Peter Goodman and Penny Molnar who received the Queen's Service Medal during the Queen's Birthday honours. Photos: Supplied.

Community champions honoured with Queen’s award


Two local champions have been recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours for their tireless work in helping promote community wellbeing.

Former Victory community nurse Penny Molnar and long-time volunteer Peter Goodman were both awarded the Queen’s Service Medal for services for the community.

Penny recently completed 20 years as a community nurse and social worker and has been involved with Nelson-based community organisations for more than 30 years.

Peter has volunteered service to various community projects in Putaruru and Nelson through brass band clubs and Lions Clubs.

“Community is my life,” says Penny. “I grew up in a small town where everyone was involved.”

“My mum says I had a strong sense of justice from the age of two.”

She was one of the driving forces behind the foundation of Victory Community Health, which in collaboration with a local school founded the Victory Community Centre. She then served as the Centre’s Be Well Community Nurse for 10 years.

In addition to providing one-to-one health service free of charge she also provided general assistance to support families in the community with referrals to other organisations and hands-on assistance.

“I like being with people and being involved in their lives rather than ‘doing’ things to people,” Penny says. “The biggest thing is I’ve never done anything on my own – I love being part of a team.”

“I’ve always been part of a strong group of women, in particular.”

She said she decided to say yes to receiving the reward because she was doing it for “us” – those who respond to the needs of the community.

Now she has settled into retirement but still keeps active and busy – in particular with waka ama and tennis.

Peter Goodman says his contribution to the community seemed small compared to all the people he had worked with over the years.

“This award doesn’t make me perfect. You get these things and other people have always done more than you have.”

He joined the Nelson Garrison Brass Band in 1953 and in 2014 was made a Life Member of Nelson City Brass. For decades he has contributed his time to teaching young musicians and conducting in Putaruru and Nelson.

He led the organising committee for the 1997 Regional Brass Band contest in Nelson.

He has been a member of the Nelson North Lions since 1984, holding various offices including president. Through his involvement with the Lions Club he has been instrumental in driving a number of community projects.

Peter says he has been part of some “quality teams” over the years and the award is in recognition of that.

“It’s been a pleasure working with them for a common goal … working to make the community a better place.”