St John volunteers honoured with Minister of Health volunteer awards


St John is delighted to announce that four of its dedicated volunteers have won 2021 Minister of Health Volunteer awards.  

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 Friends of the Emergency Department service at Hutt Hospital. St John 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 them.”

“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 the decades.

“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 years ago.

“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.”



For more information about volunteering with St John visit


Dani Tucker - St John Integrated Communications Advisor

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