Passion for people - Ministry of Social Development

Contents ............................................................................................................. 1
Welcome ............................................................................................................ 2
Growing strong young mums.............................................................................. 5
Young blokes, good dads ................................................................................. 11
Back to business .............................................................................................. 13
Hearts and voices............................................................................................. 15
Youth power ..................................................................................................... 19
Strengthening young people ............................................................................ 21
Taranaki, King Country and Whanganui .......................................................... 22
A brotherly hand ............................................................................................... 24
Towards 500 .................................................................................................... 25
East Coast ........................................................................................................ 26
Reaching out from Ruatoria ............................................................................. 28
Teaming up for Gisborne youth ....................................................................... 30
Bay of Plenty .................................................................................................... 32
Getting the job done ......................................................................................... 34
Kiwi battler ........................................................................................................ 36
Regional round up ............................................................................................ 36
Tips and links ................................................................................................... 40
The theme of this issue is Strength.
Strength is about taking on
challenges and achieving things
you didn’t think possible.
Inside you will find stories about the
strength of people and organisations
in different circumstances. Two stories
that particularly highlight this theme
involve a South Auckland initiative
designed to strengthen teen mothers and their children, and a young
William Wallace Award recipient who is on the path to independence
and a job she loves.
You will also find a number of stories about the extraordinary strength
being shown by those in Christchurch. From non-government
organisations getting stuck in to help, businesses who are being
supported and young people who are teaming up to help the city after
the earthquakes, they demonstrate how much we can achieve when
called upon.
As a country, we’ve had to draw on our strength a lot recently.
This issue of Rise highlights a few of those stories.
Peter Hughes
Chief Executive, Ministry of Social Development
Rise Issue 15 – June 2011
A job she loves
A When you watch 19-year-old LISA SANDERS
working with horses, it is easy to see that she is
doing exactly what she loves.
She’s gentle and confident as she handles the
horses at the New Zealand Equine Training School
where she is finishing off a qualification in
thoroughbred horse care.
It’s one more step in a deliberate journey towards
self-reliance and a job she loves – two goals Lisa set
herself several years ago as young teenager in state
Lisa was nine when she and her sister were unable
to live any longer with their mother, and were placed
in Child, Youth and Family care.
“The first year was the hardest as I found it was a
big adjustment to make for a nine-year-old,” Lisa
wrote in a story about her life as a child in care. At
age 11, Lisa was moved with her sister into a shortterm placement. When they moved once more, to a caregiver who lived in the country, Lisa
found a place to call home for the next seven years.
“Sometimes I felt like I never had much time to be a kid and I did get jealous of my friends
who had lives I wished I had. But Sandra gave me a stable home and always told me that no
matter what there would always be a place for me in her home.”
Lisa says she saw nine other girls and a boy pass through while she was with Sandra.
“Almost all of them made the same mistakes... I vowed never to make those same mistakes.
I tried to my hardest to make Sandra’s job as easy as I could. I tried my best at school. I hid
how much I was hurting on the inside... I tried my hardest to stay positive and take each day
as it came.”
Sandra’s farm had horses and Lisa learned to ride. She did extra chores, catering jobs and
work at horse events so she could have her own horse. Her social worker Leigh Shadgett
helped her get holiday work at Franklin Zoo and in the local vet clinic.
“Once I found I loved working with the horses I was much happier and felt good about
myself. … I made some new goals, one was that I would never rely on anyone else but
myself, and my other goal was to get a job working with horses that I will enjoy.”
Lisa’s sense of direction and determination to make good choices last year gained the
attention of the William Wallace Awards selection panel. The awards offer scholarships for
outstanding young people in care, many of whom have overcome significant barriers, helping
them pursue their dreams of tertiary, vocational or leadership training.
Rise Issue 15 – June 2011
Lisa is now well on her way towards her goals. After Year 13 at school, she applied for a
Work and Income training allowance and enrolled in the New Zealand Equine Training
School in Pukekohe which offers TOPS courses leading to qualifications for young Work and
Income clients. Peter Hingston has run the school for 22 years, teaching not only equine
skills but also budgeting and CV writing, numeracy and literacy.
At the Equine School, Lisa has one more unit to complete to achieve her National Certificate
in Equine. Her next goal is to work with thoroughbred mares and foals as a stud groom. The
life of a stud groom involves early mornings and weekend work, but that’s fine as far as Lisa
is concerned because there is nothing she is happier doing.
Leigh Shadgett says she is incredibly proud to be Lisa’s social worker. “She has chosen to
stay on a positive path of her own accord, she stayed at school even when she was
struggling, she did extra work so she could have a horse. She kept herself safe when other
young people chose not to.
Rise Issue 15 – June 2011
Growing strong
young mums
In the midst of the noise, colour and chaos that only pre-schoolers can create, 23-year-old
Carly Pickett is both hard at work and right at home.
She is six months away from completing a Bachelor of Teaching and Learning in early
childhood education, and has put herself through her degree by working at Kakano early
childhood centre in Manurewa. She’s a high achiever and post-graduate study towards a
Master’s degree is a possibility.
She’s also a mother of two children, aged four and seven. Like many of the young mums
whose children she works with, Carly became a mother as a teenager.
Pregnant at 15, Carly dropped out of school. Although she had good support from family and
close friends, she struggled with the stigma and the suddenly limited choices of being a
teenager with a baby.
“I was very isolated. My friends were out doing teenage stuff and buying clothes, and I was
saving for nappies and paying off a car seat.”
At 16, with no qualifications except NCEA level 1, an eight-month-old son and a full-time but
dead-end job, Carly saw nothing in the future that was going to give her son the life she
wanted for him.
Rise Issue 15 – June 2011
That’s when she turned to the Taonga Educational Centre Charitable Trust – a Manurewabased organisation which has for the past 10 years worked to support and strengthen
teenage parents, their children and the wider community.
The Taonga Trust
New Zealand has the second highest teenage birth rate among the world’s developed
countries. In 2009 there were 4,670 births to New Zealand teenagers.
In Manukau City around 630 teenagers give birth each year.
However, it was not statistics but the plight of three homeless and disengaged teenage
mums at Christmas 2001 which sowed the seed that grew into Manurewa’s Taonga
Educational Centre Charitable Trust.
In offering to help the girls, a handful of Manurewa Mäori Women’s Welfare League
members uncovered a problem that they could not walk away from, and the Taonga Trust
was born.
“We went to the Manukau City Council, and set up an alternative education programme at
the Clendon Community Centre,” says Taonga chairperson Anne Candy. “The council set
aside eight spaces at the crèche so teen mums could go back to school.”
As word got out, demand rapidly grew beyond capacity. At the same time, it was obvious
that education and childcare would only go so far. Many of the young mums faced multiple
and complicated issues. Health care, housing, income, parenting skills, life skills and social
issues including domestic violence, incest or rape all needed to be taken care of.
“We told a meeting of government agencies that we needed to expand but had no resources,”
says Taonga chief executive Erana Doolan.
The Manukau City Council’s Community Development committee agreed to cover building
rent and overheads.
“And it was Isabel Evans, MSD’s regional commissioner, who said straight away that MSD
would put some money in the bucket,” says Erana. “We will never forget that – she made the
commitment that day to keep the initiative going, and from that point others joined the
whakapapa – Te Puni Kökiri, Health, Education.”
A wheel with many spokes
Today, Taonga runs a multi-faceted programme, whose strength depends on the
collaboration of health workers, teachers, social workers, community workers, volunteers
and a range of government agencies.
Vulnerable and unsupported teen parents and their children can face a multitude of
disadvantages. New Zealand studies show that compared with women who had not become
mothers by age 21, teen mothers are:
nine times more likely to have no qualifications
twice as likely to suffer from major depression
twice as likely to be substance dependent
three times more likely to be suicidal at times
Rise Issue 15 – June 2011
and three times more likely to be dependent on a benefit.
But teen parents can do well, especially when they have good support from a range of
practitioners working together.
Rise Issue 15 – June 2011
“With the issues that these girls are going through, without everyone doing their job every
day to help them, these girls would not be as successful,” says Erana. “It’s like a wheel. If
you take out one spoke, the wheel breaks.”
The original school for eight young mums at the community centre is now a purpose-built Teen
Parent Unit (TPU) for 30, funded by the Ministry of Education and hosted by James Cook High
School. The academic results of the TPU match and in some cases out-do the high school.
