After 50 years of nursing, Helen Cohen is named the New Zealand Nurse of the Year 2020 by Geneva Staffing.
"It's still my passion even after all these years. I go home with my hand on heart knowing that I've done the best I can do. I love making a difference," says Helen.
The inaugural award by Geneva Staffing, New Zealand's trusted experts in Temporary and Permanent Health staffing, recognises the dedication of nurses and midwives across the country during this challenging year. The award also commemorates the 200th birth year of Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing, and the World Health Organisation's International Year of the Nurse and the Midwife.
Over her extensive 50-year career, Helen has supported countless people from all walks of life.
"It's not all about putting on bandages or taking blood pressure, it's about listening and understanding people. Everybody is different," says Helen.
Helen has been Care Services Manager at Metlifecare's Hillsborough Heights Village for the past 5 years. Her colleagues secretly nominated her for the award, so it was a complete surprise to Helen when she was announced as the winner.
Metlifecare Clinical Director, Tanya Bish, says "We are proud and fortunate to work with many amazing nurses. While Helen is no exception, I would describe her as exceptional. As we grapple with adapting to the new normal, nurses like Helen have continued to be there for not only our residents but also her nursing colleagues. Even I've been a recipient of her kindness."
Helen's winning nomination, which was selected by a panel of industry judges, read,
"For Helen, nursing is about ensuring everyone's voice is heard, no matter what. She would say she's just doing her job. My words only scratch the surface of what she brings to this village, the residents, their families, the professionals associated with us, and staff."
Chief Executive of Geneva Healthcare, Veronica Manion, also offered her congratulations to Helen.
"She has had a profound impact on everyone whose lives she touches, not only because of her work but the immeasurable care she puts behind it. I started my career as a nurse, so I've experienced first-hand the extraordinary effort Nurses and Midwives give to their jobs."
As part of the award, Helen also won an Air New Zealand Deluxe Mystery Break for two people, including return travel with Air New Zealand, a rental car waiting for them at the airport, and 4- or 5-star accommodation.
Helen offers her advice to aspiring nurses - "Be an active listener and never stop learning. We never know what's happening in other people's lives, so see what difference you can make and make that the best journey it can be," says Helen.
Cambridge International Law Syllabus now offered
Farhanah Jeewa had a somewhat atypical journey to becoming a teacher. Her first degree was in law, followed by a legal practice course, but she didn’t have a clear career path after leaving university. She decided to give teaching a go, earned a Diploma in Education, and taught for four years before moving to New Zealand three years ago and joining the Avondale College faculty.
She said: “I teach Cambridge International Mathematics and Law. Avondale College is the first school in New Zealand to be offering Cambridge International AS & A Level Law this year. It’s one of the new specialised syllabuses from Cambridge which is ideal for students who have an interest in reading Law at university. We study the English legal system, which is similar to the New Zealand system. The students are enjoying it, and they've learned a lot.
“The inspiration for law came from my personal legal background. I felt I could give the students more than just maths, a love for law as well, so that’s why we’ve introduced it. Students were initially curious to see what the Law subject provided and soon realised that they would be learning about the fundamental aspects of our legal system – how laws are made, how they are interpreted and how they are adapted.
“I think the most enjoyable part of the syllabus is learning about barristers and solicitors and the qualifications and training needed to go into the legal profession. Students absolutely love the mock trial in class. This is where everyone takes part in a mock trial. There is a judge, witnesses, lawyers for both the defence and prosecution, clerk, usher, jury, and a defendant. We complete two different trials and students get to see the role of each person within the legal system. It is an enjoyable experience to see them become much more confident in the second trial.
“After I did my law degree, I found a teaching job and did a subject enhancement course in maths for a year and then my teaching degree. Maths is very method-based and requires logical thinking, which is similar to law. Contract law, for example, is methodical, with processes you have to follow, much like maths.
“One of my students, Julie, received a Cambridge Top in World award for mathematics, which is a lovely achievement. She was only 16, so to get 100 in both papers was amazing. She is a very talented girl, and with students like that, who are very driven - I just direct them, but it’s different styles for different students -you just know what they need and cater for that.”
