The 2018 Minister of Health Volunteer Awards were presented on 18 June, during National Volunteer Week, at the Grand Hall Parliament.
Health Volunteer of the Year
Kim Gosman has been doing voluntary work in the health sector since 1974, initially in Porirua and then in Turangi. Over that time she has been a strong advocate and voice of the health and wellbeing of people within her community, at both a governance and clinical level.
Originally from a nursing background, her voluntary work has included maternity services, marae-based ear health clinics, and extended and improved development of a wide range of health services. She is described by Lakes District Health Board as being a champion of improving Māori health outcomes and reducing inequalities.
Health Care Provider Service Team Volunteers
Winner – Servants Health Centre Volunteers
Dunedin’s Servants Health Centre Volunteers provides free healthcare to low income people and those who don’t normally access health services. Servants has 45 volunteers including doctors, nurses, counsellors and support staff who together volunteer over 3,800 hours a year. Last year they introduced a new volunteer role – Patient Alongsider Advocate – to help people connect with other social service agencies in New Zealand and improve their overall wellbeing.
Runner-up – Waitemata District Health Board Volunteer Team
The team of volunteers who help to make the patient experience at North Shore and Waitakere hospitals a better one has grown from small beginnings in 1972 to more than 300 volunteers. They provide a full range of volunteering services, including meet and greet, chaplaincy, garment knitting, providing hot drinks and reading material, conducting patient experience surveys and identifying process improvements, shop management and fundraising. This helps support the Waitemata District Health Board philosophy of “Best Care for Everyone”.
Runner-up – Nelson Hospital Buggy Service
This was the brainchild of Kathy Cuthbert who noticed the struggles of the unwell and elderly who had to navigate Nelson Hospital’s hillside carpark. She got together with some like-minded people and they raised funds to buy a golf buggy and drew up a roster of willing volunteer drivers.
Since 2006 the Shuttle Buggy Service has been running eight hours a day, five days a week, in all weathers. It’s racked up nearly 25,000 buggy hours and in 2017 alone around 7,500 passengers travel on the buggy.
Health Care Provider Service Individual Winners
Winner – Darren Best
Darren began volunteering at Ashwood Park Retirement Village in Blenheim after a medical condition limited his working capacity. He provided assistance to Ashwood’s Diversional Therapists undertaking Diversional Therapy training.
As a fully qualified Diversional Therapist he provides assistance in the secure dementia unit, hospital and resthome, and takes residents on outings and playing bowls. As the only male Diversional Therapist at Ashwood, his contribution is especially valued by both the staff and residents.
Runner-up – Shubra Shrotriya
Shubra has donated nearly 500 hours of volunteering during the past 18 months, using his IT skills to train the 190 volunteers at Auckland DHB to use new software for recruiting and rostering volunteers, data management, reporting and communication. Many of these volunteers were not computer-literate and Shubhra invested a great deal of time and energy into encouraging and training them to adopt the new system.
Runner-up – Trevor Anderson
Trevor is a Blue Coat, the team of volunteers that help patients and visitors to find their way around Auckland City Hospital as well as Greenlane Clinical Centre. But it’s his piano playing that is literally music to the ears of those around him. Twice a week he brings his own piano in and people regularly join in for a sing-along. This brings a lot of pleasure to patients, visitors and staff and he is often nominated for an Auckland District Health Board Local Hero Award.
Community or NGO Health Service Team Awards
Joint winner – Te Aroha Community Transport Service
Te Aroha Community Transport Service is the largest Red Cross community transport service in the Waikato/ Bay of Plenty region. The service has three vehicles that are on the road every day of the year, providing a vital community service to residents in Te Aroha and surrounding areas and helping to reduce the number of people who are unable to make it to their appointments.
This may mean an hour’s drive to get to the hospital and many are isolated, elderly, living alone, or unable to meet the financial cost. The volunteers are more than drivers, they provide a human touchpoint and often act as buddies for those people who are socially or geographically isolated. The service has been going since 1993 and is served by 20 volunteers.
