From left: Mates in Construction Field Officer James Sendall with the Murray Halberg team, outgoing Project Manager Dale Sadler, Wellbeing Coordinator James Earls, new Project Manager Johannes Cronje, Health & Safety Coordinator Denise Chandler, Foreman Karl Drent, Carpenter Eti Aunese and Site Manager Leon van den Berg.
The Murray Halberg construction site in Lynfield has become the first Ryman Healthcare site to achieve Mates in Construction accreditation.
The milestone achievement is proof that the Lynfield team means business when it comes to striving towards good mental health and wellbeing on site, in an industry where suicide rates are shockingly high.
James Sendall, Field Officer for Mates in Construction, presented the accreditation certificate to the Murray Halberg team, and praised them for their efforts in embracing the programme at a time when stress levels were at record levels in the construction industry as a whole.
“There were 607 suicides in New Zealand last year and in our industry it’s about one person every week,” he said. “We’re actually six times more likely to lose someone to suicide than a workplace accident.”
The pandemic had compounded the various stressors that affected construction, with supply and labour shortages adding to the pressures.
Young men aged 20-24 were typically the most at risk, he said.
“It’s a time when they might be leaving home for the first time and going flatting, they’re organising their own finances, there could be a relationship breakdown or maybe they’re getting bullied.
“That’s actually the number one in terms of pressures, especially when you’re young and then you get shouted at when at work and that old school attitude where it’s just ‘get the job done’.”
Mates in Construction is a preventative programme which originated in Australia in 2008, following the Global Financial Crisis. It launched in New Zealand in 2019.
Ryman Healthcare partnered with the not-for-profit organisation in November 2020 in a bid to raise awareness around suicide prevention and to encourage people to check in on their fellow workers.
BirdCare Aotearoa is delighted to have received a Highly Commended in the 2022 EcoMatters Love Your Place Awards.
The charity, which cares for over 6,000 wild birds every year, was nominated for the Rātā Award. This award recognises an outstanding (predominantly) volunteer group or organisation taking action on a local environmental issue.
The judges’ commendation recognises BirdCare Aotearoa’s contribution to conservation, not only through their wildlife rehabilitation and release activities but also their care for the wider ecosystem.
“Not only do they care for birds, but they also care for the local native bush through pest animal and plant control, and by planting more natives. This is improving local conservation and biodiversity, providing more native wildlife habitat for food and breeding,” the EcoMatters Awards judges said.
BirdCare Aotearoa General Manager, Dr Lynn Miller was delighted to accept the commendation, along with two volunteers, at the awards evening on 2 August.
“This acknowledgement from our local community means a great deal to us all here at BirdCare Aotearoa. It is even more exciting when you hear about the incredible work being done by others in the community. That BirdCare Aotearoa is counted among those nominated is testament to our incredible volunteers.”
“As a small team, BirdCare Aotearoa relies on volunteers to keep the centre running. Volunteers help with everything from running errands, gardening and maintenance, reception and administration, governance, right through to hands-on bird care.”
“We are extremely grateful for the dedication and enthusiasm of our volunteers. Without them, BirdCare Aotearoa wouldn’t be here to protect New Zealand’s very special birdlife,” Miller says.
BirdCare Aotearoa responds to avian casualties – sick, injured, and orphaned wild birds – primarily in the Auckland region. They also provide technical and educational support to rehabilitation facilities, veterinarians, wildlife agencies, and communities throughout New Zealand. BirdCare Aotearoa supports people to grow their love and care for wild birds, and contributes to positive conservation and community outcomes.
Established as the New Zealand Bird Rescue Charitable Trust in 2009, the facility has evolved from a “cottage rescue centre” to a professional wildlife hospital and rehabilitation centre. In 2021, the charity rebranded to BirdCare Aotearoa.
Last year, BirdCare Aotearoa admitted 6,710 birds of 175 different species. They are on track to exceed that this year, with admissions up 20 percent.
For more information about BirdCare Aotearoa and how you can support their life-saving work for wild birds, you can visit birdcareaotearoa.org.nz
By Laura Kvigstad, Auckland Council reporter