Taonga runs the adjoining early childhood centre – Potiki – for the children of the young
mums at the unit. Mums and kids transported to and from home in mini-buses.
“We also realised that most of our teen mums had no relationships with health
professionals,” says Anne. “No GP had a history of them or their children because of the
kind of lifestyles they had grown up with.”
With the support of the Counties Manukau District Health Board, Taonga opened a health
unit adjoining the TPU, employing an on-site nurse as well as a community health worker
and a vehicle to take young mums and their children to health appointments.
Two Ministry of Social Development-funded social workers support the young mums to
overcome personal issues that prevent them from succeeding as parents and students.
A second early childhood centre – Kakano – opened in 2007 and is based in the community
to support local pre-schoolers, young mums moving into tertiary study or work, and children
of teen parents who are not part of the Teen Parent Unit.
“We had one student who got into tech three times, but she kept pulling out,” says Erana.
“It’s a big thing to go into tertiary studies anyway, but to put her baby in a whole new centre –
she just couldn’t do it. When Kakano opened, her child moved there. Now she’s in her third
year of a nursing degree.”
Both the early childhood centres have cooks on the staff.
“We make sure the babies get all their nutritional needs met during their day with us,” says
Anne. “That’s in case they go home at the end of the day and there’s not much there.”
Child, Youth and Family is involved with a number of Taonga’s young parents so a close
working relationship is important. The nearby Clendon Work and Income service centre is
another key partner. Taonga has also formed a good relationship with Housing New
Zealand, after initially approaching the local office because teen mums were struggling to get
interviews for houses. “They’ve assigned a staff member to work with our mums, and that
has been positive and empowering,” says Anne.
Rise Issue 15 – June 2011
Intensive case worker
Out in the Manurewa community, Taonga’s intensive case worker Rhonda Tautari works with
vulnerable teen parents who are not part of the Teen Parent Unit.
She’s been involved with Taonga since she knocked on the door as a social work student
doing a group project in 2005, and became the organisation’s first social worker in 2007.
Now she’s one of 19 teen parent case workers in high-need communities around New
Zealand. The Ministry of Social Development-funded case workers are one part of a $14.9
million investment which also targets support for teen fathers, and supported housing for
vulnerable teen parents and their kids.
Rhonda gets to know the young parents and their whanau in their homes, and links them
with support from antenatal care to parenting programmes, education, housing, budgeting
and benefit support. She also makes sure that their children get health care and access to
early childhood education.
Rhonda understands the stigma, isolation and insecurity many of her young clients grapple
with, but she also expects to be met halfway as they develop confidence, a sense of
direction and start to take more responsibility.
Often her work involves whole whänau, taking one step at a time so that home is a safer
place for both teenager and baby. “I walk that journey alongside them,” she says.
Supported housing
Until recently, supported housing for the most vulnerable young mothers and babies was a
missing spoke in Taonga’s “wheel”, but in January this year Te Whare O Taonga opened to
fill that gap.
Housing is a major issue for teen parents, especially those with little family support or
resources. Many end up in unsafe or overcrowded conditions.
“Some have families who are really supportive but many don’t – they’re living in a culture of
drink, or violence, and they are really at risk,” says Rhonda.
“And some are just simply too young to be living on their own. One of my girls is only 13, and
her partner is 12.
“If we can bring them into a supported environment, they can bond with their baby, learn the
routines of home and parenting and we can get them ready to reintegrate into the
community,” says Rhonda.
Te Whare is one of seven Ministry of Social Development-funded supported houses set up in
high-need areas across New Zealand since 2010. It is a large rented house in Manukau, home
to five mums and their babies. The youngest, aged 14, has just given birth to a little girl.
One of the motherly hands at the helm of Te Whare is Whaea Debbie. She’s a former youth
worker, mother of six, grandmother and early childhood carer, so she’s well qualified to be
Te Whare’s house mother. It’s a round-the-clock job, whether Debbie is teaching the group
to cook a bacon and pie, helping a new mum with breast feeding, or rolling play-dough
Rise Issue 15 – June 2011
The household functions as a family, preparing and eating meals together, caring for the
kids, sharing chores, working out the weekly spend on groceries. Every day the young mums
are learning lessons that will help them to stand on their own.
It’s hard work, and there are failures, but the team at Taonga has a growing list of success
stories behind them. There’s the TPU’s academic record. The girls who learn to be strong
mothers and don’t lose their babies to state care. The young mums with jobs or in further
education. The young couples who make it together as parents. The annual school ball. The
netball team. The girls who won Duke of Edinburgh Hillary Gold Awards and shook hands
with Prince Edward. The young mum who was offered a Max Foundation management
traineeship after she spoke at those awards, but chose instead to get a degree and become
a nurse.
And of course, there is the 16-year-old who raised two children and went on to become an
excellent early childhood educator.
Looking back, Carly Pickett says Taonga’s mix of education and childcare, along with health,
social support and life skills has shaped the person she is today.
“As a 16-year-old, it was a huge relief to realise I was not the only one going through this,”
she says. ‘From the moment I started it was very empowering. I could talk to people I could
trust, and not be judged.”
She gained confidence as a parent and finished her school education. Her son thrived in
Taonga’s adjoining early childhood centre and that made a big impact on Carly; when
Taonga opened Kakano, its second early childhood centre, she applied for a position on the
Erana says that Carly’s youth was cause for some hesitation, but her dedication won her a trial
and she has never looked back. “She has turned out to be a brilliant childhood educator and we
are glad that we took that chance,” says Erana.
Carly says she now sees herself as someone who has “come through and made it”. She is
glad she can support other young parents through her work, aware that she is a role model not
only for them but also for her own two children.
“It’s important to me that they know that if you want to get places in life, you have to keep
learning and keep working.”
Rise Issue 15 – June 2011
Young blokes, good dads
RYAN DONALDSON was 15 when he found out he was
going to become a father.
“It was really scary. I didn’t know what everyone would
think or how I would tell my parents,” remembers Ryan. “It
would have been nice to have someone to talk to before
my baby was born.”
It was a member of the Maori Women’s Welfare League
who first suggested a programme for dads that was
running one night a week at The Pulse, Whangarei Youth
One Stop Shop. A free dinner was part of the deal and a
van did the rounds to pick up those with no transport.
“That was helpful ‘cos I didn’t know how I’d get there. I
wasn’t motivated to do much at the start, and I wouldn’t
have made the effort.”
Now 18 years old, Ryan is a dedicated full-time dad while
his partner pursues her goal of becoming a midwife. He is
also a regular at The Pulse. He’s made friends with other
dads, found a place to hang out and says it has given him
confidence to be a better father.
“We talk about all sorts – child development, being a good parent, mentoring, just trying to
be a better man. I learned a lot, even just small stuff like what to feed your kids.”
Ryan says the dads’ programme has also motivated him to build his music skills and
consider youth or social work.
Daniel Hughes runs the dads’ programme at The Pulse. He’s an Early Years Hub coordinator, supporting families with children from birth to six to years old.
“Part of the role was to identify gaps in services and that’s when I found there was not much
support for dads, in general. Even in antenatal, most services are very women oriented.”
It is an observation that has been echoed in other places, and earlier this year a Supporting
Teen Fathers booklet was published by Ministry of Social Development (MSD) to share ideas
and expertise among community-based services supporting teen fathers, their children and
In Manurewa, teen parent intensive case worker Rhonda Tautari works with young parents,
linking with providers who specialise in supporting teen fathers, such as Father and Child
Trust, IOSIS Family Services and the Ohomairangi Trust.
Rhonda says families can be damaged when young fathers are overlooked. “The mums
move forward with education, parenting, and get a sense of direction but the dads, when no
one is helping them, stay where they are and that is when relationships can break down.”
Rise Issue 15 – June 2011
In Christchurch, the Father and Child Trust is one of nine providers around the country to
receive MSD funding for teen father support programmes.
The Trust’s general manager Harald Breiding-Buss says the Trust promotes an inclusive
approach to fathers’ role in raising children,
in a world where services and attitudes are still very much mother-centred.
“When people talk about teen parents, the image is mums. But there are lots of young dads
out there and they are often invisible, even though they are in the exact same boat as the
mums… If we ignore them, the babies will miss out because of it.”
