Com­pas­sion for com­mu­nity

Matamata Chronicle - - Your Paper, Your Place - REXINE HAWES

‘‘It made me want to get more in­volved with what­ever I could do.’’

And so, just like the peo­ple in Ayr­shire, she rolled her sleeves up and got in­volved.

In 1980, she was of­fered an op­por­tu­nity to train as a re­la­tion­ships coun­sel­lor and then be­came a coun­sel­lor, tu­tor and su­per­vi­sor with now-dis­es­tab­lished Re­la­tion­ships Aotearoa – orig­i­nally, Mar­riage Guid­ance.

She also co-founded Tough Love in Mata­mata in the 1980s.

She be­came a Fam­ily Court Me­di­a­tor, and it was go­ing in to bat for chil­dren caught up in cus­tody and ac­cess is­sues that re­ally got her blood pump­ing.

‘‘I worked with a lot of cou­ples. It was so sat­is­fy­ing.

‘‘Al­though you want ev­ery­one’s needs to be met, I came out barefaced, bat­tling for the kids.’’

When she left the raw, emo­tional side of re­la­tion­ships af­ter 17 years, it was for the more joy­ful side as a mar­riage cel­e­brant.

Six­teen years later, she peo­ple tie the knot.

‘‘I just love it, it’s won­der­ful to be with a cou­ple as they start their life jour­ney to­gether.’’

In­stead of a fee, she asks her cou­ples to do­nate to Ro­tary’s End Po­lio Now cam­paign, which earned her a Ro­tary Paul Har­ris Fel­low in 2013.

When Vic­tim Sup­port was es­tab­lished in New Zealand in 1990, the po­lice ap­proached Hunter to be in­volved as a foun­da­tion mem­ber.

‘‘In coun­selling and vic­tim sup­port, al­though dif­fer­ent, you are en­abling and em­pow­er­ing peo­ple. Both have been such a piv­otal part of my life.’’ still helps

She was chair of the Vic­tim Sup­port Waikato Dis­trict exec for 14 years and has now passed the ba­ton over and serves as a board mem­ber.

She also serves as a ses­sion clerk with Mata­mata’s St An­drews Pres­by­te­rian Church, where she has been an el­der for over 25 years.

Al­though it was Hunter’s early teach­ing that in­spired her to give to oth­ers, she says her words to live by come from her good friend, and Ro­tar­ian Gra­ham Guil­ford.

‘‘If you don’t get in­volved with your com­mu­nity, you are just a bunch of peo­ple liv­ing in the same place.’’

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