St John is delighted to announce that four of its dedicated volunteers have won 2021 Minister of Health Volunteer
The Minister of Health, Hon Andrew Little presented the awards during a ceremony at the Grand Hall at Parliament on 17
August, to recognise the thousands of unsung heroes and volunteers who go above the call of duty and dedicate their time
to support health and disability services. The announcement of the award recipients was delayed due to the COVID-19
Delta outbreak, but St John is now thrilled to be able to celebrate the winners.
St John East Coast Health Shuttle volunteer, Hughie Hughes, was named Health Volunteer of the Year as well as joint
winner of the Outstanding Achievement Award for Long Service, and Far North ambulance officer Wiki Todd has been
presented with the Māori Health Service Volunteer of the Year.
Christchurch ambulance officer Hoani Tainui has won the Outstanding Achievement Award in the health care provider
service category, and Wellington volunteer Annette Wilkinson has won the Outstanding Achievement Award in the community
or NGO health service category for her contributions as team leader of St John’s Friends of the Emergency Department
service at Hutt Hospital. St John's Friends of the Emergency Department teams in Nelson and Wairau were also runners-up
in the health care provider service team category.
More than 8,000 St John volunteers contribute millions of hours to communities across New Zealand each year, enabling a
wide range of St John services including community and youth programmes, event health services, emergency ambulance
services, and fundraising.
Far North ambulance volunteer Wiki Todd is one of the first to attend to emergencies in Kaeo and Whangaroa, treating and
reassuring patients until back up arrives. Wiki is also a Māori Warden who helps families in need and vulnerable youth,
and among other roles, is also secretary of the Whangaroa Health Trust.
Christchurch ambulance officer, Hoani Tainui, has been volunteering for St John for over 10 years. He is a volunteer
team manager and a ‘station guardian’ for St John in Lyttleton.
St John National Operations Manager – Emergency Ambulance Volunteers, James Stewart, says volunteers are vital to the
health and wellbeing of the people in their community.
“Our ambulance volunteers like Hoani and Wiki play a crucial role in responding to emergencies in remote and isolated
communities. They ensure the timely care of patients and help save lives. St John would not be able to function without
“We are incredibly proud of all our volunteers who have been recognised for their significant contribution to the health
and wellbeing of their communities. They are role models who have made a difference to St John and the people they
serve. To be honoured with these awards reflects their sheer value,” says Mr Stewart.
Long standing volunteer Hughie Hughes has been involved with St John for over 50 years in the Gisborne region and has
held many roles. He has served within the St John Youth programme, the local area committee, and more recently, he has
been pivotal in operating the St John Health Shuttle service in Tikitiki.
St John Deputy Chief Executive – Community Health & Iwi Engagement, Sarah Manley says Mr Hughes has given an extraordinary amount of care and energy to his community over
“St John’s charitable community health services play an important role in building resilience and helping people live
strong, independent lives for longer. These services are run primarily by volunteers, such as Hughie, who is one of our
outstanding volunteers making it possible for people to get to and from their vital medical appointments they otherwise
wouldn’t get to. Hughie epitomises a true community hero.”
Another St John volunteer playing a crucial role in the delivery of St John’s community health services is Friends of
the Emergency Department (FED) volunteer Annette Wilkinson, who manages a team of 65 volunteers providing comfort and
support to patients and their relatives in the emergency department at Hutt Hospital in Wellington.
Sarah Manley says Annette has been pivotal to the success of the FED service in Hutt Hospital since its inception four
“We are thrilled that Annette has been recognised for her ongoing commitment. She serves with the utmost kindness and
infectious enthusiasm, and the local community has benefited immensely from her immeasurable contribution to patients,
their whanau, medical staff and the dedicated volunteers she manages.”