The Trust has launched an innovative new programme to support young fathers and
promote competent teamwork between mothers and fathers. Linking with young parents at
youth antenatal classes, a male youth worker works with the father, mentoring him and
supporting him with parenting and life skills. Meanwhile a female youth worker from the
Waipuna Trust works with the mother.
“All four will establish a relationship of trust so that when problems arise, as they almost
inevitably do with young parents, we can sort it out before it escalates.”
In addition, male and female youth workers jointly lead parenting and relationship groups for
teen parents, whether they are still a couple or not.
“At every stage we are modelling the team approach to bringing up a baby,” says Harald.
Daniel says young dads can feel undervalued and unsure about their role or how to get
support to improve the child’s life. It’s even harder for those who are not in a relationship with
the mother.
The programme he runs is driven by what the men bring to the table. He also works one-onone to tackle individual issues and achieve goals in practical steps.
“Maybe they want to be the best dad they can, so we might focus on setting boundaries, not
being so strict, knowing when to back down, disciplining without smacking…Or maybe they
want to get off the benefit so we’ll look at CVs, getting a drivers licence or training.
“Being a dad is one of life’s biggest responsibilities. There’s a lot to learn. So if a young
bloke wants to have an active part in their child’s life, they have to start dealing with those
challenges. And I’ll support them 110 per cent.”
Rise Issue 15 – June 2011
Back to business
When it comes to focusing people’s hopes and dreams into an image, award-winning
Christchurch wedding and portrait photographer JOHANNES VAN KAN is an artist.
Now he must refocus his own dreams after the February earthquake devastated the historic
Lyttelton building which was not only studio and home, but also inspiration to Johannes,
photographer wife Jo Grams and their daughter Ida.
Johannes says Moda Fotografica’s art and brand had been based upon the iconic old
building which was once Lyttelton’s Magistrates Court and Council Chambers. The Moda
Fotografica website explains: “In trying to tell people who and what we are I keep coming
back to this amazing building… It is strong. It is beautiful yet weathered by nearly 130 years
of looking out to sea. How lucky we are to be here.”
That, of course, was written before the earthquake.
Now the building is uninhabitable, its future is in serious doubt, business has dried up and
there still is a mortgage to pay, an insurance maze to negotiate and a living to make.
Johannes and Jo considered leaving Christchurch, but decided to stick with the community
they have come to call home. The Government’s Employer Support Subsidy (ESS) has
helped them survive, but in order to stay afloat until Christchurch people once more plan
weddings and want portraits, they have to find new ways to make money.
Supporting Canterbury businesses
Business recovery co-ordinator Emily Branthwaite first made contact with Johannes and
Moda Fotografica when she parked up in Lyttelton in the campervan that is a mobile service
of the Recover Canterbury Hub, which supports businesses affected by the September and
February earthquakes.
In her pre-earthquake life, Emily Branthwaite was a business client manager for Canterbury
Development Corporation. Now she is one of around 48 mobile business recovery coordinators who actively contact, visit and work one-on-one with quake-affected businesses.
Emily says that while support for employers was initially around ‘sticky tape’ issues such as
access to workplaces, water, power and portaloos, increasingly the focus is on planning the
way forward.
Businesses whose customers were largely Christchurch-based were particularly vulnerable,
she says, and many will need to do whatever it takes to survive in the short term.
Rise Issue 15 – June 2011
For a top end, high profile photographic business like Moda Fotografica, growing business
outside Christchurch is a strong option, so when Emily secured a number of free spaces for
Christchurch businesses at the Auckland Grand Wedding Show in April, Moda Fotografica
seized the chance.
Johannes says the wedding show created some good leads. In the meantime, he’s
branching into other areas of photography and has taken work on a wedding album helpline,
working 3am to 9am answering queries from clients in the United Kingdom and the United
Emily has offered the services of a business mentor and Johannes is considering the option,
saying it would be good to have an experienced and rational person to bounce ideas off at a
time when he is emotionally involved and worried about making bad decisions.
He and Jo have also launched into a seminar tour of Australia and New Zealand.
“This is to keep us employed and give us something to focus on,” he wrote in his blog.
“We are adamant we are going to work our way through this and we’ll be stronger and more
resilient. We’ll be a business with a history, and so I feel that at the end of the tunnel there
will be something good.”
Being part of the rebuild
In another part of Christchurch, the earthquake left the 50 staff of twin computer game
companies Stickmen Studios and Cerebral Fix with no workplace and no equipment.
The companies employ a number of young Work and Income clients through the Skills
Investment Subsidy, and after the earthquake work broker Paul Armstrong was quick to get
in touch and arrange support.
Chief executive Wil McLellan says while the company stayed afloat with the Government’s
Employer Support Subsidy, he kept in touch with staff through Facebook and focused on
restoring business fast.
A partner company, Industrial Research Limited, made room at one end of its warehouse in
the western suburbs. New computers were sourced and, in a move of amazing generosity, a
massive 82-server system was donated. Since then, Stickmen Studios has launched a new
brand with Industrial Research Limited, and Wil says circumstances forced by the
earthquake may permanently change the way his and other businesses work.
Wil talks about broader opportunities for more collaboration and joining up of skills, and says
a like-minded group of Christchurch companies are actively developing an exciting plan for a
new way of working together. He can’t yet reveal much more about that, but says watch this
“Once the dust settles, you just have to pick yourself up and see it as an opportunity. I’m
passionate about the rebuild of Christchurch, committed to being part of it and making it
better than before.”
Rise Issue 15 – June 2011
Recover Canterbury
Recover Canterbury – or 0800 505096 – is a joint venture
between Canterbury Development Corporation, the Canterbury Employers Chamber of
Commerce and government agencies including the Ministry of Social Development, Inland
Revenue, Department of Labour and Te Puni Kokiri.
It’s a one-stop shop set up to support Canterbury businesses affected by the earthquake
and offers a single point of contact where businesses can be connected with support and
multiple services to help them re-establish and survive. That might be anything from the
Employer Support Subsidy to a free Business NZ mentor, a marketing opportunity, an
undamaged office, free advertising, insurance advice or staff counselling.
David Rhodes, who manages one of the two behind-the-scenes Recover Canterbury Hubs,
says combined expertise is one of the strengths of the interagency team, but the mantra is
that agency hats are off – Recover Canterbury is one team.
Canterbury businesses and employers are incredibly resilient and open to dealing with their
issues, he says. “They just want to get stuck in.”
Hearts and voices
Grassroots Christchurch organisations are working to give heart and voices to their
communities in the wake of February’s earthquake.
Fencepost conversations
The playgroup in the back yard and the faint smell of curry from the previous night’s cooking
group lend an air of normality to Te Puna Oraka – the Early Years Service Hub in Shirley.
But things are far from what was once considered normal.
“Forty-five per cent of the people in Shirley disappeared after the earthquake. Five per cent
returned only to pack up and leave and the rest are sort of in lockdown mode. They’re not
coming out of their houses much,” says Felicite Jardine. She co-ordinates Te Puna Oraka,
otherwise known as the Shirley Hub, a Ministry of Social Development-funded service for
families with children under six years old years.
In a small office in the front of the Hub, a pile of real estate signs represent an innovative
attempt to connect with families in post-earthquake Shirley, and give them a voice to drive
the recovery of the community.
“It’s fundamental that a good recovery is based on community involvement in decision
making, but we can’t just sit here and think that people know how to do this when most
people in this community have never had a voice in the past,” says Felicite.
She is using the signs to start ‘fencepost conversations’ on residential streets, asking people
to write or text ideas about what they want and need in the community. As time goes by,
those ideas will also be posted on the signs.
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“We all shared this experience and we all feel vulnerable. People need to know that they
have a way to positively influence what happens in this community, post-earthquake.
“The fencepost idea is to get a community conversation going, get people talking about what
they need in the community so that a shared community vision can be reached.”
In the weeks after the quake barbecues, a weekly cooking group, community picnics and
bouncy castles were also part of the effort to connect with families, “get some fun back in the
community, socialise and just normalise.”
In response to requests from children, the Hub’s Easter holiday programme had a strong
earthquake focus, with kids and parents making earthquake time capsules. “It’s an
opportunity for them to talk about what has happened, especially the kids,” says Felicite.
