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Lifetime of service

Margaret Bourke has been awarded the Queen’s Service Medal for her involvement and service in Wairarapa community organisations.

“I am honoured by the number of colleagues and friends from different organisations who wrote letters of nomination,” she said.

A speech-language therapist by trade, Bourke moved to Masterton in the 1960s.

From the 1970s, she held several positions at Lansdowne Kindergarten, Wairarapa Free Kindergarten Association, Chanel College, and Wairarapa Secondary School’s Board and School Trustees Association, including president, vice president, chair, parent representative, and delegate.

“I was raising my children, so I was very keen to be involved in children’s organisations,” she said.

Bourke was a community board member and early childhood representative with Wairarapa Rural Education Activities Programme between 1986 and 2001.

She has held various positions with Wairarapa Plunket branch since 1980, including president from 2003 to 2007 and president of the Wellington Area Society.

She was a member of the organising committee for Wairarapa Bride of the Year Contest, which ran for 50 years until 2019, raising money for Wairarapa mothers and children.

Bourke coordinated the design and construction of a new building for the amalgamated Plunket services in the area completed in 2015 and is currently the organiser of the baby knitting fundraiser.

“I’d often begin as a local committee member and move up through the ranks; president of Wellington Plunket was my most senior role,” she said.

Bourke has volunteered at Wairarapa Citizens Advice Bureau for a decade, including four years as board secretary.

“The advice bureau is interesting work, and I really enjoy it.

She was a Parish Council member of the Catholic Parish of Wairarapa between 2018 and 2019 and has been a Lay Reader and church cleaner for more than 30 years.

“I’d like to thank my husband and children for putting up with me all these years.

“I think I was constantly hurrying off to a meeting and leaving the dishes and the children for my husband.

“I am very grateful for their support,” Bourke said.

Flynn Nicholls
Flynn Nicholls
Flynn Nicholls is a reporter at the Wairarapa Times-Age who regularly writes about education. He is originally from Wellington and is interested in environmental issues and public transport.

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