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Congratulations to the NZAC members who received 2017 Queen’s Birthday Honours

We would like to congratulate Sir Graeme Dingle KNZM,  Mr Robin McNeill MNZM and Mr Geoffrey Spearpoint QSM who received well deserved commendations for the 2017 Queen’s Birthday Honours.

Thank you for your commitment and outstanding services to youth, conservation, outdoor recreation and to the New Zealand Alpine Club.

Knights Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit – DINGLE, MR GRAEME, ONZM, MBE

For services to youth

Mr Graeme Dingle was appointed an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to youth in 2001.

Mr Dingle established the first Outdoor Pursuits Centre in New Zealand in 1972, now known as Hillary Outdoors. He established Project K in 1995, which is now known as the Graeme Dingle Foundation where he continues to serve. More than 150,000 young people have benefited from the Foundation’s programmes. These programmes encompass Kiwi Can (life skills and attitudes for 5-12 year olds), Stars which helps the transition to high school and builds leadership in the senior school; Project K (a 14 month mentoring programme for those with low self-confidence); Career Navigator which helps school leaders find career purpose and direction, and MYND (a referral programme for youth offenders). In 2016 the Foundation’s programmes had 22,000 participants and in 2017 the Foundation will reach 25,000 young people around the country. Mr Dingle has published 11 books, one of which was the winner of the Biography Section of the 2006 Montana Book Awards.

HONOURS: Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit, New Year 2001, Member of the Order of the British Empire, Queen’s Birthday 1988


Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit – MCNEILL, MR ROBIN GUSTAV

For services to conservation

Mr Robin McNeill is an engineer who has a long history of advocating for conservation values and the public’s right to access and use public conservation lands for outdoor recreation.

Mr McNeill is on the board of New Zealand Walking Access Commission and was President of Federated Mountain Clubs (FMC) from 2012 to 2016. During his tenure he was instrumental in FMC joining with the New Zealand Deer Stalkers’ Association and Trail Fund New Zealand to form the New Zealand Outdoor Recreation Consortium. The consortium has utilised the voluntary efforts of its members to help maintain public huts and tracks in remote and little used locations on conservation land. He was appointed to the Southland Conservation Board for 10 years and served as Chair. As a Board member he made a significant contribution to the development of the Rakiura National Park Management Plan and the concurrent review of the Stewart Island/Rakiura Conservation Management Strategy. He is editor of ‘Moirs Guide South’ and author of ‘Safety in the Mountains’. Mr McNeill was elected Fellow of the Institution of Professional Engineers New Zealand for his contribution to the application of engineering and technology in the community both locally and internationally.


Awarded the Queens Service medal – SPEARPOINT, MR GEOFFREY BRIAN (GEOFF)

For services to outdoor recreation

Mr Geoff Spearpoint has made a significant contribution to conservation and outdoor recreation in New Zealand through writing various books and maintaining hut facilities.

Mr Spearpoint’s first book ‘Waking to the Hills: Tramping in New Zealand’ was published in 1985. He went on to edit ‘Moirs Guide North’ (1998) and has co-authored ‘The Canterbury Westland Alps: A Climbing and Transalpine Guide’ (2010), ‘Shelter from the Storm: The Story of New Zealand’s Backcountry Huts’ (2012) and ‘A Bunk for the Night: A Guide to New Zealand’s Best Backcountry Huts’ (2016). He has also written numerous articles for club journals and Wilderness magazine. He was a guide on the 2004 TVNZ series ‘Explorers’ and in 2012 and 2013 he was the lead guide and an advisor to the TVNZ series ‘First Crossings’. In recent years he has made a significant contribution to maintaining and restoring Department of Conservation backcountry huts. He has lead projects such as restoring the Tunnel Creek Hut, Roaring Billy Hut and Thomas River Hut in South Westland. He played a significant role supporting the Canterbury University Tramping Club project to restore Avoca Hut near Arthur’s Pass. Mr Spearpoint is a Life Member of the Hutt Valley Tramping Club and the New Zealand Alpine Club.


Geoff sharing his skills- Picture by Colin Monteath.

Posted: 06/06/17

Posted By: Ashlee