Blockhouse Bay will lose its last bank when the ASB Bank branch closes in February 2021. The earlier closure of Westpac and ANZ led to the loss of some foot traffic in the village as people from further west no longer stopped to do their banking, according to one retailer.
ASB is set to close 23 branches nationwide, with a further 13 branches permanently moving to reduced hours. The branches will close in February.
The ASB branches set to close by February are Paihia, Whangaparaoa, Devonport, Birkenhead, Browns Bay, Greenlane, Howick, Constellation Drive, St Heliers, Wyndham, Lincoln Rd, Dominion RD, Manurewa, Blockhouse Bay, Cameron Rd, Morrinsville, Havelock North, Taradale, Terrace End, Kilbirnie, Johnsonville, Ferrymead and Queenstown.
ASB’s executive general manager Retail Banking, Craig Sims, said the pandemic had accelerated a customer behaviour trend that was already well under way. More than 60,000 ASB customers used the bank’s digital and online banking services for the first time this year, he said.
Age Concern chief executive Stephanie Clare said she had discussed with ASB the impact the closures would a have on older communities. “Banks want to help their customers, so ASB has set up systems to support their senior customers,” Clare said.
Having access to bank services was important for communities, she said. “There are many barriers to online banking, including not understanding what online banking is and being able to navigate the online banking websites. The other is, of course, the huge digital divide. If you don’t have access to devices and the internet, that will be a barrier to having a way to managing your money.”
Two major long-term scientific studies have chosen the Whau River as a research site in work underway to help better understand the risk to our waterways posed by microplastics and contaminants.
The studies, involving organisations and leading specialists in this field, are also aiming to get the community, industry and policymakers working together on solutions.
Jamie Ataria from Cawthron Institute, and Grant Northcott from Northcott Research Consultants, spoke about the studies at EcoHub’s November Market Day event.
“It was great to have these leading scientists with us to explain more about these studies so we can better understand the impacts of our activities and behaviours on the health of Te Wai Whau (the Whau River), ” says Damon Birchfield, EcoMatters Environment Trust CEO.
“We see this as an amazing opportunity to work with both scientists and our local community to care for and improve the health of our local awa.”
One of the studies looks at the effects of emerging organic contaminants (EOCs), which are natural or manufactured chemicals often found in common household and personal care products, medicines, and agrichemicals.
It aims to identify which EOCs are most prevalent in our waterways and the risks these pose to both human health and the health of ecosystems. Their potential for accumulation in food and the role EOCs play in the development of antimicrobial resistance will also be investigated.
The other study is part of a national research programme to investigate the threat microplastics (pieces of plastic less than 5mm in size) pose to New Zealand’s ecosystems, animals, and people.
This project selected two geographically distinct case study sites, with different human impacts and potential microplastic sources. One site is in the Nelson-Tasman area, representing a mountain-to-sea study site.
The other site, the Whau River, has been chosen as an example of a metropolitan urban site, with a catchment that includes urban and industrial areas, reflecting a range of inputs such as urban stormwater and litter, commercial/industrial site runoff and combined sewage overflows.
Learn more about the Emerging Organic Contaminants study on the Cawthron Institute website here.
Learn more about the Aotearoa Impacts and Mitigations of Microplastics study on the Environmental Scientific Research website here.
EcoHub Market Day a Huge Success
Hundreds of people headed to the EcoMatters Environment Trust in Olympic Park, for the EcoHub Market Day during November 2020.
The sun shone as visitors browsed stalls, attended free workshops and enjoyed the whānau-friendly activities, all focused on supporting our community to restore nature, reduce waste, ride and fix bikes, grow food and live more sustainably.
Many visitors took the opportunity to buy eco-friendly products, rescued resources and pre-loved bikes, with all proceeds going back into helping EcoMatters continue its work.
Highlights included a talk from Robin Taua-Gordon, Heritage and Environment Officer from Te Kawerau a Maki, exploring the local iwi’s history and connections to the Whau River. There were also leading scientists from two long-term scientific studies into the effects of contaminants and microplastics on the health of the Whau River.
