Making volunteering a priority
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.