"The thing I’m most proud of is the support and work we did over the next few weeks after the trauma."
Fatal House Fire
“We had this nasty house fire – a laptop charging. The mother was killed and two kids in hospital. At the scene we supported the dad and neighbours who had tried to get the mum out but couldn’t. The thing I’m most proud of is the work we did over the next few weeks. We supported the dad whose life had been turned upside down. We gave him lots of information and linked him into a community group who had clothing to donate to the family. We talked with his work colleagues about what they could do and we linked in with the school.”
Christchurch Earthquake Refugees
A young couple arrived in Napier two days after the big earthquake. Really stressed. They had come to live with her mum. They lived right in the centre of Christchurch, their workplace had been destroyed so they had no work, nowhere to live and the guy had been injured. They had a young baby. Their mum’s home was really small – I think there were 7 people in a two bedroom flat. They had tried to get their mortgage repayment insurance to cover their loan and for some reason had been turned down. We had two support workers helping them. They helped them deal with the bank in Napier and worked with Housing NZ and private landlords to get them a place to stay. We managed to get them a rental for 6 months and the landlord agreed to give them a rent discount of over $50 a week. We helped them deal with WINZ and got the benefits working.
We had a few earthquakes up here over this time so they were still pretty nervous.
They came into the office 5 weeks ago and were looking great. He’d found a job and they had plans to move to Australia.”
“We’d had three drownings in the river over the last 13 months – all people from out of town who don’t realise how dangerous it is. We’d been involved in supporting family after all three deaths. All young people including an Irish tourist. That meant I had seen firsthand the terrible impact on families.
I advocated with the Chief Coroner to look at the trend and also the Council. I wanted something done to prevent more drownings. I got pretty involved and talked to anyone who would listen! Eventually the coroner did look at the cases – they even asked us to contact the family in Ireland and get their comments which we did. We supported the two other families at the coronial hearing. It was great when the Council agreed to put up some warning signs. People were saying ‘if only we’d known it might have changed things’.”
“We were working with a tourist whose partner had been killed. There were language issues and heaps of different people involved. We became the go between with the victim and all the agencies – hospital, police, inquest officer, funeral director, consulate, mortuary. It was like we were the one constant – a friendly face in the middle of the storm.”