Early Years Service Hubs help children in high-need areas to get a good start in life by
linking young families with health, early childhood education and social support. The Ministry
of Social Development-funded Hubs co-ordinate child-focused services and in Shirley that
includes Barnardos, Family Start, a PAUA playgroup, a young mothers’ group, a refugee
mothers group, a breastfeeding programme and the Te Pua Waitangi Ki Otautahi Trust.
Since the earthquake, a number of other organisations who lost their own premises have
also joined the fold, including the Parents Centre, Resettlement Services and a church
playgroup. The modest-sized Hub building has also become home to Pregnancy Help, left
homeless after the earthquake.
Pregnancy Help manager Liz Henderson says the positive side is that the move to the Hub
has connected her organisation more effectively to its clients and to other services that can
help her clients. “In that way it’s been really exciting, and we see this an opportunity to re-jig
our service.”
Working together
Family and Community Services has been playing a role supporting and co-ordinating the
efforts of non-government organisations working with communities in Christchurch.
Regional manager Denise Kidd says the need for non-government organisation and
government agencies to work together has been taken to a whole new level in the wake of
“What has been outstanding has been a broad range of partners’ preparedness to put their
traditional roles aside, roll up their sleeves and focus where it is needed most.”
An opportunity to do it differently
In the weeks immediately following the quake, Paddy Pawson of the specialist youth agency
St John of God Waipuna, says the organisation put everything else aside to help the
The Waipuna building was open to the public, staff were on hand for anyone who needed
them, community barbecues were held every couple of days, and as one of the few places in
the area with water, showers were running flat out.
Now that Christchurch is moving towards recovery, Paddy says organisations like Waipuna
Rise Issue 15 – June 2011
will need to be flexible to meet the new needs of their communities.
“There’s a huge opportunity to do things differently. NGOs are here for the collective good of
people. It’s not about building empires; it’s about taking off our organisational hats and
looking at the skills and talents we all have to offer.
“We need to be enhanced by this experience rather than diminished. If we don’t then we
have missed the wisdom that this experience has to offer.”
Giving heart to Aranui
In the hard-hit suburb of Aranui, people immediately turned to an organisation that has, over
the past 10 years, worked its way into the heart of the community.
Aranui neighbourhood nurse Jenny Herring recalls that as the earth stopped rocking, people
came out of their homes and onto the streets. They began to gather next to the modest row
of shops where the Aranui Community Trust runs Aranui Heartland Services.
“No one really knew what to do,” says Jenny, “but these guys (at Aranui Heartland) just
stepped forward and took over.”
Aranui Heartland co-ordinator Rachael Fonotia was raised in Aranui and is passionate about
the community. Locally, she’s nicknamed the Mayoress of Aranui, but that’s a label she is
quick to dismiss with a horrified laugh. The strength of the community response to the
earthquake, she says, was a team effort of the people and agencies who make up Aranui
Heartland Services.
Located in Christchurch’s eastern suburbs, Aranui was one of the areas where flat coastal
land rolled, waved and flooded with silt and water. Portaloos and chemical toilet disposal
tanks now line the residential footpaths. Tarpaulins and plywood cover walls and broken
roofs. Rubble is piled in yards, the roads are split and rough with potholes, ridges and gravel.
Rachael says the reason the devastated community turned to Aranui Heartland after the
earthquake was a decade of building trust, listening to people’s needs and responding.
It was 2001 when Aranui’s community renewal project was launched by a group of likeminded local people, Housing New Zealand and the Christchurch District Council. Ministry of
Social Development funding has been part of the mix since 2002.
Rachael knows by heart the demographics underpinning the project: the community of 4,500
people had a high proportion of state-owned rental homes, unemployment, unqualified
school leavers and single parent families. The average household income is $18,000, and,
unusually for Christchurch, more than half the population are Mäori of mixed tribal descent or
Pacific people.
From the very beginning, the project sought buy-in from local people to drive community
development. Ten years later, surveys point to growing community pride and belonging.
Tangible results are seen in remodelled state housing blocks, the rejuvenated park, the
revival of the rugby league club with eight junior and two senior teams. Family violence coordinator Selau Ifopo-Sumner has involved the Aranui Eagles to promote the message in
the It’s not OK campaign. Children at the local school know Heartland’s nurse Jenny by
name and come running when she turns up. The Aranui Affirm festival had become a
major annual fixture attended by people across the city, and Aranui Heartland Services
Rise Issue 15 – June 2011
was a place people turned to for access to a range of services.
That’s why, when the 22 February earthquake struck, knocking out power, communication,
infrastructure and services, Aranui Heartland Services was well placed to respond quickly
with food, information and support.
Within a day of the quake, Aranui Heartland Services became an impromptu food
distribution centre. Donations of groceries arrived constantly in trailers, trucks and cars from
around the country. Work and Income vans set up in the car park until a Recovery
Assistance Centre opened in the Community Hall bringing in Housing New Zealand, the Red
Cross, Inland Revenue and counsellors.
Heartland volunteers went door to door asking about the needs of each household. It soon
became clear that many of Aranui’s Pacific families were missing out on help so a Pacific
Hub was set up at Aranui Heartland Services.
The term ‘Aranui Hub’ is now being used to describe the partnership of multiple government
and non-government organisations that have come together to support Aranui since the
earthquake. Meetings are held weekly at Aranui Heartland Services to share information and
co-ordinate work.
“What it highlights is the need for a community to have a hub. In Aranui we are lucky
because we were already there with the community relationships in place,” says Rachael,
“and that meant we hit the ground running.”
Rise Issue 15 – June 2011
Youth power
Life may never be the same again for philosophy
and psychology student MORGAN PERRY.
Before the February earthquake Morgan’s goal was
to get into the air force. But then the earth shook and
less than 48 hours later Morgan was at the head of a
team responsible for the massive task of feeding up
to 1,500 student volunteers deployed in the stricken
suburbs of Christchurch.
By the time the Student Volunteer Army (SVA)
wound down its operation at the end of March, it had
moved 360,000 tonnes of silt, answered 3,000
callouts from residents needing help, distributed half
a million welfare and civil defence pamphlets,
delivered 21,000 chemical toilets, laid sandbags
along the Avon River and distributed tonnes of
donated food to households and welfare centres.
The Student Volunteer Army showed what can be
achieved when hundreds of young people get
involved to make difference in the community.
“It’s changed who I am and what I want to do,” says Morgan. “What the SVA achieved, and
what my group achieved within the organisation has changed my perspective. I’ve proved to
myself that I have the potential to make a difference.”
Morgan’s team was also responsible for sourcing and distributing truckloads of donated food
and goods that arrived daily from across the country, as well financial support including a
$20,000 grant from the Ministry of Youth Development.
“I was getting more than 300 calls a day from people wanting to donate stuff,” says Morgan.
“It was unreal.”
Environmental science student Christopher “CJ” Duncan had the task of running the ground
operations. As well as overseeing the daily deployment of student teams, he helped pinpoint
where work was to be done the following day. They scouted suburbs, communicated with the
Civil Defence Emergency Operation Centre, and worked with contractors such as Fulton
Hogan on where the SVA workforce could be put to best use.
They also had to find space to park 10 to 20 student buses and fire up a hearty lunch for up
to 1,500 volunteers each day.
“It still feels a bit surreal when I stop and think about it,” says CJ, who had not previously
thought of himself as having outstanding organisational skills. “I just happened to be in this
situation and I was able to perform. A huge part was being a team, with everyone working
out what to do.”
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The Student Army was officially stood down on Sunday, 29 March 2011, but its leaders are
determined not to let the experience go to waste. Underpinning the ongoing SVA movement
is the belief that students and young people should play a bigger part in their communities,
“other than just being party animals,” says CJ.
It was after the September earthquake when law and political science student Sam Johnson
fired up a group of students to lend a hand using Facebook. Keen to continue the positive
momentum, in January 2011, Sam and a core group formed the Student Volunteer Army
with the help of social innovation charity Te Wai Pounamu, the White Elephant Trust and a
Youth Development Grant. On the night of 22 February 2011, SVA’s Facebook page grew
from 160 followers to 1,000. Now it has more than 26,000
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Strengthening young people
A symbol of youth and adventure, the Spirit of New
Zealand has been strengthening the young people of
New Zealand with its youth development voyages
since 1973.
