Jock Webster reckons it was “quite an honour” to be presented with his Queen’s Service Medal.
The Oamaru man was presented his award, for services to irrigation and the community, at a investiture ceremony held at Government House in Wellington late last month.
Mr Webster, who farms on the outskirts of Oamaru, was one of two from Oamaru to receive the QSM after being named on New Year’s Honours List. Neville Cowles was recognised for services to music.
The ceremony was special, he said.
“It was a great occasion. Government House is quite a special place . . . it’s certainly quite an honour and it reflects not just on me, but my family and everyone I’ve worked with.”
Several of Mr Webster’s family were present to see him presented his medal by Governor-General Dame Patsy Reddy, whom he described as a “lovely lady”.
“It was the usual congratulations and well done,” he said of Dame Patsy’s words to him.
“And that I must be a very busy man. There’s not a lot of time for talk.”
A citation that appeared in the Otago Daily Times on December 31 said Mr Webster was one of the key proponents who helped bring water in a sustained way to cover 20,000 hectares for downlands farmers in drought-prone North Otago.
At the time, he said he felt humbled to be a recipient of the QSM for his leadership on the committee that carried out investigation and planning over a 15-year period in order to create the North Otago Irrigation Company scheme.
The company created a reliable piped flow of water from the Waitaki River into a pressurised irrigation system which began operating in 2006.
He said irrigation was a major player in bringing life into the community and that could be seen in a demographic change that resulted in young families moving to the area and young business people making their mark in North Otago.
Mr Webster is still involved in a number of activities and groups, including the Waitaki Irrigators Collective and the Kurow Duntroon Irrigation Company, and has had a long involvement with Young Farmers organisations and the annual contest, including acting as a judge for Young Farmer of the Year.
He co-founded Mitchell and Webster Group, a North Otago farming operation involving two generations of two families.