Mak­ing vol­un­teer­ing a pri­or­ity

Central Otago Mirror - - CONVERSATIONS - GIL­LIAN WHITE

Sum­mer time of­ten means time off work to re­lax, how­ever many vol­un­teers carry on through the long sum­mer hol­i­days and some get even busier.

One such vol­un­teer is Can­ter­bury born and raised Wanaka res­i­dent Anna Hiatt. Anna moved to Wanaka ‘‘for a break from the earth­quakes’’ six years ago and has been here ever since. Pre­vi­ously a flo­ral de­signer, Anna diver­si­fied into event man­age­ment which she now fo­cuses on fully, con­tract­ing to ma­jor sports events in­clud­ing Chal­lenge Wanaka and The Audi Quat­tro Win­ter Games NZ.

Anna’s tran­si­tion into event man­age­ment started as a vol­un­teer in 2007.

She helped de­liver the South Is­land’s first fundrais­ing event for Cat­Walk Spinal In­jury Re­search Trust.

Anna and the team raised an in­cred­i­ble $250,000 host­ing a black tie gala din­ner.

Hav­ing spent three and a half months in the Bur­wood spinal unit fol­low­ing a car ac­ci­dent, Cat­Walk is a cause close to Anna and one she is clearly pas­sion­ate about. An am­bas­sador and event or­gan­iser, she is cur­rently or­gan­is­ing the Re­mark­able Black Tie fundraiser for Queen­stown this April, and vol­un­teers con­sid­er­able time and en­ergy to the or­gan­i­sa­tion.

Hav­ing made the de­ci­sion to live in Wanaka, Anna wanted to be more ac­tive in her lo­cal com­mu­nity and last year joined two boards - Kahu Youth and Te Kakano.

‘‘I was keen to fur­ther my ex­pe­ri­ence with gov­er­nance roles. I don’t spend much time around teenagers so Kahu ap­pealed to me, know­ing I could gain a bet­ter un­der­stand­ing of what they are into and what is­sues are af­fect­ing them. I have al­ways loved the Te Kakano ini­tia­tive and have a strong affin­ity with their vi­sion of na­tive restora­tion and build­ing com­mu­ni­ties. I help with HR com­po­nents and the com­mer­cial side of op­er­a­tions and of course gen­eral gov­er­nance. Even in a rel­a­tively short time be­ing in­volved, I am al­ready lov­ing see­ing the trusts moving for­ward in such pos­i­tive di­rec­tions.’’

Anna jug­gles a lot to com­mit to vol­un­teer­ing, but makes it a pri­or­ity and makes it work.

‘‘Some­times I don’t feel I have enough time – jug­gling work, life and vol­un­teer­ing; but I value the roles and al­though it’s hard, it’s to­tally worth it. I am a lit­tle cog in the wheel and I am proud to be part of a jour­ney of con­tin­ual growth and devel­op­ment within trusts I am pas­sion­ate about. I have gained so much; new skills and un­der­stand­ing and I have met such a di­verse group of peo­ple, whose paths I wouldn’t nor­mally cross. To have them share their stories with me, and to be part of their com­mu­nity feels a real priv­i­lege.’’

❚ Gil­lian White is Vol­un­teer­ing Cen­tral’s se­nior co­or­di­na­tor. Vol­un­teer­ing Cen­tral is an ini­tia­tive of Cen­tral Lakes Trust and seeks to raise aware­ness of and sup­port vol­un­teer­ing across the Cen­tral Otago Lakes Dis­trict.

Wanaka res­i­dent and vol­un­teer Anna Hiatt.

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