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.
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If you live in either Tararua or Wairarapa (from Norsewood to Featherston), just take in your proof of address to claim 50% off your entrance ticket.
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