Joint winner – IHC Volunteering Programme
Since 2006 the IHC Volunteering Programme has been matching people with intellectual disabilities with a volunteer friend in the community. They spend time together doing things such as taking the dog for a walk, going to a café, or a trip away.
This leads to shared friendships that often last over time and bring a great deal of pleasure to programme participants. Volunteers’ ages range from 17 to 84.
Community or NGO Health Service Individual Awards
Winner – Irene Pringle
Irene, who knows first-hand the loneliness people who care for their loved ones often experience, has been volunteering with Alzheimers Manawatu for five years. Together with Alzheimers Manawatu she set up the first memory café in Manawatu early in 2017 and continues to manage it. Memory Café is a connection for those people whose partners have moved into residential care or who have passed away.
Runner-up – Janice Sherborne
Janice began volunteering for the South Canterbury Stroke Club in 2002 after her husband died. Every Friday, with the exception of school holidays, she leads an exercise and swimming programme, which makes a huge difference to people’s mobility, strength, general health and overall confidence.
Māori Health Volunteer Team Award
Winner – Ka Pai Kai Rotorua Charitable Trust
Ka Pai Kai Rotorua Charitable Trust is a new school lunch service in Rotorua that is working to make healthy food affordable and easy. The volunteers currently feed seven low decile schools and Kura Kaupapa Māori in high deprivation areas with the lunches at cost, so healthy food is more affordable.
Parents are grateful for a healthier, affordable option and schools are reporting an increase in learning outcomes, attendance and behaviour. Ka Pai Kai Rotorua also operates a supportive training kitchen for volunteer to learn about food nutrition, catering, food hygiene and budget control.
Māori Health Volunteer Individual Awards
Winner – Kim Gosman
Kim has been doing voluntary work in the health sector since 1974, initially in Porirua and then in Turangi. During that time she has been a strong advocate and voice of the health and wellbeing of people within her community, at both a governance and clinical level.
Kim is also Health Volunteer of the Year for 2018.
Runner-up – Mac Renata
Mac has health issues that affect his breathing. After completing a Better Breathing Pulmonary Rehabilitation Programme in 2014 he joined the Canterbury Respiratory Consumer Working Group and now uses his experience to help others. He introduced the Canterbury Better Breathing Pulmonary Rehabilitation Programme to Rehua Marae, a community marae in central Christchurch. He often leads breathing exercise programmes, inputs into the development of resources, and has improved access to the Better Breathing Programme for Māori.
Runner-up – Jean Te Huia
Jean, a Māori midwife LMC with 25 years’ experience, identified a need to support this workforce, the students who study it, and in general raise knowledge of culturally acceptable maternity care for Māori birthing women. Four years ago she cut back on her own work and income to become the volunteer CEO for Nga Maia o Aotearoa Māori Midwives. Since then Nga Maia Māori midwifery members have grown from 15 to 310 members. Jean has almost single-handedly managed all the organisational activities associated with Nga Maia Māori, liaised with New Zealand’s four midwifery schools and ensured support for Māori midwifery students to maximise their learning potential and succeed in their training.
Pacific Health Volunteer Team Award
Winner – Tangata Toa volunteers
Tangata Toa is a group of volunteers who present their stories and support people in a range of settings to understand how it is to have lived experience of a mental health and addiction disorder.
The nomination for this award comes from the Coordinator Health and Wellbeing Mental Health and Addiction Support at Whitireia New Zealand, a tertiary institute in Porirua. Whitireia has seen first-hand the benefits the Tangata Toa volunteers bring to the classroom, whether it’s helping students studying health courses to better understand mental health and addiction from a personal viewpoint, or assisting Pacific students who are struggling with their studies and helping them to succeed.
Pacific Health Volunteer Individual Awards
Winner – Sonya Apa Temata
Pacific nurse Sonya Apa Temata has been doing exceptional work to improve health outcomes for Pacific patients and their families, both here and in the Pacific. As a volunteer she is able to call on her nursing background, which includes cardio-thoracic surgery, district nursing, sexual health and adult sexual assault services. As well as being a proactive member of a number of boards and advisory groups, she volunteers in our communities and universities to ensure a Pacific perspective is reflected in the delivery of our health services.