One participant wrote: My voyage was a 10-day
adventure I will never forget… I came home feeling
like I had learnt about who I am as an individual, and
had a new outlook on the world. Talking to new
people is no longer daunting — after being placed on
a boat with 39 complete strangers, you really learn
how to put yourself out there. I faced challenges and
leadership decisions that I would never have
expected to face, and I learnt a lot about teamwork
and perseverance. Ten days is a small segment of
my life, but no matter how short, it has changed me
for the better.
Every year around 1,200 young New Zealanders
embark upon a Spirit of New Zealand voyage, with
800 places funded by the Ministry of Social
Development. They gain the opportunity to build
skills, confidence, attitudes and behaviour to stand them in good stead for the voyage of the
rest of their lives.
Rise Issue 15 – June 2011
Taranaki, King Country
and Whanganui
From the plains of Taranaki to the rolling hills of King
Country and Whanganui, the Ministry of Social
Development (MSD) supports many industry and
employment opportunities.
Taranaki is the centre of New Zealand’s oil, natural
gas and petrochemical industries. Supporting the
growing needs of Taranaki’s energy industry, a
longstanding partnership between Work and Income
and CApENZ provides jobseekers with training in the
engineering sector and has led to more than 130
successful job placements.
Some of this success has been evident in Waitara, a
small township north of New Plymouth. Waitara was
hit hard by large industrial closures in the mid 90s,
but has bounced back with the establishment of two
large petrochemical plants.
Travel north along the coast and inland to the rolling
farmland surrounding the shearing capital of the
world, Te Kuiti. The region’s first Community Link
opened in Te Kuiti in 2010 combining services from a range of government and community
The Kiwiana town of Otorohanga lies to the far north of the region. Before the recession, this
area had zero youth unemployment and still maintains low numbers. The community works
hard to ensure that their young people are employed or in training. The Otorohanga Trade
Training Centre was established in partnership with the Waikato Institute of Technology
(Wintec), and is supported by MSD, the local council, businesses and community groups.
In the heart of the King Country, Taumarunui Work and Income has established a workbased training contract to prepare jobseekers for work with Ruapehu Alpine Lifts, helping
meet demand for workers in the ski season.
Head south to Marton, the hub of the Rangitikei, where the local meat processing industry is
supported by Work and Income’s pre-employment training programmes. Meat processing is
significant in Taranaki with 13 plants employing 3,900 workers. Work and Income works
closely with the industry to support seasonal demand for workers.
The river city of Whanganui is the region’s second largest city, home to arts, cultural heritage
and a network of processing plants and niche manufacturing. MSD works with the Chamber of
Commerce in Whanganui (as well as Venture Taranaki Trust in New Plymouth) to connect
Work and Income business services to employers.
Hawera is home to the world’s largest dairy factory complex. Work and Income industry
Rise Issue 15 – June 2011
partnerships produce skilled workers to support the primary and dairy industries.
Travel north through rural Taranaki to New Plymouth, the region’s largest city. A partnership
with the healthcare sector in New Plymouth and Whanganui targets training and employment
for sole parents. In addition, the Whakatipuranga Rima Rau project aims to create 500 new
jobs for Mäori in the health and disability workforce over the next 10 years.
Across the region, MSD supports jobseekers with programmes to prepare them for work. So
far in 2011, more than 1500 people have completed these programmes. In addition, Job
Ops, Task Forces Force Green and 180 Skills Investment Subsidy have helped a further 463
clients into work.
Key facts
Population: 194,000 people, 950,600 dairy cattle, 5,456,500 sheep.
The economy is driven by agriculture, dairy and meat processing, oil and gas, forestry,
adventure and cultural tourism.
Unique attractions: Otorohanga’s Kiwi House, Taumarunui’s Raurimu Railway Spiral,
whitebait fritters in Mokau, Waitomo’s limestone caves.
Iconic events: Taranaki Rhododendron Festival, New Plymouth’s WOMAD Festival,
Taihape’s Gumboot Capital of the World Day, Ohakune’s Mountain Mardi Gras, Te
Kuiti’s Sheep Muster and Shearing Champs, Whanganui’s Master’s Games.
Four volcanic mountains rise above the region – Taranaki, Ruapehu, Tongariro and
Rise Issue 15 – June 2011
A brotherly hand
New Plymouth Work and Income case manager
KALLUM JURY-FIELD knows there are some things
you can’t talk to your mum about.
Kallum is a mentor to ten-year-old Brayden as part of
the Big Brother Big Sister programme in Taranaki.
The programme matches vulnerable young people
aged seven to 12 with adult mentors in supported
one-to-one relationships.
“Being a mentor is mostly about being a friend,
someone to hang out with, do fun things with and
someone who will just be there when you need
them,” says Kallum.
“I know from growing up on my own with my Mum,
there are some things you just don’t want to talk to
your mother about. So, like an older brother, I can
answer questions or talk about things that Brayden
might be worrying about.”
Kallum first met Brayden a year and a half ago. They
both play soccer which gave them something in common right from the start.
“We’re both sporty, active types so when we get together we’ll go for a swim, or get on our
bikes and ride around the waterfront. Just ordinary, everyday things for most families, but the
kind of thing these kids might miss out on.”
Brayden lives with his Mum and two sisters and doesn’t see his Dad very often. Kallum
meets up with Brayden for a few hours most weekends.
“For Brayden it is time on his own with someone, and he really enjoys that personal
Kallum is busy with work, sport and most recently being part of the cast of the local operatic
society’s production of 42nd Street. But he relishes the opportunity to make a difference for
someone else.
“When a friend put me on to Big Brother Big Sister, I knew it was something I wanted to be
involved in.”
“I thought about it from Brayden’s point of view, and felt that I could be a positive part of his
life. We have fun together and I’ll always be there when he needs a friend.”
Kallum has also trained as a mentor for the local Family Works Centre initiative KewlM8Z
(Cool Mates), aimed at teenagers who need additional adult support and encouragement. He
is looking forward to helping another young boy find his way in the world.
Rise Issue 15 – June 2011
Towards 500
A groundbreaking project in Taranaki aims to create
500 new jobs for Maori in the health and disability
workforce over the next 10 years, as well as
increasing Maori health and education levels.
The Whakatipuranga Rima Rau: Towards 500 –
Maori health and disability workforce project will
guide, support, mentor, fund and facilitate young
Maori through education and training and into
employment in the local health and disability sector.
Whakatipuranga Rima Rau was motivated initially by the Maori skills shortages evident in the
health industry. There is a strong link between the Maori health outcomes and culturally
appropriate services, yet at 16 per cent of Taranaki’s population, Maori are currently
underrepresented in the health sector making up only 6 per cent of the workforce.
It was launched last year by the Ministry of Social Development (MSD), the Taranaki District
Health Board and iwi organisation Te Whare Punanga Korero which represents the eight iwi
of Taranaki. It is also supported by the TSB Community Trust and Te Puni Kokiri.
Taranaki DHB Chief Executive Tony Foulkes said the collaborative partnership supports the
needs of whanau on their journey to maximum health and wellbeing. “Over the next 10 years
we aim grow the Maori health workforce, raise the level of qualifications Maori hold, and
increase Maori representation in the health professional workforce.”
In 2010, 50 Maori students from Hawera and Waitara High Schools participated in the
project’s ‘Incubator’ mentoring programme, which informs, engages and inspires young
Maori students to consider a career in health. Incubator gives students a chance to meet
health professionals, hear their stories and see first hand what working in the sector can
offer. This year, 110 year 12 and 13 students in six schools are registered in the programme.
In October last year, Whakatipuranga Rima Rau celebrated its first appointment with the
Taranaki District Health Board sponsoring the first Maori dental cadet. The cadetship was
set up due to the shortage of dental therapists in Taranaki and the need to grow dental
services that are more responsive to Mäori. The cadet will get hands-on experience in a
variety of dental health roles and will also get the opportunity to undertake further study
related to the position.
Since the beginning of the project, there have been 32 placements of Maori into the health and
disability sector. In addition, three internships have been set up in hospitals in South Taranaki to
give students work experience in the health sector, and two other placements have been
established in mental health and youth health.
MSD Regional Commissioner Gloria Campbell said Whakatipuranga Rima Rau was a huge
opportunity for Maori and the people of Taranaki, and many people hard worked hard for a
long time to launch the project.
“It is groundbreaking and it is challenging, but it is projects like this that change communities
and we are all absolutely determined that we will succeed,” she said.
