Anne Riley - Kai Avondale
Generous. Selfless. Irreplaceable
Avondale’s Anne Riley has been announced as the 2022 Westfield St Lukes Local Hero.
In its fifth year, each Westfield centre awards the successful hero a $20,000 grant for the group or organisation they represent, and each finalist receives a $5,000 grant for their organisation and to continue their work.
Generous Anne Riley is the face and heart of Kai Avondale, a collective of free food initiatives available to all in the community.
Anne coordinates Free Guys, a free food market where people can choose the groceries they need, no questions asked. She also oversees the fortnightly Feed the Streets dinner program, which provides 70 to 100 free meals.
Anne became involved with the community project approximately five years ago following a chance meeting with the founder. She now works full-time as a coordinator and is respected for her wise advice and a compassionate listening ear.
Something that Anne loves about the programs is that they bring people together. She enjoys getting to know people in the local community and finding out what their needs are. This knowledge also helps develop new initiatives.
Anne encourages people to give back with their time or produce, which has helped some on the path to employment.
“Kai Avondale is not just about providing people with food and other resources they don’t have. It is about encouraging self-worth, empowerment, and a sense of belonging that is so important as the first step to participating in the community on an equal basis,” Anne says.
Kai Avondale will use its funds to meet the increasing demand for its food services since the COVID-19 pandemic.
Established in 2018, Scentre Group’s Westfield Local Heroes program celebrates community role models whose work benefits others across a broad range of sectors, including family and youth support, health and wellbeing, inclusion and equity, community resilience and environmental sustainability. Since its inception, the program has contributed to more than 600 community organisations, investing a total of $6.14 million to date.
Each successful Westfield Local Heroes organisation receives a grant of $20,000 to help them continue to grow their impact in the local community. This year Westfield awarded 126 grants across Australia and New Zealand, totalling $1.26 million.
In early 2023, they will open nominations for the 2023 Westfield Local Heroes program, so start thinking about those people in your communities who make a difference.
Angeline has hopes and plans for the future, but things weren’t always easy for her. She first heard about Visionwest at a time when she was experiencing homelessness and happened to meet Esera who is both a Housing support navigator and a local pastor.
“I was sleeping in my car behind Pastor Esera’s church. One day he saw me. He was so kind and understanding. He took me straight to Visionwest Housing to organise a place for me to stay.
“It was overwhelming at first. Here were all these people who wanted to do just one thing: help me out. When I met the team, they welcomed me with bright smiles on their faces and put my mind at rest. They said they’d help me with a home. I remember them saying, ‘We’re here for you and your little one,’ and they have been just that … with me all the way.”
There are procedures to go through when locating and assigning accommodation, but Angeline was thrilled with how quickly a home was found for her. Within a month she had emergency housing and was so happy she says she just jumped around dancing. With the stability of somewhere safe and dry to live, she felt she could finally move forward with her life.
After three months, more permanent housing was found for her.
When Angeline shares her housing story, she talks about the importance of wraparound support. “It was more than just the housing; it was the wraparound support I received. I did some courses to help build my confidence, I received food support, budgeting help, and some counselling. It was awesome how so many people were willing to care for me and set me up for a great future.”
“To be honest, I spent a lot of time popping into Visionwest and talking to the people I’d met there because is just felt so good to see them and to chat with them. But more than that, I saw that there were opportunities to improve things for myself and my little one, and I took every opportunity I was offered. I still feel like I have a whole new set of friends who are willing to watch out for me and put what’s best for me first.
“My support navigator would come and see me every two weeks to see how I was going and check in on what I might need. Not just what I needed physically though. They came to see how I was doing, how I was coping in my new place.
Life would be a lot different for Angeline if it wasn’t for that chance meeting with Pastor Esera and her introduction to the Housing Team at Visionwest.
