Community Judging Panel

The 2017 Central Otago Awards are judged by a panel of well-respected and impartial judges. Here are the profiles of the judges for the Community Service and Youth Awards.

John Breen
Mike Dowling
Carole Gillons
Russell Marsh
Ainsley Webb

John Breen

Born on 7th April 1943 at Ranfurly, I have lived in Central Otago all my life. Alexandra became my home in 1945. I got my primary education at St. Gerards School, going on to a secondary education at Oamaru’s St Kevin’s College.

From there I went quantity surveying in Dunedin, which is where I met Valmai Murphy. We were married in Dunedin on 1st February 1969. There are four children – Lindsay, Trevor, Maria, and Peter. I came home in 1966 and immersed myself in the family construction business, the outdoors, my family, and the community, all of which has kept me busy to this day.

Mike Dowling

Family, farming and community – the foundations of Michael Dowling’s life. Michael is a long standing stalwart of the Maniototo community, a 3rd generation farmer of Pine Terrace that has been in the Dowling name for over 100 years. Michael has been married to Joan for nearly 50 years; they have seven children and is a much-loved ‘Grandy’ to 16 grandchildren.

Michael believes in the importance of service – over the years he has given his time to rugby clubs, school boards, and charitable trusts. He served on the Maniototo Community board for many years, including several years as chairperson and was a Central Otago District Councillor, a role he greatly enjoyed.

Carole Gillons

Carole and her husband moved to Central Otago in 2002, where they have since raised their family.

As Manager of the Alexandra Community House, Carole gets to see organisations and individuals making a difference to Alexandra and districts. She is also involved with Central Otago Budget Advise, Clyde Primary School Board of Trustees, Roxburgh Playcentre and Alexandra BMX Club and enjoys being part of the vision these groups bring to our community.

Carole believes that the health of a community is a direct reflection on all the volunteer effort and passion that comes from the people who live here.

Russell Marsh

Russell is an Ettrick beekeeper who previously practiced as a Chartered Accountant. Educated at Otago Boys High School and the University of Otago, he qualified as a Chartered Accountant before traveling and working overseas based in Hong Kong & London.

On his return, he spent 5 years with Nestle NZ and Mainland Dairy Products before heading home to Ettrick with wife Trudie and children Charlie & Molly to take over the family Apiary business ''Marsh's Honey'' in 2003. The beekeeping business runs around 2000 beehives and approximately half of these are in Te Anau, Southland.

Russell is a Board Member of Apiculture NZ, Otago Boys High School, St Hilda's Proprietors and a member of the Teviot Valley Governance Group. He is passionate about Central Otago and the community that surrounds us all.

Ainsley Webb

Ainsley came to Cromwell as a midwife in 1973 for a maximum of two years, or so she thought. Quite some time ago, that changed to ‘why would she ever leave’! Ainsley, now retired, worked as a midwife for 20 years and as a practice nurse for 20 years. When Ainsley married John Webb she embraced the progressive and quality fruitgrowing ethos of the long established family business.

Over twelve years ago Ainsley was elected to the Board of Central Otago Health Incorporated and has served as Chairperson for the past six years. Ainsley has been involved in various organisations within the community, particularly Rural Women New Zealand where she has served in positions at local and regional levels.