Rise Issue 15 – June 2011
East Coast
Sharing strengths
The East Coast Region of Ministry of Social
Development has been strengthening grass-roots
community groups by sending staff to work with their
Work and Income staff have been working through
the Department of Internal Affairs Community
Internship Programme which funds community
groups with development needs to employ skilled
professionals for up to six months. The internships
allow skill sharing and the exchange of knowledge
between public, private and community sectors.
Napier Work and Income case manager Whetu
Pohio spent six months with the Waiapu Anglican
Social Services as an IT and systems support
Waiapu Anglican Social Services is a large provider
of social services to communities from Tauranga in the north to Woodville in the south. It has
a professional staff of over 500, assisted by 500 volunteers, delivering services to older
people, early childhood services, grief programmes for children and young people, and
family and community development services to 21,500 people every year.
“It was a great opportunity,” says Whetu. “I became the go-to IT guy across the Diocese.”
Whetu put his high-level IT skills to use for Anglican Care, setting up an IT Policy and Code
of Conduct for the Diocese, and electronic calendars for the management team. He also
formalised staff recruitment and client support relationships between Anglican Care and
Work and Income.
Getting a good fit between interns and host community groups is key. For Whetu the faithbase philosophy was something he shared on a personal level.
“The practical work of the Waiapu Diocese across the community is extensive and it was a
privilege for me in my capacity to support that day to day work.”
Meanwhile, Roberto Vignolini traded his work broker hat at the Hastings East service centre
for a planning and policy role with Riverslea Tu Tangata Trust in Hastings in 2010.
The Trust was founded over ten years ago by a local woman, Roberta Karangaroa. It
operates out of Riverslea School, providing a range of social services to the Hastings
community. The Trust particularly supports young offenders or young people disengaged
from the education system. It has provided community work placements for Department of
Corrections clients, but did not have the structure in place to apply for funding from Child,
Youth and Family. Roberto’s role was to help the Trust achieve Child, Youth and Family
accreditation by putting together a formal application.
Rise Issue 15 – June 2011
“The challenge was getting to grips with the work of the Trust to capture the essence of their
work on paper”, says Roberto.
The application was completed and lodged in December.
Two more MSD staff are currently involved in internships at Te Roopu a Iwi Trust in
Maraenui, Napier and Rongomaiwahine Trust in Mahia
Key facts
A favourable climate supports major industries of horticulture and viticulture, forestry and
agriculture and tourism.
Iconic events include: Art Deco festival, Mission Concert, Hawke’s Bay’s Horse of the
Year Show and Gisborne’s Rhythm and Vines festival.
The Rugby World Cupwill see two matches played in Napier.
Maori make up youthful population. 28 per cent of the population, double the national
One of the world’s longest place names Taumata-whakatangihanga-koauau-o-tamateaturi-pukakapiki-maunga-horo-nuku-pokai-whenua-kitanatahu is located in southern
Hawke’s Bay.
Rise Issue 15 – June 2011
Reaching out from Ruatoria
Ruatoria case manager RANGI BARTLETT is no
stranger to helping people isolated from services that
most urban dwellers take for granted.
Every week she heads out in the Work and Income
Toyota Corolla to communities in the remote areas
of Tokomaru Bay and Te Araroa, more than an
hour’s drive from the Ruatoria office where she is
So there was an odd kind of resonance when she
found herself in a Work and Income campervan in
Christchurch, one of a team bringing mobile support
to the community of Aranui where roads, power,
water and sewage had all been damaged in the
February earthquake.
Rangi says she was humbled by people’s good
spirits despite the desperate conditions many were
living in. She recalls a single mother and two young
children living in their garage: “She had built a
makeshift barbecue from bricks that had crumbled
from her house and used the oven tray to cook and boil water for her whanau.
“One guy we met said that one good thing to come out of the tragedy was that many people
had met their neighbours for the first time; barriers had been broken down, people were
pulling together and sharing a joke or some kai.
“People were so rapt to see us and so appreciative that we had come out to the suburbs to
help. I think we very quickly became a part of the community we served.”
Community is an important part of life on the East Cape for Rangi. She’s been a volunteer
firefighter for years and has also been involved with the local Radio Ngati Porou. She’s been
with Work and Income for nine years, and worked as a Heartland co-ordinator.
“I’ve been on the other side of the fence too. I was an unemployment client for a while. All
the prior experiences, all the voluntary work, has helped me be who I am today. Taking that
whakaaro down to Christchurch and being able to use Work and Income as the waka to
carry that mantle has been a privilege for me. I think just treating people as you would your
own whanau is what it’s all about.”
Rangi arrived at the Hornby Work and Income service centre to report for duty three days
after the earthquake. “It was pretty chaotic – there were out of town staff with bags piled up
in the tea room and queues of people out the door. After a half an hour someone yelled out
that they needed four people to go to the Pioneer Stadium where one of the welfare centres
had been set up. I was one of eight Work and Income staff helping people with emergency
payments for food and petrol.”
The next day Rangi was teamed with Upper Hutt case manager Jeremiah Afoa and Child,
Youth and Family social worker Jay Ikiua, and sent out to the eastern suburbs in a Work and
Rise Issue 15 – June 2011
Income campervan. The team would return to Hornby Work and Income each day after 5pm
with paper work to be completed by the processing team. They flagged cases needing
specialised attention or help from other agencies, and responded to calls for home visits.
“We didn’t have the luxury of laptops, power, water or even toilets. We just took our breaks
when we had a spare breath and made do the best we could.
“When I said I was from Ruatoria I got some strange looks. A lot of people didn’t know where
it was and when I told them they were even more amazed. I think I put Ruatoria on the map
while I was down there.”
Rise Issue 15 – June 2011
Teaming up for
Gisborne youth
At age 21, DENNIS HENRY of Gisborne weighed 130kg and was struggling to find a job
when he registered himself on a Community Max programme run by the Gisborne YMCA.
Now he is completing his fitness instructor qualification, has lost 35kg and is looking towards
a long-term career in health and fitness, or with the armed forces.
Dennis is one of many Gisborne young people who have over the past two years gained
from the Ministry of Social Development’s YMCA-run Community Max programmes for
unemployed young people, Fresh Start for at-risk youth and Breakaway school holiday
Dennis Henry joined Community Max on a community health programme.
YMCA chief executive Leigh Gibson says Dennis showed leadership potential and was
committed to improving his ability, so the YMCA offered him some work at its Kaiti Fitness
Toward the end of the Community Max Project the YMCA and work broker Rhonda Hale
supported an opportunity for Dennis to work as a Fitness Instructor’s Assistant, while gaining
fitness training industry qualifications.
“I was a bit overwhelmed but I just took it and gave it a go,” says Dennis. “The YMCA sat
with me, asked me what I wanted and how we could
work together.”
The YMCA’s Community Max programmes see participants providing sport and recreation
activities in schools and the community. Forty-nine young people have so far completed
YMCA Community Max programmes with 20 gaining full-time work and 24 involved in
community projects.
In March this year, the YMCA also began a Fresh Start programme for 30 young people
aged 14 to 17 who are not currently in school, aiming to reintegrate them into education or
The young people have a youth worker who mentors them, spends time with them and their
families as they learn life skills, improve self-esteem and explore education and employment
The programme caters for young mothers, who spend two mornings a week with their children
in YMCA childcare while they focus on practical numeracy and literacy, budgeting and
The YMCA became a MSD-funded Breakaway holiday programme provider in January 2010.
Rise Issue 15 – June 2011
In January 6,600 young people took part in activities including surfing lessons and a hip hop
programme which saw hip hop world champions Request running dance workshops and a
final concert that attracted more than 600 spectators.
Leigh Gibson says the Ministry of Social Development’s support is an integral part of
delivering the YMCA’s values, vision and mission. “Fundamentally the YMCA and MSD’s
philosophy are closely aligned. Undoubtedly sport, recreation, health and well-being are key
tools that the YMCA have to support people into education and employment this in turn
provides huge social benefits to our community and the nation,” says Leigh.
Rise Issue 15 – June 2011
Bay of Plenty
It was business as usual … plus a whole lot more as
the Ministry of Social Development’s Bay of Plenty
Region teamed up with Inland Revenue to make
sure Canterbury people got the support they needed
after the February earthquake.