This year she has volunteered as part of the Fiji of Friends Foundation Cardiac Missionary team in Samoa and Fiji, and in the Cook Islands. She also gives a lot of her time to the LGQTBI Rainbow space for Takataapui, Pasifika Rainbow.
Runner-up – Elisapeta Pivac
Elisapeta has been volunteering at her church community in Auckland for many years. In the past eight years she has focussed on encouraging people to be healthy with exercise and healthy eating. This includes delivering health information, taking measurements and participating in exercise and healthy cooking sessions. She is also involved in providing food, blankets and shelter for the region’s homeless. And she does all this despite having debilitating arthritis.
Runner-up – Asenati Rowell
Asenati is a traditional massage therapist from Samoa who has been offering this service as a volunteer to Pacific people living in Waikato each week since 1999. She has helped many people with her traditional massage therapies, including people suffering from chronic pain due to mobility issues, headaches, stress, tension and nausea, as well as mothers during pregnancy.
Youth Health Volunteer Team Award
Winner – Youth Advisory Group, Skylight Trust
Skylight Trust is the national not-for-profit trust that enables children, young people, their families/whānau, and friends to navigate through times of trauma, loss, and grief by building resilience. Skylight is building the Resilience Hub, a three-year project to develop online content that will provide easily accessible rich digital online content and services. This has only been possible due to the ongoing support of these volunteers. The Youth Advisory Group is responsible for guiding the look and feel of the Hub from a youth perspective.
Youth Health Volunteer Individual Awards
Winner – Dr Assil Russell
Specialist Dental Surgeon, Dr Assil Russell is the Clinical Director and volunteer specialist in New Zealand’s dental charity for at-need Kiwis – Revive a Smile. Since 2011 Dr Assil and her team of dentists have provided free dental treatment to tens of thousands of adults in cities across New Zealand who would not otherwise have access to care. People helped include the homeless, victims of domestic abuse, the elderly and refugees.
The charity also runs oral health education seminars in low socio-economic communities and distributes free health packs full of tooth paste, floss and mouthwash. Dr Assil’s work has helped 15 people back into employment and more than 30 of her patients say she was instrumental in helping them stop smoking.
Runner-up – Samuel Wat
Recreate New Zealand is the charitable trust that supports families who have a child with a disability by providing outdoor adventure, social development and respite programmes. Samuel has been volunteering with Recreate for three years now, taking part in the various programmes and being a positive role model for other young people.
Runner-up – Amelia King
Young adults with intellectual disabilities taking part in Recreate New Zealand programmes have benefitted from Amelia’s leadership, as do staff, who say the tasks she carries out are well beyond what they would expect from a volunteer. They appreciate her use of initiative, independent approach and ‘can do’ attitude.
Long Service Awards
Winner – Marjorie White
Marjorie has been a member of the Friends of Darfield Hospital charitable trust since 1984. The trust was established to support the local hospital and especially the patients. The trust has provided extra equipment and items for the hospital which promote the care, comfort and treatment of the patients.
Marjorie has also been the group’s historian throughout the 34 years, collating memorabilia going back to the opening of Darfield Hospital 90 years ago. She visits patients in her spare time.
Runner-up – Kevin Sweeney
Kevin, assisted by his wife Margaret, has volunteered his time and service for 15 years to help ensure women throughout the Midland area get access to breast screening. Kevin hauls the mobile breast screening unit to more than 20 sites within the Waikato, Bay of Plenty and Lakes District Health Board catchments. He tests the units for safety and access, and monitors the alarm system, and is always available in emergencies.
Runner-up – Pam Mitchell
Pam is a Clinical Nurse Consultant who has been an active member of the New Zealand Wound Care Society for over 19 years, at times holding executive positions. She has represented the New Zealand Wound Care Society nationally and internationally and is a recognised leader in pressure injuries. She has been involved with national initiatives to improve clinical outcomes across New Zealand, collaborating with ACC, the Ministry of Health and the Health Quality and Safety Commission. She is also on the organising committee for the New Zealand Stop Pressure Injury Day.