Queen’s Birthday Honour for maths teacher

CHUFFED: Alan Parris was made a Member of the Order of New Zealand in the Queen's Birthday Honours list for services to maths. He's pictured at his home in Wainoni with one of his vintage cars, a 1929 Plymouth Four. PHOTO: GILBERT WEALLEANS

Retired Teacher Alan Parris has been made a Member of the Order of New Zealand for services to maths education.

Mr Parris, who lives in Wainoni, taught maths at Linwood College for more than 40 years and was head of department for more than a decade.

“I’m honoured. It’s great that maths has been recognised in this way.”

He was one of three people in the city’s east named in this year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours List.

Kerry Bensemann, also of Wainoni, was made a Member of the Order of New Zealand for services to the community.

In 2001, Mr Bensemann established the 0800 Hungry Ministries Trust, a charitable organisation providing food bank services in the Canterbury region.

The trust sources surplus food from businesses and distributes packages to the poor and needy.

Also honoured for services to the community was Dick Johns, of Waitikiri, who has volunteered for nearly 60 years as a Boys’ Brigade leader.

He was a volunteer at the police kiosk in Cathedral Square and since early 2016 has been a weekly volunteer at Burwood Hospital to assist staff and patients.

Mr Parris said although he is now officially retired, he still keeps “busy as hell,” helping set tests and competitions in Australia and New Zealand.

Mr Parris represented New Zealand internationally as the director of the New Zealand Mathematics Olympiad residential camps for more than 30 years, and has written and moderated for the Australian Mathematics Competition for more than 24 years.

Within Canterbury, he has contributed to the Cantamath regional competition, and was founder in 1995 of the Literacy and Numeracy Empowerment Project.

He produced and co-ordinated the online National Mathematics Week programme for more than 15 years and served on the National Association of Mathematics Teachers for more than 25 years.

Mr Parris and his wife have just finished building a new house on their Cuffs Rd property and are busy subdividing and building two more houses on their section.

“We’re busy fighting the council over permits, plans, consents and so on.”

As president of both the Canterbury and New Zealand Snooker and Billiards Association, and a vintage car enthusiast, he’s finding plenty to keep him busy.