On Sunday morning, 27 February, a call came
through to Bay of Plenty’s Regional Office; the
Prime Minister was to announce a package of
financial support to Canterbury people unable to
work as a result of the February earthquake. Bay of
Plenty Work and Income was tasked with helping
roll out the package for what was anticipated to be
tens of thousands of people.
By Sunday afternoon staff had been contacted,
teams established and plans put together. Desks,
chairs and phones were commandeered. Database
developers worked around the clock to develop
online application tools. Bay of Plenty Regional
Office was now ‘HQ’.
Work and Income and Inland Revenue staff came together to form the 60-strong
Earthquake Support Subsidy Exceptions Unit. Staff received a briefing, with the priority
being to process the applications quickly to ensure people had money during this stressful
Earthquake Support Subsidy applications were approved when employer and Inland
Revenue details matched and were verified. The Exceptions Unit carried out checks where
the details didn’t match, for example when a personal IRD number was mistakenly provided
instead of a business number.
“Having our Inland Revenue colleagues working alongside us was invaluable because we
could quickly validate information,” said Work and Income National Manager Strategy and
Service Development, Debbie Barrett, who oversaw the project.
The team worked long hours with paper-based systems and spreadsheets. Debbie said
daily team meetings provided clarity and focus. “We all learned a lot around managing
workflows. We had daily deadlines to meet and I’m extremely proud to say we didn’t miss
As online tools were developed, the unit established specialised teams and processing
became streamlined. A phone bank handled enquiries as well as making calls to get further
“People were so thankful that they had someone to talk to, and they knew what stage their
application was at,” Debbie said. “By phoning the person we could get what we needed,
make a decision and get the money into their bank account overnight.”
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Regional Commissioner for Social Development, Mike Bryant was impressed with the
working relationship that developed between Inland Revenue and the Ministry.
By 4 April 2011, more than 64,000 people had received assistance through the subsidy,
totalling just over $162 million in payments.
Key facts
The Bay of Plenty covers Tauranga, Opotiki, Whakatane, Rotorua, Taupo and most of
south Waikato, with 316,000 people, including 84,000 Maori.
Key industries include: forestry, kiwifruit, tourism and farming.
Job Ops has seen 1,222 opportunities offered to Bay of Plenty young people since the
programme rolled out in late 2009.
Limited Service Volunteers courses have seen 146 young people from the Bay of Plenty
graduate since February 2010.
Finding work: Since July 2010, an average of 450 people per month cancelled their
unemployment benefit to go into work.
The Rugby World Cup will see three matches played in Rotorua.
Rise Issue 15 – June 2011
Getting the job done
When his father told him it was time to get a job so
he could buy his own clothes, nine-year-old KEITH
(SKI) WISNESKY didn’t argue. He just did it. In fact,
he didn’t get one job; he got two – up at 6am
delivering newspapers and weekend work in a
market garden. In his spare time he trained in
athletics and represented North Otago in
representative schoolboy rugby.
The young Ski dreamed of being a farmer, but his
parents had other ideas. He was to be an engineer.
High school engineering studies led Ski to a long
career in the Navy, where he joined as an apprentice
electrician at 16.
The Navy took Ski on many military tours of duty.
The work ethic that had been ingrained so early in
his life never left, and when he wasn’t at sea or
overseas, Ski could be found working in a variety of
part-time jobs after work and weekends.
“I had a young family to support at that time so I did
everything from mixing racing fuel for race cars to being a dishwasher, barman and
commercial cleaner”, he laughs. Ski’s naval career spanned 22 years until as Chief
Electrician he decided it was time to move on.
Fast-forward through 20 years and management roles with Department of Labour, and New
Zealand Employment Service, you would expect most people would be ready to slow down.
Not Ski. Not only did he work full-time in demanding roles, he managed a Rotorua hotel two
nights a week for many years, was a PD Warden at weekends, and studied total immersion
Te Reo.
The dream of being a farmer never left him. “I didn’t care if it was only 10 acres and I only
owned it for 10 days – it would be a farm, and it would be mine,” he says. Ski bought his first
farm in 1993, and with it came a fourth job – farming.
Ski credits those early years for a strong work ethic and commitment to achieving his goals.
“My parents weren’t rich, but they weren’t poor either. Mum worked in the home and Dad
worked for the railways. They taught me to toil and not count the cost. In other words, don’t
count how many hours the job takes, don’t count how many dollars you might get out of it,
just count on getting the job done – and to the best of your ability.”
As Work and Income Bay of Plenty Regional Director, Ski admits he can be seen as a
workaholic. “Whatever label you put on it, it comes down to doing the hours necessary to get
the job done, whatever that job may be,” he said.
He remembers a time in the early 90s when a Ruatoria youngster ran up to him and proudly
told him his dad was working. The boy didn’t know his dad was on an Employment Service
Rise Issue 15 – June 2011
work scheme.
“He just saw Dad getting up every morning and going to work, and he wanted to be like him.
Dad was a role model. That’s why I’m still here.
“We all know people are better off working. Our staff do such an amazing job and I know
they will have their own stories about a family they helped into work. It’s such a shame when
clients don’t get to enjoy the rewards of working that I’ve had.”
Ski continues his ties with the Navy as Honorary Naval Officer and carries the rank of
Commander. He now owns three farms.
Rise Issue 15 – June 2011
Kiwi battler
In the last 10 years have been tough for WENDY WALMSLEY, but with inner strength and
lots of support she has raised two kids as a sole mum, gained qualifications, battled cancer,
got off the benefit and into a job she loves.
Back in 2001 Wendy was on a domestic purposes benefit raising two children. She knew
she needed to get some training to get ahead in life.
“I hadn’t done well at school, and I was interested in social work but without a qualification I
couldn’t get a job,” says Wendy.
Five years of study later, Wendy had completed the certificate and diploma level
qualifications and was starting on papers for a degree.
“Looking back now I have no idea how I did it, juggling life and small kids and study. I
worked part-time on the weekends as well, but life on the benefit was pretty hard.”
In August 2008, just as she was starting to get ahead, Wendy was diagnosed with Acute
Lymphoblastic Leukemia.
“I was gutted. Opportunities were starting to come up for me, I was looking for full-time work
and the kids were getting older – everything just seemed more possible.”
Again Wendy had to draw on her own strength, as well at that of her friends.
“The day I was diagnosed I made one phone call. When I got home there were 10 people
waiting in my house offering support, comfort and love.”
“For the first 10 months not a week went by that I didn’t have chemo. Through all that I just focused
on my kids. I had to get better to be a mum, and to give my kids the good life they deserved.”
With children life has to just go on.
“One time I came home after chemo and was puking in a bucket when my 12-year-old came
up to me and asked ‘what’s for dinner Mum?’”
Two years of chemotherapy finished in June last year and Wendy says her body is only just
starting to feel like it is functioning normally again.
In February she got an administration job at Briscoes which she loves.
“I thought about going back to finish my study but I didn’t want to go back on a benefit. With
Working for Families and what I earn we are doing ok.”
As you might expect Wendy says she has changed a lot over the past three years, both
physically and mentally.
“I’m not planning too far into the future, I’m just grateful to be alive every day, happy to be
Rise Issue 15 – June 2011
able to be with the people I love.”
Regional round up
Welfare and Evacuee Assistance Centres were established in
Timaru, Oamaru, Dunedin and Invercargill to support evacuees
from the Christchurch earthquake. Work and Income was one
of several support agencies at the Caroline Bay Civil Defence
Welfare Centre which assisted over 8,000 people in the first
five days. Within four weeks over 4,000 people visited Work
and Income service centres about Civil Defence payments. In
areas with no evacuee centres, Work and Income was flat out
linking people with local support agencies. The centres have
now closed, but people who need help can approach Work and
Income service centres.
Home for Life aims to provide a safe and permanent home for children in care. Social
workers across Otago and Southland have been holding sessions to inform local
communities of this initiative.
Work services: After several weeks in a sports club using
handwritten notes, the region’s labour market team is now
working from a new location at Halswell Junction. The team
has contacted 9,838 people receiving Job Loss Cover or
Unemployment Benefit to establish what job seeking support is
needed. Labour market manager Jo Aldridge says the team
has been working proactively with employers to identify staffing
needs, and match the right clients with vacancies. More than
110 people have been placed directly into work.
