Queenstowner Bill Moran’s 2019 started with a nod from the Queen.
Moran, who moved to the Wakatipu a couple of years ago, became a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to the State, sport and youth in the New Year Honours.
After graduating with a Masters in Political Science from Victoria University in 1983, Moran got picked up by Treasury, an organisation he describes as the “engine house for new thinking”.
It didn’t always recruit economists, “so we were kind of eclectic in terms of the skills they wanted to attract in to the organisation” and “whatever role you got, you were account-able”.
“I can still recall my first six months having to turn up and explain a report I wrote to [former Labour finance minister] Roger Douglas.
“There was a direct line of sight with the Minister at the time and you were encouraged to provide your best advice and to challenge contemporary thinking, so it was a really good culture to go into as a young person.”
His 20-year tenure with Treasury culminated in him being appointed strategy change and performance deputy secretary, a role he held until he left in 2016 to give more time to voluntary work.
Moran’s got a host of other roles, with specific interests in youth, sport and music, including the recently-formed Turn Up The Music Trust in Queenstown.
He says that’s like a sister to the Play It Strange Trust, which he set up with Mike Chunn.
While that trust focuses on developing songwriters and giving them a chance to perform live, Turn Up The Music is looking to create a workforce of music teachers and expose young people to different types of music.
“Having come to Queenstown, I wouldn’t say it’s a cultural desert, but it’s growing and diversifying really quickly and the heart and soul of a community is culture and music.
“The whole thing is about how do we give young people the opportunity to be exposed to and learn music; how do we actually provide a scheme where they can actually purchase musical instruments at affordable prices and make it easy for parents to pay for their children to learn music?”
Moran says the aim is to create a sustainable structure for Turn Up The Music, like Play It Strange, “so 15 years from now … it’s still there and we can look back on what it’s done”.
“It’s going to be great for the kids over the next few years, just getting the opportunity to do something they haven’t had the opportunity to do.”
Moran says he was a “bit shocked” to be honoured.
“Nobody had talked to me at all about being nominated, so it was nice to think that somebody had, or people had…it’s not like they hand out too many of these.”