“I sometimes think about where my life would be now if I hadn’t been placed in a home like I have now. I know I’d still be stuck in the same rut I’d been in for quite some time. I’d still be staying in cheap motels or caravan parks while I roamed around looking for a safe place to live. Now I’ve got stability which is great because kids need a stable place to grow up and be safe.
“Visionwest is like an umbrella for me. When a storm comes along, they are there for me. If I need someone to talk to, they are there. If I have a question or have any problems, my support navigator is there … one of my goals is to do the Unitec Social Community Development course. Hopefully, one day, I can work for Visionwest.”
The Hellers Sharp Blacks have won third place at the World Butchers’ Challenge in Sacramento held in September. The team, made up of six Kiwi butchers, travelled to the USA to compete against 12 other countries in a three-and-a-half-hour showdown at the Golden 1 Centre in Sacramento.
Reuben Sharples from the local store, Aussie Butcher New Lynn, competed in boning and trimming. He is a stalwart of the butchery competition scene. Though this was his first tour with the Hellers Sharp Blacks, Reuben took out the title of Alto Butcher of the Year in 2017 and competed in Butcher Wars at Meatstock. His team at Aussie Butcher New Lynn have won numerous awards for their sausages and hams, and Reuben brings a wealth of experience to the team as well as his famous charisma for the cameras.
Team captain of the Hellers Sharp Blacks, Riki Kerekere says that after two years of covid cancellations it was amazing for the team to finally be sharpening their knives and competing on the world stage.
“To come third is a massive achievement and I am really proud of how well the team performed on the day,” says Riki.
The competition was held on Saturday 3rd September, Californian time, and saw the Golden 1 Centre in Sacramento transformed into the world’s largest butchery. Local and international visitors were treated to a spectacular three and a half hour cutting competition where each team had to turn a side of beef, a side of pork, a whole lamb and five chickens into a themed display of value-added cuts. Teams had to demonstrate their carving, boning, and finishing skills, underpinned by their own creative and cultural flair.
The winners were announced at a black-tie gala dinner held at the Memorial Auditorium in Sacramento on Sunday evening local time. Team Germany won the competition taking out the coveted Friedr. Dick Golden Knife Trophy, with the Australian team claiming second place and the New Zealand team placing third.
The competition started out as a trans-Tasman test in 2011. It grew in 2013 with a UK team travelling downunder. Then the competition started moving worldwide and this year attracted teams representing 13 nations. Read more about the competition at www.worldbutcherschallenge.com/about-us
Bid to reach target of 20,000 bears
Murray Halberg Retirement Village residents have joined in a Ryman-wide campaign to knit 20,000 teddy bears for displaced children in Ukraine.
Around a dozen keen knitters in the village have put their needles to the task of making the cute bears with the aim of sending them over to Ukraine to be distributed in care packages.
With the latest village tally close to 100 bears, the knitters have recruited family members and friends to help them reach the ambitious target.
“It’s a fairly straightforward pattern so I’ve got my sister-in-law involved,” said Sandra Finch who had knitted around 15 to date.
The idea was the brainchild of Ryman Healthcare’s Victorian Sales and Community Relations Manager Debra Richardson, who fostered a Ukrainian boy called Yuri following the Chernobyl disaster.
With Yuri now back in Ukraine fighting the cause, Debra said this was a small but tangible way that Ryman residents, team members and the wider community could make a difference to the lives of the youngest members of the war-torn country.
“Being so far away it can be difficult to know how we can help,” Debra said.
“Thousands of Ryman village residents are avid knitters, and this project empowers them to use a skill that they are experts in to send a symbol of love from afar.”
For Murray Halberg’s Maureen Knowles, arthritis had slowed down her knitting, but she was determined to contribute to the cause.
“I have managed to make two bears so far. It takes me a lot longer these days but it struck a chord with me,” she said.
Velma Gordon had made eight bears, in between her other commitments of knitting blankets for the local church.
Many of the ladies also knit for Middlemore Hospital, Mission Without Borders, Pregnancy Help, KidsFirst, Mummys in Need as well as for their own grandchildren.