Limited Service Volunteer courses continued at Burnham Military Camp in spite of the
earthquake and all recruits finished their course on 13 March 2011. Six recruits interviewed
for positions with Armourguard Security, some starting the following Monday patrolling the
Christchurch CBD. Six other recruits started work experience with Mainzeal, with the
possibility of a year’s on-the-job training.
Nelson, Marlborough and West Coast
Making the most of every opportunity is the catch cry of the
labour market team throughout the Nelson, Marlborough and
West Coast region. Maintaining strong relationships with
industry employers is an essential ingredient. Knowing industry
needs ahead of time helps to prepare job seekers for a
competitive job market. Work and Income contracts training
courses in apple picking, forklift training and grape pruning so
that clients looking for employment have the skills ready when
the work arrives.
Rise Issue 15 – June 2011
A viticulture Industry Partnership with winemakers to employ and train cellar hands also got
underway this year in Marlborough.
Training courses are now in place in retail, hospitality, security, bus driving, customer service
and other tourism targeted skills as Rugby World Cup 2011 approaches
Matagi Pacifica Strategy sees the Wellington region this year
focused on reducing the disproportionate number of
unemployed Pacific Island clients. A regional team targets sites
with high numbers of Pacific clients, working intensively with
them to overcome barriers and increase their employment
opportunities. So far there has been a 17 per cent reduction in
the amount of unemployed Pacific clients.
Limited Service Volunteer (LSV) courses were very successful
in the Wellington Region during 2010, with 86 per cent of the 197 trainees now in work,
training or returned to secondary school. During the LSV programme, employers are invited
to recruit directly from the programme.
Building relationships: Regional Commissioner Louise Waaka and external stakeholders are
meeting to build relationships in a less formal way, share ideas, maximise efforts and build
greater connections.
The Ministry of Youth Development Stage Challenge 2011 is
here! June is a big month for schools in the Manawatu region
as they get ready to strut their stuff on the big stage. Stage
Challenge is a huge event involving 13 venues across the
country, 200 schools, 17,000 participants and an audience of
25,000 people. Stage Challenge is a dance, drama and design
spectacular where the students are the stars.
Getting unemployment down is the focus of the region and
continues to be the major goal for Work and Income. We are putting as much resource as
possible into securing vacancies from employers and supporting clients into employment.
“Getting unemployment down is our number one priority and will continue to be so for the
remainder of 2011,” says Regional Commissioner Penny Rounthwaite.
East Coast
Supporting Canterbury, East Coast staff from Work and
Income and Child, Youth and Family have been travelling
south to relieve their Christchurch colleagues in service
centres, welfare centres and recovery assistance centres.
Napier Work and Income processed over 700 Christchurch
benefit transactions.
Flaxmere Family Festival was celebrated on 12 March 2011.
Ministry staff teamed up with Inland Revenue to promote
Working for Families and SKIP information for parents and families. In May Work and
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Income and Child, Youth and Family took part in the Hawke’s Bay Today Careers expo
profiling the vital work of case managers and social workers in the community, and LSV.
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Family and Community Services has been meeting with communities through Community
Response Forums. Information gathered from the forums will be used to prepare a
Community Funding Plan for the region.
Sussed: StudyLink has recently launched the Sussed
programme of interactive sessions at secondary schools
designed to ensure students are financially prepared for
tertiary study.
Hundreds of young people gathered at Auckland University
from 16 to 18 Ap ril for Youth Declaration 2011. This year’s
Youth Declaration gathered young people’s views on 12 New
Zealand public policies and can be viewed at
Youth Week 2011 was huge with hundreds of events held around the country to celebrate
young people and their contribution to our communities.
Child, Youth and Family has been building and maintaining relationships with schools,
supported by the new Working Together Interagency Guide to help communities and
organisations work together to protect children.
Bay of Plenty
Young people from the Aotearoa Youth Voices Participation
Network met in Rotorua to assess Central North Island Taiohi
4 Youth funding applications. The fund supports youth initiated
events and projects which will benefit young people and their
A joined-up team of 45 staff from Work and Income and Inland
Revenue has been working in the Ministry of Social
Development Bay of Plenty Regional Office supporting the
Canterbury region with Earthquake Support Subsidy payments. Since the earthquake more
than 50,000 people have been supported with payments.
Whakatane Mayor Tony Bonne hosted a morning tea to celebrate the success of four young
people who had recently graduated from Limited Services Volunteer course at Burnham
Military Camp.
Taranaki, King Country and Whanganui
Connecting the right employers with the right jobseekers to
create quality jobs is the aim of Taranaki, King Country and
Whanganui Region’s newly created partnerships with
Whanganui Chamber of Commerce and Venture Taranaki
More than 1,500 clients have attended work preparation
programmes through Contracted Services and are now better
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positioned to meet the demands of our labour market.
Recent graduates from a security industry-based programme held in Whanganui are finding
work and some are taking up opportunities created by the Rugby World Cup event.
Staff from Taranaki, King Country and Whanganui Region are volunteering to work
alongside their Christchurch colleagues as part of the earthquake recovery effort.
The Kaitaia Mäori Social Services Provider Collective launched
an intensive whänau violence prevention social marketing
campaign following significant progress made by Kaitaia
Everyday Communities Hugs not Thugs campaign. Elements
of the new campaign include It’s not OK signage on the back of
Kaitaia community buses, which provides a visible way of
relaying violence prevention messaging throughout the Far
A radio campaign aimed at helping Northland employers find the right staff faster was launched in
April by Work and Income. With over 3,000 jobseekers ready to be connected to work, Northland
Job Connect focuses on raising greater awareness of the free services Work and Income offers
to employers. The campaign is broadcast across six Mediaworks Radio stations including
MOREFM, MaiFM, Live, The Edge, The Rock and Bay of Islands MOREFM.
Work Choice Day saw Work and Income and Child, Youth and
Family teaming up with four Waikato secondary schools to share
information with students on job searching and preparing for a
job interview. Students were also given an introduction to some
of the careers available in the Ministry of Social Development,
including social work, case management and work brokerage.
Career Paths Waikato Expo 2011 saw Work and Income taking
part in the two-day event to advise students, parents, jobseekers
and career planners of all ages about career, employment and training opportunities.
Supporting Canterbury, Waikato Work and Income staff took part in a joint Ministry of Social
Development and Inland Revenue team in Rotorua processing the Earthquake Support
Subsidy and Job Loss Subsidy to Christchurch employers.
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Tips and links
Rise online
Download past issues of Rise
from the Ministry of Social Development website. Highlights
include interviews with iconic Kiwi entertainers the Topp twins,
actor Oscar Kightley, adventurer Graeme Dingle and rower Rob Hamill.
Home for Life
Learn more about offering a Home for Life to a child who cannot live with their own parents.
Literacy Aotearoa
Learn more about Literacy Aotearoa’s free literacy and numeracy help for learners
throughout the country.
Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand
Find information, research and support for mental health.
Ryushuryu Karate
Learn more about karate for youth in Kamo, Northland.
Prime Minister’s Youth Programme
Learn more about the Prime Minister’s Youth Programme for young people 14 to 17 years
old who have overcome adversity and made positive life changes.
Turning Point Trust
Learn more about mental health support and career development at Turning Point Trust in
Fresh Start
Learn more about the range of Fresh Start programmes and initiatives, including Militarystyle Activity Camps, focused on getting young offenders back on track.
Rise Issue 15 – June 2011
Mainstream Employment Programme
Learn more about the Mainstream package of subsidies, training, and support to help people
with significant disabilities get into work.
Regional plans
Learn more about what the Ministry of Social Development is doing throughout New
Rise Issue 15 – June 2011
My thanks and congratulations for such an awesome story (“Outer Clothing, Inner Journey”,
September 2010) and for sharing it with the nation.
My mahi is counselling, and a large proportion of my work is with women who have been
sexually abused as children.
I am sharing this article with every woman I work with, and finding it very useful in inspiring
and giving hope, especially for women who are at the beginning of their journey into
The photos are beautiful, and Delwyn Harvey’s story is inspiring.
Thank you so much Delwyn, for this taonga that you have shared with us.
Elizabeth Florance
Family Works Counsellor, East Coast
Contact Rise
Rise welcomes your feedback, suggestions and story ideas. To contact Rise, or to be added
to the Rise mailing list, please email
Rise Issue 15 – June 2011