Ohinemuri Regional History Journal 45, September 2001
Mr Neil Clarke, OBE, JP, a member of the Paeroa and District Historical Society, has been appointed a Papal Knight for his services to the Catholic Church and to the community. Pope John Paul II has made Mr Clarke a Knight of the Equestrian Order of St. Sylvester. This Order was named after Pope Sylvester, who was Pope in 1840, and it was established the following year by Pope Gregory. Although Mr Clarke does not receive a title, he now holds one of the highest honours that a lay person can be given in the Catholic Church.
Mr Clarke received a medal and parchment citation at a ceremony held at St. Mary's, Hamilton, on 21 March 2001, attended by Bishop Dennis Browne and Hauraki District Mayor, Basil Morrison. At the ceremony two Hamilton residents were also recipients of papal appointments.
A member of the Bishop's Finance Council since the
Hamilton Diocese was established in 1980, Mr Clarke was also Chairman on the National Catholic Commission for the laity from 1990 until 1993 and he has been Chairman of St. Mary's Parish, Paeroa for forty years.
Mr Clarke has recently been appointed Chairman of Trust Waikato, after being a trustee since 1996 and deputy chairman of the Trust. He is also the Chairman of Environment Waikato, a holder of the 1990 Commemoration Medal, a Local Government New Zealand council member and chairman of its regional affairs committee, a Fellow of the Institute of Management and a Life Member of the New Zealand Road Transport Association. Before retirement in 1989 he was managing director of Provincial Heatons, Paeroa.
He received his OBE for outstanding services to the transport and banking industries, local government and community organisations.