Waimakariri Locals Celebrated in Queen's Birthday Honours List

The Queen's Birthday Honours list for 2021 includes two exceptional Waimakariri locals including current Councillor Al Blackie.

Across the country 170 New Zealanders have been awarded honours for their services to the community.

Dr Alastair Blackie was recognised for his dedicated service to the Kaiapoi community and dentistry profession through dental treatment, mentoring for the dental profession, and local governance for more than 40 years.

Dr Blackie was one of few dentists in the town of Kaiapoi for a number of decades. After the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes in Christchurch, he supported patients and other medical practitioners, including through offering free dental treatment. He has served on local and district councils, working to improve and regenerate Kaiapoi following the earthquakes, including on the Kaiapoi Council from 1981 to 1990 with six years as Deputy Mayor. He continues to serve on the Waimakariri District Council where he has been a councillor since 2016 and led the Regeneration team restoring Kaiapoi. He has held leadership and support roles within the Canterbury Branch of the New Zealand Dental Association for nearly 30 years including as a consumer liaison officer for 14 years, member welfare officer, branch President, and Canterbury representative on the Association’s Board. He has volunteered with the Charity Hospital. Dr Blackie has been recognised with Honorary Life Membership of the Canterbury Branch of the New Zealand Dental Association and was nationally recognised as the inaugural winner of the Association’s Outstanding Colleague of the Year Award in 2015.

Gary Lang was recognised for services to Special Olympics and the community. He was a founding member and Treasurer of Southland Special Olympics in 1985, transferring to Eastern Southland Special Olympics as regional coordinator in 1990, then to North Canterbury Special Olympics Committee from 2000 to 2004.

Mr Lang has held roles including Regional Coordinator, Treasurer, committee member, and coach for athletics, bocce and indoor bowls. He travelled to the United States as Assistant Team Manager at the 1995 World Summer Games Special Olympics in Connecticut and Team Manager for the 1999 World Summer Games Special Olympics In North Carolina. He is a Life Member of Eastern Southland Special Olympics. Over the 1970s and early 1980s he was involved with the Queen’s Park Round Table Invercargill, a swim coach with Murihiku Swim Club, Committee member and Treasurer of Newfield School PTA, and Treasurer of Newfield Methodist Church. He has been a Rotary Club member in Gore from 1991 and in Rangiora since 1999. He was involved with Gore Community Watch from 1991 to 1999. He has volunteered with Meals on Wheels Kaiapoi since 2007 and is past President of Waimakariri Combined Probus Club and the Waimakariri branch of the New Zealand Society of Genealogists. Mr Lang has had varying involvement with North Canterbury Radio Trust, Kaiapoi RSA, and has served 37 years as a volunteer firefighter.

“On behalf of the Waimakariri District Council I wish to offer my congratulations to Al Blackie and Gary Lang. Their recognition in the list is fitting given the extensive contribution to and support of community and community organisations,” says Mayor Dan Gordon.

“The generosity of time and use of your talents for the good and pleasure of others is commendable. The award of a Queen’s Service Medal is very fitting recognition of your contribution.”