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Wednesday 08 April 2009

NZ AIDS Foundation awards human rights leader

Posted in: HIV
By The NZ AIDS Foundation - 20th February 2009

Awarded: Richard Tankersley
The NZ AIDS Foundation has announced that a Life Membership will be awarded to Richard Tankersley, a Takatāpui Tane leader and the first Takatāpui Human Rights Commissioner in 2009.

Richard Tankersley is Kai Tahu and lives in Christchurch, Te Wai Pounamu. He has consistently supported the NZAF's mission since he became first involvement in the late 1980s. "Richard Tankersley's commitment to Takatāpui Tane, human rights and the mission of the NZAF has contributed tremendously to the ongoing development of an HIV resilient NZ. His vision, experience and compassion have spanned more than twenty years" says Mark Henrickson, NZAF Board Chair.

"The NZAF fully supported Richard's appointment as a Human Rights Commissioner in September 2008, we are very please to recognise his tremendous contribution to our mission."

NZAF Life Memberships are awarded to exceptional individuals who have positively enhanced and substantially contributed to the NZAF mission over a significant period of time. The recipients are nominated by NZAF members and selected by the Board according to the criteria.

From his early days as a volunteer with the Christchurch Support Network Richard was employed part-timefor the NZAF as a Prevention Projects Coordinator in 1991 and 1992. After funding cuts disestablished the position Richard continued to support the NZAF in a voluntary capacity. He was a valued supporter of the Ettie Rout Clinic (now NZAF regional office Te Toka/NZAF South) and of public events such as the NZ AIDS Memorial Quilt project and the International AIDS Candlelight Memorial offering a tangata whenua perspective.

Richard played a pivotal role in the NZAF national Hui for Takatāpui Tane in 1995 that led to an agreement to have two Māori positions on the Trust Board.He was nominated by the national Takatāpui Hui-a-Tau to take one of the positions and did so in December 1998. Richard and Mama Tere Strickland were left without seats on the Board when the Trust Board moved the composition of the Trust Board to a non-representative model in 2001. The manner in which this change was implemented was the source of ongoing dissatisfaction for Takatāpui, however successive Trust Boards have gradually worked through these issues over time and Richard continues to support the NZAF governance and South Island regional operations.

Richard was an external appointee tothe Trust Board's Constitutional Review Working Group from 2006 – 2008 and assisted in re-drafting its Trust Deed. He worked tirelessly, attended every meeting and was of considerable value to the group. Subsequently Richard has participated in the reference group formed in late 2008 on the Trust Board's responsiveness to Māori.

The Life Membership Award presentation is being developed in consultation with Tankersley's whanau and elders and will be presented to Richard in Christchurch in May 2009.

The NZ AIDS Foundation - 20th February 2009