New Zealand’s sporting leadership is world-famous, and on Thursday night some of the country’s most successful sporting leaders came together to support Wairarapa’s teen parent mentoring programme.
Big Talk Little Talks was set up to support Leaving The Ladder Down, an initiative which connects parents from the Wairarapa Teen Parent Unit with mentors. Organised by Women Who Make The Calls (WWMTC) and REAP Wairarapa, the event was far from a typical evening of speeches.
Debbie Fuller, former player and now Assistant Coach of the Silver Ferns, led with the “big talk”, while “small talks” were delivered by athletes and leaders from disciplines as wide-ranging as waka ama, equestrian and motorcycle racing. Over 200 people attended the sold-out event and the night also included a silent auction, with all proceeds from the night going directly to Leaving the Ladder Down.
“It was wonderful to see such a cross-section of the community come out to support such a great programme,” says Trudy Sears of REAP Wairarapa.
“[The speakers] all talked about resilience and how you cope with challenging situations,” she says. “And that was a powerful message for everyone to hear.”
REAP Wairarapa provides significant support to a number of community initiatives and WWMTC founder Mena Antonio says she is grateful for the organisation’s assistance in growing the Leaving the Ladder Down programme.
“The mission is to build diverse leadership from the ground up,” says Antonio. “We grow people, not buildings.”
“[So far] eight women are paired to mentor teen mums and the funds raised enable us to mentor more mums.”
Wings over Wairarapa manager Jenny Gasson, former Superbike racer Aaron Slight, Black Stick Dane Lett, Waka Ama champion Patrick “Paddy” Rimene, former Māori All Black Shannon Paku, and Equestrian NZ High Performance Director Sarah “Cec” Dalziell all had their place at the podium.
Along with resilience, strong leadership and the support of others were common threads, and event attendees were treated to unique insights into the minds and experiences of the country’s sporting elite.
The amount raised for Leaving the Ladder Down is yet to be finalised, but according to Sears, the audience couldn’t have been more supportive.
“Everybody there was really interested, and all six speakers were really amazing,” she says. “It was a real success.”
Other event supporters include Matahiwi Wines, Hello World Travel, Trust House, and Sellar & Sellar Accountants.
Meet Ellen (L) and Mary (R) - part of Masterton Neighbourhood Support's Weconnect programme.
Ellen, who is originally from the Netherlands, meets with Mary for an hour every week at the bakery where she works to catch up and discuss how she's adjusting to life here in New Zealand. It's also a great chance to work on conversational skills including picking up Kiwi phrases from Mary who also volunteers as an English tutor running free lessons for Weconnect participants in Masterton.
Ellen happens to have a second Weconnect buddy, Rose, who is based in Martinborough - where they both live. Rose had moved to the area following the Christchurch quakes so is a wealth of knowledge when it comes to natural disaster preparedness, something Ellen isn't used to thinking about.
By working with a local buddy, Weconnect supports residents from culturally diverse backgrounds to feel safe, resilient and connected in their new community. If you live in the Wairarapa region and would love to help participants get settled in and make local connections, please email Cathy Cameron: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Melbourne Cup can be seen as an excuse for people to dress to the nines and get so drunk that they often miss seeing the races.
The physical and psychological pain these horses suffer is immense, with the movement against horse racing growing as animal welfare advocates call for change. What do you think? Should horse racing be banned? Vote in the poll below.
30.6% Definitely - it’s inhumane30.6% Complete
14.2% No - it’s a bit of harmless fun14.2% Complete
3.7% I don’t have an opinion3.7% Complete
51.6% Only for those found guilty of abuse51.6% Complete