An empty shop has been given a new lease of life as a colourful community information hub in Avondale town centre.
Unable to be leased for health and safety reasons, the vacant shop at 1987 Great North Road is owned by Auckland Council and will eventually be demolished as part of the works to transform central Avondale with a new library, community hub and town square.
However, rather than continue to leave it bare, the Auckland’s regeneration agency Eke Panuku has spruced up the outside, added new lighting and is using the vast window space to showcase regeneration projects underway in the neighbourhood.
Currently featuring project updates from Eke Panuku and Kāinga Ora – Homes and Communities, the window display will be updated every three months with information on the status of works by a range of local and central government agencies who are working to make Avondale a better place to live, work and enjoy.
Iconic imagery included in the window display is a photo from Auckland Libraries Heritage Collections of the shop itself from 1989 when it was trading as Avondale Wholesale Meats. If anyone can identify the two shoppers, we’d love to hear from you!
Our Government believes that everyone should have the chance to succeed – including young people who need a little bit of extra support to get back on the right track. That’s why we’re stepping up pathways to better opportunities, by supporting more young people into jobs and training to prevent them getting involved in crime.
We recently released our Better Pathways package, which extends programmes that have a record of success in helping young New Zealanders into better futures, and driving down youth crime.
All of the programmes we’re scaling up, including He Poutama Rangatahi and the Ākonga Fund, play slightly different roles – ranging from helping people into education, training and employment, to more general wrap-around support. But they are all working successfully to help at-risk young people turn their lives around.
Right now, youth offending is down on where it was a decade ago but we know there’s still work to do. By investing in pathways to better opportunities for more young New Zealanders, we’re helping to break the cycle of crime and gang activity.
At the same time, we’re increasing the consequences for individuals who cause harm in our communities. We’ve already delivered New Zealand’s largest ever Police service, and now we’re changing the law to give them greater powers to seize gang assets, to ensure crime does not pay.
Our focus on providing pathways to better opportunities isn’t limited to at-risk young people. Right across the country, we’re creating jobs, helping people into work and supporting more New Zealanders to upskill.
More than 200,000 people have now benefitted from our free apprenticeships and trades training programmes. We also recently reached the milestone of helping 50,000 New Zealanders through Apprenticeship Boost, which supports employers keep and take on new apprentices.
I’m really proud of these programmes. Not only are they giving more people the chance to upskill, they’re also helping families get ahead, businesses grow, and ultimately, they contribute to success.
Deborah Russell, MP for New Lynn
By John Subritzky
There have been mixed reviews about the new roundabout on Hillsborough Road, but most people seem happy that the safety at the intersection of Commodore Drive and Griffen Park Road, has been improved. Access for Lynfield residents has also improved significantly.
Kathy Neilson said, “The roundabout has made the area much easier and safer for Lynfield residents and by being able to go straight across Hillsborough Road we are not adding to the Hillsborough Road traffic like we were.”
There have been many complaints about the design, the finish, traffic, and the construction period, which demonstrates that there is always a range of views and opinions on roading projects. The key point is that this has always been a dangerous, sometimes deadly, intersection. It was always going to be challenging finding a solution, given that it is located at the bottom of a steep hill. Roundabouts are favoured from a safety viewpoint as most vehicles will enter them at a reduced speed, making any crash less deadly.
Although some people have said that traffic has been slowed done by the roundabout, there was no evidence of this at 7.30am or 8.30am when Beacon Community News checked. Traffic was still being held up more by the lights at the gate of Lynfield College, which seem to favour school traffic over arterial traffic, leading to a long tailback. Evening traffic has always been slow, usually from Blockhouse Bay to Countdown, and often further back.
