Steve Wills has been recognised by the Rotary Club of Timaru for the enormous contribution he has made to our community over many years both as part of his work as a police officer and through his many other commuity interests and involvements.
Rotary recognises people who make a significant contribution to their community by donating $US 1,000 in their name to Rotary's charitable organisation, The Rotary Foundation. This entitles the recipient to be called a "Paul Harris Fellow", the award being named after Rotary's founder.  This is the second time Steve has received such recognition by Rotary.
The range of Steve's service to our community is staggering, much of it aimed at encouraging and supporting young people to get involved in sport, and working to provide opportunities for youth in our community to find their feet. His primary drive is to see the young adults become better people.
Steve has had a huge involvement with sports; his rugby career spans decades locally, nationally, and internationally.  He has been involved in all areas of the game, playing, coaching, managing, over a variety of age groups. Back in his hayday Steve was selected 4 years in a row to play for the NZ Combined Services rugby team, which included being selected as Captain by none other than Sir Steve Hansen himself.
Steve has been involved in many committees, boards, and trusts over his lifetime. These involvements include: Aspect Sports Trust Board Member; South Canterbury Te Rito Board Member educating and supporting the community around domestic violence issues; National White Ribbon Ambassador; Panel Member and Volunteer for the Project Turnaround Restorative Justice Programme; Chairman of Caroline House, an alcohol and drug recovery support home; South Canterbury Violence Intervention Group; South Canterbury Women’s Refuge Governance Committee; South Canterbury Victim Support Executive Committee Member; South Canterbury Representative on the Canterbury Community Sector Forum of the Ministry of Social Development; Timaru Community Watch Group Committee Member; South Canterbury Sports Awards Judge; founding member of ‘Kiwi Can’, a development programme for young people which is continuing today under the Dingle Foundation.
Since 2003 Steve and his wife Mandy have been Rotary District 9980 Independent Youth Advocates helping Rotary maintain a high standard in its work with young people.
Steve started his working life as an apprentice butcher, then joined the Navy for a couple of years, travelled and worked overseas for several years, then returned to Timaru to join the NZ Police in 1992.  He’s had various roles in the police throughout his career; General duties officer, Enquiries officer, Police Welfare Officer, he was in the Gang unit, a Community Liaison Officer, and in the last part of his tenure Steve headed the Family & Domestic Violence unit. This was where his passion shone through, serving his community and helping those who needed it the most.  Steve delivered training to Government and Non-Government agencies for a variety of subjects including personal safety, drugs, alcohol, domestic violence, de-escalation techniques, risk management and suicide to name a few. For 20 years Steve was a member of the NZ Armed Offenders squad. He was an instructor in the squad, and he developed and delivered training in the Canterbury District and Nationally.  Steve was recognised numerous times for his efforts with the speciality squad.
In 1999 Steve served as a Peacekeeper for the United Nations in East Timor. He was part of the first Police contingent to serve there.  He received a Silver Merit Award for bravery and several citations for other actions while stationed there. Steve has also been officially recognised for his contribution and involvement during the Christchurch earthquakes.
After 25 years of service, Steve resigned from the NZ Police in 2017 and can now be found down at the Port working as the Health and Safety Manager for Prime Port Timaru. If he’s not there you will find him at the Council offices backing up Mayor Nigel as our Deputy Mayor and the Chair of the Timaru Community Development team.
The Rotary Club of Timaru is delighted to again recognise Steve as a Paul Harris Fellow, and express our congratulations and sincere thanks for his commitment and contribution to our community and to our common goals of world understanding and peace.