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Audrey Tolua is New Zealand Red Cross’ Humanitarian Development and Engagement Manager in the East Coast. When Aotearoa New Zealand went into the nationwide lockdown due last year, Audrey provided guidance in ensuring that the essential Meals on Wheels service in Hawke’s Bay continued safely. She was also quick to step into a leadership role for Visitor Care Manaaki Manuhiri, our joint programme with Government to assist temporary visa holders experiencing hardship due to COVID-19. Audrey embodies so many traits that make her an amazing Red Cross leader - she's friendly, connected to her community and always putting people's needs first.
Cate Keville is New Zealand Red Cross' Psychosocial Support Team Lead. When Aotearoa went into Alert Level 4 lockdown last year, her team had to find innovative ways to continue delivering our Psychological First Aid courses and help Kiwis who may be feeling stressed during a really difficult time. She helped develop and deliver free online webinars to anyone who wanted to learn more about coping with stress, how to support someone in distress and becoming more resilient. We're so grateful for passionate, dedicated and empowered Red Cross women like Cate.
You can find these free online webinars on our website.
We’re so thankful for Red Cross wāhine like Donna Sanchez. When Aotearoa New Zealand went into a nationwide lockdown last year, Donna, who is one of our dedicated disaster response volunteers, put her hand up to help us continue delivering our essential Meals on Wheels service. With a huge smile, she delivered meals to vulnerable people feeling isolated and anxious, always stopping for a quick chat and a check-in. Donna has so many traits we value – she’s kind, compassionate, brave, dedicated and always willing to lend a hand.
You can read her story here.
Jaki George is a member of New Zealand Red Cross’ Kerikeri Branch. From 2018-2020, Jaki served as a Branch President. Now, she continues to be an active member of the Branch, keeping their local community projects running. Ten years ago, Jaki survived the magnitude 6.3 earthquake that hit the Canterbury region and was a recipient of Red Cross’ assistance. Now, she continues to serve the organisation to ensure that Red Cross can continue providing help to people affected by disasters. Jaki cares deeply about people and her community, always looking at how she can support others or give back.
You can read her story here.
Jessica Timings is a New Zealand Red Cross international delegate who supported the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies’ (IFRC) response to COVID-19. In January 2020, she went to Malaysia to help the IFRC Asia Pacific team raise awareness about this virus, and how people could keep themselves and other safe. Later on in the year, she was deployed to Armenia to support Red Cross’ response to the people fleeing the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Jess is a true Red Cross wāhine - strong, brave, resilient and ready to take on whatever challenge comes her way.
Read the blog Jess wrote about her experience in Armenia here.
Justine Smith is one of the amazing volunteers who was quick to step up and help prepare our Red Cross Shops for the safe reopening after an eight-week lockdown across New Zealand last year. Justine has been spending the past couple of years volunteering at least once a week to help keep the Red Cross Shop in Richmond in tip-top shape. She also actively supports the local shop as one of its regular customers.
You can read Justine’s story here.
This International Women’s Day we'd like to acknowledge the hard work and dedication of our former Hamilton disaster response team leader, Monica Bearsley. During her time as a disaster response volunteer, she was deployed several times to help people affected by disasters, emergencies or crises. Last year, Monica stepped up in the COVID-19 response to provide welfare support to the people who returned from Wuhan, China, to the Whangaparāoa training base. Monica is kind, caring, resilient and passionate about helping those in need.
Read more on her experience in Whangaparāoa here.
Rachel O'Connor, our General Manager Migration, has an amazing sense of humour, ability to lead and dedication to support people in need. Last year, Rachel her team supported thousands of new Kiwis through COVID-19, which included translating COVID-19 messaging into 17 languages. Rachel was also the project lead for Visitor Care Manaaki Manuhiri, which saw thousands of temporary visa holders stuck in New Zealand and facing hardship due to COVID-19 receive much-needed humanitarian support. Rachel is an all-round Red Cross legend!