Thanks to The Trusts Community Foundation and Whau Local Board for supporting the event. Find out more about EcoMatters at ecomatters.org.nz
Some highlights below: (Photos: EcoMatters Environment Trust)
Auckland Mayor Phil Goff and Olympian Eliza McCartney have officially opened Ryman Healthcare’s Murray Halberg village in Lynfield.
More than 200 residents and guests celebrated the opening of the $120 million village on Commodore Drive, with Eliza and Mayor Goff helping to officially hand over the village to its new residents.
Mayor Goff is a former Lynfield resident and said residents had made a great choice to move to Murray Halberg.
“It’s a great place, it’s a community and not just a home, a place you can be safe, it’s a place with great facilities.
“Lynfield is a really great little community and we are really proud that this village is here, and that you as residents are enhancing this place. I want to compliment Ryman for the fantastic job that you do… I have a number of friends moving in and I think you have made a great choice.’’
Ryman Healthcare Chief Executive Gordon MacLeod thanked all of the designers, builders, consultants and sub-contractors who had worked on the village.
He also thanked all the residents who had chosen to move in – including a number of the village’s neighbours from nearby Tropicana Drive and Commodore Drive.
“I want to thank you all for putting your faith in us,’’ Gordon said.
“Our aim is to make this village a place of fun, of compassion and a wonderful place to call home. I know, from the warm sense of community we’ve all seen here tonight, that we are off to a flying start at Murray Halberg.’’
Eliza McCartney paid tribute to Sir Murray Halberg, who she said was a great icon for all Kiwi athletes.
Sir Murray, who won a gold medal in the 5000m at the Rome Olympics, used his fame to set up the Halberg Foundation.
His aim was to ensure that sport was inclusive for all Kiwi children, including those with physical disabilities.
“Sir Murray’s selfless dedication to the foundation which has been so honourable and his won him a place in our hearts,’’ Eliza said.
“He and his legacy will be ever present in New Zealand sport.’’
Murray Halberg Retirement Village includes independent and serviced apartments. Other amenities include a café, bowling green, indoor swimming pool, library, gymnasium, movie theatre and a hair and beauty salon.
Ryman Healthcare’s villages are built on an integrated care model with rest home, hospital and dementia-level care. This means that residents moving in can be assured they will be cared for if their health needs change in the future.
Blockhouse Bay has a new site in the growing network of Pātaka Kai (food storehouse or community pantry). The Open Street Pantry Movement is a resident-led, grassroots, crowd-sourced solution to immediate and local need, rescuing food and encouraging co-sharing between neighbours to strengthen communities. The motto is to “Take what you need and leave what you can.”
The new Pātaka Kai is sited at Chaucer School’s Falkirk Street entrance. The Chaucer School pantry has come about thanks to the strong advocacy of 2019 students and the project has been pushed forward this year by senior school leader Suraya Esau and current Year 5/6 students. It was recently opened by principal Michael Fletcher during the annual Cultural Day, so the students were dressed vibrantly in their traditional clothing. Dean Rose was a special guest, recognised for volunteering his building skills to the project. Wera Kaho represented Bunnings who had donated the materials.
Initially, it has been stocked with donations from the students. As time goes on it is hoped that there will be wider community participation, including donations from locals’ gardens and fruit trees.
The Cultural Day was organised with lots of input from the students. In the hall, tables were set up to represent the different nationalities and cultures at the school including Samoa, Afghanistan, Niue, Pakistan, China, Japan, SE Asia, NZ, Maori, Rarotonga, South Africa, Ethiopia, and Tonga. These were run by the students, dressed in traditional costume, who explained to other students the unique aspects of their culture and shared typical food dishes. Informal dance performances were also a highlight in the hall. On the fields outside traditional games were set up by the different groups. It was the second annual event and judged to be a huge success.
Special thanks to Student Teacher Rachel Ernst for inviting Beacon to be part of the opening. We wish her well finding a permanent teaching role as competition grows from ex-pat teachers returning home to NZ.
A Chaucer parent doing a henna design on Lakshana Senthuran as Divya Chhima looks on. Photo: Rachel Ernst