Julie Fairey, Puketāpapa Local Board Chair stated that “For me this issue was first raised I think in about 2014, and David Holm on the local board took an interest in getting AT [Auckland Transport] to look at it. We went from AT saying they weren't convinced there was a problem, to AT agreeing there was a problem but it just needed a small fix (minor changes to the traffic island on the Griffen Park Rd side and some hit sticks), to AT accepting there was still a problem, to AT saying it was too big a problem for them to fix in the next few years, to AT identifying that it was a problem they could fix in the next few years, to a very slow drawn our process of consulting on the fix and then implementing it (partly but by no means entirely due to Covid). It's been a long and winding road, some might say.”
Auckland Transport responded to questions about the terrible placement of a light pole at the pedestrian crossing on Commodore Drive: “AT has instituted a design review process (in regard to the Light pole Error) which looks at all AT designs at various stages to ensure there are no glaring issues and that compliance with the standards is enforced or that departures are agreed.”
Possibly a ‘review’ may fix a common-sense error that became an embarrassment for AT. It was politicised in April by then mayoral candidate, Leo Malloy, who commented, “More Auckland Transport insanity, this time from Lynfield. While redoing the long-awaited upgrades to the footpaths on Hillsborough Road, they installed a lamp post in the middle of the footpath only to remove it two days later! No wonder they’ve run out of money.”
Weekday traffic at 7.30am at the new roundabout. Photo: Beacon
Nothing says progress quite the same way that tower cranes do. If it is good enough to use the number of cranes as a rough measure of vertical construction nationwide, then we can certainly measure the progress of apartments in our town centre the same way.
Joining Avondale’s very first ever tower crane at the Aroha apartments by Okham, the neighbouring Highbury Triangle development now has its first crane. More are expected to follow. The apartment construction boom is only just gathering momentum with more projects in the pipeline.
Highbury Triangle will consist of 236 apartments in five buildings. It is mainly for seniors, with one building used for social housing. Kāinga Ora is justifiably proud of this development designed to a high standard, giving seniors the option of “aging in place” by allowing for in home care.
Kāinga Ora states:
“All senior apartments will be built to our universal design standards and the addition of 1.5-bedroom apartments allows for the option of having a carer to stay, as needed. There is a focus on accessibility throughout, and each senior housing apartment will include a parking area for mobility scooters.
The development will contain a variety of multi-purpose community rooms on the ground floor of four of the buildings where customers can host gatherings, as well as commercial space in the building fronting Great North Road. Landscaped areas will include vegetable and flower gardens, as well as glasshouses for growing seedlings, which will sit alongside several mature trees which have been retained as part of the design.”
Decades ago, town centre upgrades were all the rage. Brightening up the footpaths was seen as an effective way to change the look of mainstreets all over NZ. What was not foreseen was that some of those surfaces would become ongoing pedestrian hazards, especially when wet. Now streets are being returned to the utilitarian look of exposed concrete as the safest option.
Locals have been vocal in advocating for the problem to be fixed to avoid hurting more people. In 2019, the Whau Local Board partnered with AT to fund the footpath project. WLB members Susan Zhu and Catherine Farmer voted against this proposal as they wanted the project to be fully funded by AT. Then the project was also set back by covid.
Now Stage 2 of the replacement program is underway at pace. It is being done in four sections to reduce disruption to local businesses. When finished, the only slippery bricks remaining will be in the Spider area. This section is being left to be replaced at the same time that the new library and community hub is completed by Eke Panuku.
To support Avondale’s upcoming library, community hub and upgraded town square, Eke Panuku is building a new carpark at 28 Racecourse Parade. The space will be gated, with two mobility parks and 28 general parking spaces.
The carpark is nearing completion, but landscaping works will take another few weeks to finish. As the community hub has yet to be started, the carpark’s intended function is still some time off. In the meantime, it will be leased to Kāinga Ora for parking for workers when the new Elm Street development is under construction. This will relieve some of the construction related parking issues on nearby streets. The Elm Street development will see 166 new 1-, 2- and 3-bedroom apartments built with an estimated completion date of 2025.