Sheila Larsen was a founding member when NZAP Canterbury branch meetings began in 1978 when she was first nominated as Secretary/Treasurer and later, Convenor. She presented a paper for membership in 1979, and became a full member in 1981. Over the years Sheila has made significant contribution to the Association both at a local and national level. She has continued to regularly support Branch meetings for more than 30 years. Her allegiance to NZAP is demonstrated by her unfailing attendance and involvement at every Conference from the time she became a member of NZAP, missing only two in that time for personal reasons. This remarkable attendance record demonstrates her level of commitment and loyalty to NZAP, as does her involvement on every Canterbury Conference organising committee to date.
A regular, thought-provoking contributor to the Newsletter, Sheila’s writing demonstrates a willingness to tackle often difficult issues with the courage of her convictions. She has a commitment to ensuring that justice is pursued on behalf of all who may not have a strong voice, by doing all she can to persuade the rest of us to listen more openly.
She was elected on to Council in 1989, and became Chair of Applications in 1991 until her resignation in 1997. Sheila has played a major role as a panel member and observer in assessment interviews over many years. Her willingness to be involved, her astute judgement and integrity, and her ability to be direct in her evaluations, has made her a most valued member in this process.
Co-opted to Council as Chair of the Bicultural Committee in 2000, Sheila was re-elected to that position for a further two years until she resigned in 2003. She has been the Canterbury representative on Te Tiriti and Bicultural Committee for many years. Her commitment to bicultural and Treaty issues has been unrelenting, and she has advocated tirelessly for equality for Māori in the Association and beyond. Sheila was instrumental in organising the first NZAP bicultural conference drawing on the expertise of local Ngai Tahu.
Sheila is a consistent, reliable and hardworking colleague; a stalwart of the Association. For her, attending to the principle is paramount, and having made her point, she is able to stay engaged and in relationship.
We wish to honour Sheila’s enormous contribution to NZAP.