Volunteers honoured

Volunteers honoured

Hard-working volunteers from around the country have been honoured at the Neighbourhood Support New Zealand 2018 AGM, Awards and Forum.

More than 30 members, Police staff, partners and community supporters attended the event at the West Plaza Hotel in Wellington.

At the AGM, Louise Grevel of Neighbourhood Support Waitakere was voted in as their new Chair.

Then followed the Awards Ceremony hosted by outgoing NSNZ Chair Sharla Arnold, alongside Inspector Paula Holt of the National Prevention Centre who presented the awards.

The latter part of the day comprised round-table discussions based around the topics of the development of Junior Neighbourhood Support; community resilience around a pandemic, hosted by Felicity McLeod of the Ministry of Health; and marketing and resources.

“It was great to be able to acknowledge the fantastic contribution that members of our communities are making to help people be safe and feels safe,” says Paula.

“There were some excellent examples of innovation and the way volunteer organisations can harness the diverse skills of community members.

“It’s about collaborative working - not just with Police but in the way NSNZ and other organisations can connect all parts of our communities.”

NSNZ Communications Advisor Alivia Prattas says the day was a great success.

“Overall, it was a fantastic way to celebrate NSNZ’s successes as a national network and discuss how the organisation can continue to evolve and adapt to better meet their members' and communities' needs,” says Alivia. 


And the winners were...

Coordinator of the Year - Christine Christie (Western Bay of Plenty)

  • Christine has been a volunteer coordinator with WBOP Neighbourhood Support for about eight years. She built membership in Otumoetai, Tauranga, early on, but her work in the suburb of Matua over the past three years has impressed the most.
  • Matua – population 2,113 households – has seen household membership rise from 6 percent to 31 percent since Christine started canvassing the area. She says she is on target to have an NS group in every street in Matua by the end of 2018.
  • Christine has been an amazing advocate for Neighbourhood Support, with her chief engagement tool being simply chatting with neighbours. She walks and cycles, allowing her to meet her neighbours and encourage them to be good neighbours through involvement in NS.

Volunteer of the Year - Luke Ryan-Henderson (South Taranaki)

  • At the age of seven, Luke and his twin brother were informed that they would be legally blind by the time the age of 15. Luke has not allowed this disability to define him or determine his future. He has become an IT wizard and is employed part-time at the local high school to help with IT and mentor students. He became involved with South Taranaki Neighbourhood Support (STNS) in its early planning stages, about six months before launch.
  • He is now STNS Area Coordinator Wendy Foreman’s right-hand man on computer issues. He is only a phone call away, can access Wendy’s computer from his home so can assist remotely as needed. He has been instrumental in maintaining and upgrading the system the group uses on an old gifted computer.
  • Luke set up and monitors the STNS Facebook page, responding to comments and posting information about anything from events to weather warnings, safety issues, and criminal offending in the area. Luke is also a passionate ambassador for Neighbourhood Support and promotes the group at every opportunity.

Project of the Year - Auckland Storm Response (Waitakere)

  • After a severe storm that hit West Auckland on the night of April 10, causing widespread flooding and property damage and leaving local communities without phone, power and hot water for up to two weeks, the community came together to help each other via Neighbourhood Support.
  • Both Area Coordinators were on annual leave, but both jumped back into action, working locally to support communities with vital information and liaison between emergency services where assistance was needed.
  • The storm brought many positive learnings including the need for more reliable communications during emergency situations. The group has also upgraded its database to include an ‘over 65’ classification, alongside existing notes on medical and physical disabilities, to better support vulnerable community members.
  • With funding support, the group has bought sandwich board signs which can be quickly and strategically updated and installed when communications are down, or in isolated communities. Coordinators have actively engaged local communities with a survey and were encouraged to find NS members were among the first responders after the event – checking on neighbours and supporting each other.

Partner of the Year - Fire and Emergency NZ, Andrew Cotter (South Taranaki)

  • When Neighbourhood Support launched in Hawera in 2016, Wendy Foreman (Area Coordinator for NS South Taranaki) asked FENZ fire safety officer Andrew Cotter for support. Andrew dived in and took part in five Safety Days, managing communications for the day as MC and coordinating with a host of area partners.
  • He also performed demonstrations with the Fire Kitchen showing everyone how to be safe in their kitchen and organised for a fire rescue demonstration involving rescuing a driver from crashed car.
  • Working alongside partners on the Safety & Wellbeing Committee, Andrew has assisted in the generation of a new online smoke alarm referral form, has organised electric blanket testing at Whanganui Fire Station, and organised for the Whanganui East Community Police Station to be a drop-off and pickup points.
  • When Junior Neighbourhood Support was launched in schools in South Taranaki, Andrew was dedicated to helping the cause. He has attended JNS award ceremonies in schools, helping present certificates.
  • Andrew goes above and beyond because he believes in helping to create safer communities for all and has always made himself easily available. He is passionate about his work and even on the toughest days, always wears a smile.

Champion of the Year - Tua Browne and the Orion Street Neighbourhood Support Group in Papakura

  • Orion Street Neighbourhood Support was established by concerned residents who were seeing their road become a magnet for antisocial behaviour. The group has been working together for three years, using initiatives promoted by NSNZ, and the area has seen a marked reduction in crime.
  • Police statistics show that in the first two years, crime in the area fell by a third. As the group continues to grow and implement further prevention initiatives, it is on target to see further reductions.
  • Locals now regularly communicate via Facebook and in person, creating a strong sense of community among neighbours who are now proud to live in the area.
  • The group is reaching out to surrounding streets to help establish more NS groups and create a wider support network.

District representatives accepted awards on behalf of winners who were unable to attend.