honoured with the QSM for services to music and the community.

“I was extremely surprised when I was advised. I wasn’t expecting an award of this kind,” she told The Herald.

“Obviously, I’m very humbled and honoured to be the recipient of this award. I have a long-standing belief in this community and its people — we are a very special region and anything I’ve been able to contribute has been done to support others in achieving their outcomes.

“I express my sincere thanks to those who were behind my nomination — sorry I don’t know who you are — and to my family for enabling me to do what I do.”

Miss Livingston was committee member and vice-president for two years of the New Zealand Concert Bands Association between 2008 and 2012. She was committee member and vice-president for two years of New Zealand Sister Cities Inc. between 2008 and 2015. She has held multiple roles with Gisborne Concert Band since the 1970s, raising $160,000 in philanthropic grant funding during her time as president, secretary, committee and grants adviser.

Since 2000 she has managed the delivery of a free public concert series throughout January each year, which has been attended by thousands over the years.

She has supported the delivery of several national conventions in Gisborne on a voluntary basis, including for the Women’s Institute and New Zealand Potters, helping organise funding grants, community networking and event registration. She has been a trustee of Tairawhiti Positive Ageing Trust and Community Gisborne Charitable Trust since their inception, writing both trust deeds. She has also been involved with Gisborne Community House Trust and Music Services Young Musicians Trust in Wellington. She has secured grant funding for rehabilitation support programmes for Stroke Tairawhiti. She has organised a charity knit sale annually for five years and has received several local community awards.

However, Miss Livingston is not finished with her work or love of music quite yet.

“While through the years we have achieved much as a regional community, there are still major challenges ahead,” she said.

“Our ageing population will bring new challenges for all sectors of the community. The changes to the health system are yet to be determined, so how that will affect us all we will just have to wait and see.

“My main concern is for those individuals and whanau who are falling between the cracks because they don’t meet current organisation criteria for engagement, don’t know where to go for help, or want to remain independent.

“While it is difficult to help everyone we all must continue the work we do to support our people and communities and meet the demands ahead. Musically, I have been involved in banding (over 50 years), musical theatre and jazz with Java Jive. My music has been my release from the stresses of life but has also given pleasure to the wider community.”

SURPRISED: Judy Livingston, QSM. Picture by Liam Clayton