Autism families get together to raise awareness

Bay of Plenty families affected by autism are getting together for an afternoon of fun and learning next month.

Light Up The Night, on Saturday October 10, is at the Jam factory and the Artery at the Historic Village, 17th Ave.

From 4pm to 6pm there are fun and creative activities for the kids while parents and caregivers chat to local providers of autism services. Parents can learn more about what local support is available in the Bay of Plenty, and find out more about autism.

The kids’ creative art session with a difference will be run by Wondercraft, which organises craft activities for children and adults, along with face painting. Good Neighbour is providing food for the event for families to share.

Organiser DJ Daniel, from Superior Entertainment Solutions, wanted an interactive event to raise awareness about what’s available for families who have children with autism. The event is supported by Spectrum Collective-Takiwātanga.

“It’s a chance for the whole community to hang out, and inform, support and connect families with autism,” spokesperson Jane Ford, Regional Coordinator Coastal BOP for Parent 2 Parent, said

There will be raffles, with proceeds donated to autism service providers.

From 6pm there’s a free dance party for the over-16s at The Jam Factory with Dan – who also lives with autism. Go to The Incubator to get tickets.

Dan and Matt from Addictive DJs will be spinning dance music for the young people and adults until 9pm. The event is free but has limited numbers, is alcohol-free and supervised with security.

Lessons learned during lockdown

Lessons learned during Covid-19 lockdown should be a catalyst for working more seamlessly with local social agencies, Minister for the Community and Voluntary Sector Poto Williams said in Tauranga yesterday.

Ms Williams was welcomed by mana whenua, Ngāi Tamarawaho, and met with representatives of voluntary and community groups to discuss sector issues and Covid response. The meeting was organised by SociaLink, the Western Bay umbrella group for social service providers and community organisations.

Ms Williams said she was aware that Tauranga was a city of two halves – the wealthy and those who were living in poverty or homeless – and a huge need for food security was uncovered during lockdown.

Social agencies outlined how they dealt with issues, including mobilising marae and hauora (Māori health and social services) which were regarded as essential services. Iwi used their existing connections to access food and packed and distributed 1900 packs to those in need.

An estimated 4000 homeless are living in the city. Those living on the street were moved to motels, and many had since returned to the streets, SociaLink General Manager Liz Davies said. Working parties were investigating the feasibility of a homelessness hub in the city. Newly disadvantaged groups included young families and grandparents raising grandchildren so the number of meals required was rising.

Poto Williams said that the learning gained during lockdown needed to be maintained and services rolled out in a more comprehensive and collective way.

“We are starting that conversation and want it to be formalised,” she said.

Minister to meet with Tauranga community groups

Minister for the Community and Voluntary Sector Poto Williams will meet with representatives of voluntary and community groups in Tauranga next week.

The meeting has been organised by SociaLink, the Western Bay umbrella group for social service providers and community organisations.

The session is in the Conference Room at City Church 252 Ōtumoetai Rd from 9.30am to 10.30am. Minister Williams will talk about how the sector is funded, pay equity and other issues facing community agencies.

There will also be a 20-minute Q&A session.

All community organisations are invited to attend.

PM Jacinda Ardern Visits SociaLink

PM joins The Kollective

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern spent a couple of hours meeting with members of The Kollective on September 8, discussing a wide range of social issues and Labour’s policies.

After a mihi whakatau where the meaning of the pō and native birds outside were explained, she spent time touring the building and chatting to those busy at their desks. She was admiring of the concept and efficiency of co-working spaces.

It was a blue sky day for the visit and in an area Ardern knows well. She was originally a Labour list MP in the Bay of Plenty, which is where she met list MPs Jan Tinetti and Angie Warren-Clark who accompanied her, along with Waiariki MP Tāmati Coffey, and Police Minister Stuart Nash.

Ardern asked plenty of questions about social issues in a sit-down informal meeting with SociaLink, TECT, Acorn and the Huria Trust.

She learned more about the Covid response from social agencies, and the issues facing a city where residents appear wealthy on the surface but where there are many homeless, and struggling families.

She discussed the government’s approach to social infrastructure and where assistance is needed in managing social issues.

Ardern then popped into a SociaLink Zoom meeting with social agencies discussing Covid response issues, and spent more time than expected answering questions from participants and outlining how the government has addressed social issues.


‘Speed dating’ for not-for-profit board members

Fancy a quick date to find board members for your not-for-profit group or charity?

SociaLink, the Western Bay umbrella group for social service providers and community organisations, is collaborating with the Bay of Plenty branch of the Institute of Directors in holding a not-for-profit event with a panel of speakers and the opportunity to “speed date” for social agencies and not-for-profit groups to find the right people for their boards.

Organiser Laura Gaveika, Bay of Plenty Branch Manager from the Institute of Directors, says the evening event, on Wednesday, September 30 at the Tauranga Club, will be an opportunity for groups and organisations to learn more about good governance as well as meet potential board members.

The evening includes a panel of experienced board members who will share their trials, tribulations and triumphs from their time on not-for-profit boards.

There will be time for questions and answers before potential board members can “speed date” – spending a few minutes with each social or community organisations to learn more about them.

The panel members are Anchali Anandanayagam, Peter Farmer and Jana Rangooni.

Anchali Anandanayagam sits on the boards of Women in Film and Television NZ and the Asylum Seekers Support Trust, and chairs the board of Thankyou Payroll Limited – a software company with a triple bottom line valuing its social and environmental impact.

Peter Farmer is founder with his son of the Farmer Group including car dealership Farmer Autovillage.

He has been involved with community organisations as chair of Bay Venues, deputy chair of Waipuna Hospice, founder member of Priority One and Acorn Foundation. He is a board member of Riding for Disabled, NZ Avocado and NZ Motor Trade Association.

Jana Rangooni is CEO of the Radio Broadcasters Association and on the boards of Paralympics New Zealand and the Advertising Standards Association.

She has been part of the media industry during many of New Zealand’s most public crises. Running the radio brands for Mediaworks she has also been on the other side of controversy. She says everyone around the board table needs to have a clear understanding of what a crisis is and what role they have to play.

At the event not-for-profit agencies can set up promotional areas for their work and talk to prospective board members.

SociaLink’s Organisational Advisor Ciska Vogelzang says it’s the first time the group has run such an event but they are popular in the US.

“We’d love to have everyone from social and community, sports and creative groups from throughout the Western Bay of Plenty to come and learn, hear from experienced board members and have a display.

“It’s a great opportunity to learn from experienced board members and grow their knowledge.”

The event is in association with TECT and sponsored by The Tauranga Club.

When: 4.30pm – 7.30pm, Wednesday 30 September

Where: Tauranga Club, Level 5, Devonport Hotel, 72 Devonport Road, Tauranga

Cost: $25 to cover food and drink