Media Release
Aug 4, 2021

Here's to our 2020 Heroes

In November 2020, Christian Savings ran a giveaway where individuals had the chance to nominate their 2020 Hero and win them a Coromandel getaway package.

The package includes:
- 2x nights accommodation at The Church Hahei
- Return flights to Auckland or Tauranga airport
- 3 day vehicle hire
- Dinner at The Church Bistro

2020 has been a challenging year, but there are individuals and families who have gone above and beyond to make a real difference in their communities. Throughout November we received 99 nominations for incredible individuals and families.

We were blown away by stories of heroes who have stepped up to lead and support others through a challenging year.

Heroes who have supported families facing financial difficulties, illness, trauma, homelessness and poverty. Heroes who have packed food boxes, started charities, run programmes, fostered children, started online prayer meetings and advocated for others.

Our 2020 Hero Winner is Monique

Monique is a school mentor who mentors young girls who are at risk of being removed from school due to behaviour issues. Monique also oversees our community initiative called Kinship Care which puts on events that bring help and hope to our community, during this COVID impacted year Monique and her team have given out hundreds of packs to families in our area to help them and show support & Aroha.

In 2019, Monique lost her daughter Taya at the age of 9 to a racing heart condition. It hasn’t been easy for Monique and her 4 remaining girls, but yet they continue to give back to their community as Monique continues to say, “it’s what Taya would have done”. My wife and I believe Monique would be the perfect recipient as she continues to be a community hero in the midst of her personal pain. She is incredible and we thank God that she is well supported by close friends in Auckland as most of her family live in Wellington.

More 2020 Hero Stories*

Geraldine (aka Muss) and her husband Koopu have been heroes to the Tairawhiti community since 2018. They introduced Legacy, Man Up, Youth Nation & Origins into this Community supporting countless families to heal,inspire, empower & then in turn those families do the same. Through lockdown,they continued via Zoom & empowered women while isolated. She made sure vulnerable families were cared for ensuring they received food and sanitary packs and so much more. She reminded me when I had lost hope that there are still good people in this world.

Pastor Carla is our church pastor, mother, grandmother and has she has also created emergency housing for our community by establishing Tiny Homes to give people who are homeless a safe and comfortable environment. This year she has established a Food Warehouse at the rear of the church & leads part of a local community group called The Kai Collective Project distributing food parcels all over Auckland. Other areas that she covers is Domestic Violence,Drug & Alcohol abuse, Women’s Refuge, Men & women who are restricted byway ankle bracelets.

Elizabeth & Brian run a daycare for mentally impaired/challenged people where the whole family is welcome. It has become a valuable part of the community in Moerewa, Northland. From the day-to-day operations, creating crafts and projects for the clients to do during lockdown,to applying for funding to keep the centre open. If a job needs to be done, Lis will crack on and do it. She helps upskill the staff she has, encouraging them to study for papers, knowing that they will feel so much better about themselves when they have achieved them. Some of the clients have been encouraged to run an organic garden, the produce being used for the clients,community and the Kawakawa based Northland Foodbank.

Bianca started volunteering at the VisionWest foodbank early in 2020. During the first lockdown she helped to feed over 9,000 families, working long hours often from 7am – 8pm. She helped pack over 900 boxes weekly and helped with deliveries. She is always thinking of others and putting their needs first. She is only 22 years of age and could of been anywhere else, but she choose to be helping the community. She loves people and has never asked for anything in return but a Big Mac.

Imagine leading a team of staff, volunteers and clients with a variety of disabilities during a year like 2020. The lockdowns, and COVID-19 threats, had a huge impact on Elevate Christian Disability Trust, with many social activities are cancelled. Alongwith the role of being a mother of three children, and the main caregiver for an elderly mum. Life just takes its toll, no matter any global pandemic or family circumstances you got thrown in. To stay calm, collective, positive and at peace - that makes you a hero. Kathie Pace is our hero.

Sophie has just turned 15, but in her spare time she has organised community, beach and river clean ups which have brought hundreds of people out to help. She volunteers for serving and making meals for our homeless community; instead of presents for her 15th birthday asked for donations for meal vouchers for homeless people, raising $2,300. Is a youth ambassador for Kohine Maia to improve mental health and physical wellbeing for youth. Runs her own group called Teens Taking Action and they visit rest homes. Sophie speaks in schools and at events to encourage youth to help others and make them realise all positive actions help no matter what your age.

Lifi and Grace Ikiua have been working for Good Seed Trust for the last 15 years. GoodSeed Trust manages 50 staff and operates 3 ECE centres, OSCAR After School & Holiday programmes, Youth leadership programmes, SuperGrans life skills workshops, Playgroup, Family Coaching and Fathers and Kids events - designed to assist in building positive relationships between fathers and their children. During lockdown Lifi established daily zoom prayer meetings for all staff, to give cohesion and collegiality to staff during a worrying time. Following the lockdown Lifi continued hosting zoom prayer meetings each weekday morning at 6:30am so that staff and the families and children that wework with have that covering and inspiration at the start of each workday.

Cherie and Trevor Moran are both long-serving Elders at Howick Presbyterian Church.Cherie is the ‘face’ of the Session and Parish Council, Chair of our Pastoral Care team, regular lay preacher and coordinates Mainly Music. She regularly makes several trips a week to Middlemore Hospital, visiting any of our people who are there. During the lockdowns, Cherie contacted every member of our congregation, to see if all was well and delivered food parcels or frozen meals to those in need. Trevor is a key person on our Property team and ‘on call’ for all the property maintenance issues which arise. He seems to spend most of his week at church carrying out repairs and maintenance, and regularly has to make late night visits to the church if alarms have been triggered. Their love of our Lord and their devotion to family, church and 'those we love and ought to love' is a huge example to all of us.

Because we received so many incredible nominations, we wanted to so something extra for a few more heroes. In December our team sent our Christmas hampers and cards to some more 2020 heroes as a thank you for what they have done to impact their community this year.

If you have a 2020 Hero who made a difference in your world this year, don’t forget to thank them!

*Nomination stories published with permission from our 2020 Heroes

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