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Margaret Hallenberg

Margaret-Hallenberg_award2.jpgMargaret Hallenberg became the 25th recipient of a Special Olympics New Zealand Life Membership Award at the formal dinner celebrating the 30th anniversary of Special Olympics Auckland held at Alexandra Park on Saturday 22 October 2016.  A Life Membership Award is the highest accolade that Special Olympics New Zealand can bestow on a registered volunteer.  The Life Membership Club is a very special group of individuals across New Zealand as there can only be 40 living Life Members at any one time.
Margaret joined Special Olympics Auckland in 1992 as a parent volunteer but it wasn’t long before she became Co-Chair of the Auckland Committee (with Joce Sweeney). She stayed in this role until 1996 and then took up the opportunity to become Secretary of the Club. She served as Secretary until March 2016.
Margaret has extraordinary organisational skills and has turned her hand to arranging fundraising events, organising discos, catering, sourcing prizes for key events and volunteer recruitment. As Chair of the First Upper North Island Regional Council, Margaret in conjunction with Special Olympics North Harbour’s Joan Fairhall, founded the Up Top newsletter which started as a photocopied newsletter but soon progressed to be a wonderful glossy publication. This publication celebrates the achievements of athletes and volunteers in the Auckland region and has been a very useful tool to recruit new athletes and volunteers.

Margaret willingly put her hand up to take a key role with the organisation of the Special Olympics 21st Birthday Ball held at Alexandra Park in 2004. She took three months leave from her employment so that she could focus solely on this project. This event was a huge success. Her fellow Committee members describe Margaret as a generous, loyal and tireless worker. They say that she is a generous person that uses her influence to make a significant difference to lives of others.  Margaret also invited Christine Fletcher to join Special Olympics Auckland as the Club’s Patron. It was fitting that Christine was present at the 30th anniversary celebrations to see Margaret receive her Life Membership Award.  
Special Olympics New Zealand’s Chief Executive Officer Kathy Gibson said, “Margaret is an extremely hardworking and dedicated volunteer who has given significant time in many areas including governance roles, fundraising, volunteer and athlete recruitment and event management.  I am so thrilled to be able to present this Award to such a gracious and generous lady.  Margaret has been a pioneer behind the growth and development of Special Olympics Auckland. This Club owes a great deal to the commitment that Margaret has shown over many years.”
In receiving her Life Membership Award Margaret said, “My principle is one of do the work, if you commit to do a job you do it and follow through with all that is needed to make the job a success otherwise it is a waste of time and resources. To do this you need a strong backbone of willing volunteers which we have been blessed with in Auckland. This Award is as much about the helpers who made things happen as part of the team.”

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