25 August 2014
The first ever Hamilton medal was awarded to city businessman Dr John Gallagher at the civic function to celebrate the city’s 150th birthday.
The medal honours the significant achievement of individuals who have been successful in their chosen field and who have made an outstanding contribution to the city.
Hamilton Mayor Julie Hardaker said Mr Gallagher has made an outstanding contribution to Hamilton, the Waikato region and to New Zealand with his active participation in industry, the not-for-profit sector and commitment to the “public good” for more than 40 years.
Both Dr Gallagher and the Gallagher family are recognised as one of Waikato’s most significant philanthropists and benefactors and Dr Gallagher is known as an important community leader.
He is a former Hamilton City Council Deputy Mayor and was a Hamilton City Councillor from 1986-1998, a Waikato Regional Councillor (1989 – 1992) and was elected to WEL Energy Trust for nine years and the Sky City Hamilton Community Trust for seven years.
In 2002, Dr Gallagher was recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list with a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for his local government and community work. In 2010 he was honoured with the Knight of the Order of St John for services to St John and the community.
Dr Gallagher was Chancellor of The University of Waikato from 2003-2006 and has been a member of the University Council since 1990. He received an honorary doctorate from The University of Waikato in 2008 and Hamilton City Council conferred the Freedom of the City honour on him in 2008.
“John has had a life-long commitment to making Hamilton, the wider Waikato community and New Zealand a richer, vibrant and more interesting place in which to live, work and invest,” Mayor Hardaker said. ”His efforts and his legacy are found everywhere. His style of public service is inclusive, covering sports, arts and culture, education and tourism, social development issues – in fact anything that contributes to community well-being.”
Mr Gallagher said his philanthropic activities have been driven by his desire to help his fellow man.
He said being the recipient of the Hamilton medal recognises his broad range of his community involvement over the years, beginning with the Chamber of Commerce in the 1970s. This was followed by many organisations across a range of community activities, some of which he is still actively involved in, such as Habitat for Humanity, The University of Waikato, St John Ambulance Association, Rotary, various community funding organisations, Rotary and special purposes trusts.
John said his involvement was motivated by a desire to make things happen.
“In 1986 I was asked by the then Mayor to stand for Council. Becoming a councillor enabled me to be involved and at times to drive projects, which added value to the city for the benefit of the community. When there was concern about security in the central city, for example, the easiest way to deal for me to deal with this was to form a trust, raise the money and make the CBD safer by putting in place some of the first security cameras in the city.”
John said he loves Hamilton and the Waikato Region. "It has been home to my family for decades. I am honoured to receive the first ever Hamilton medal."