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Citizens Advice Bureau virtually open

16 October 2019

CAB Whangarei might be temporarily homeless but it is still busy giving advice.

Bureau volunteers and staff left the Old Town Hall / Municipal Building with the other tenants and members of the public, in a big rush last Thursday to the sound of the smoke alarm.

While still in mourning over the damage done to some of the much-loved building, the bureau was up and running from the cloud - which includes a virtual bureau - from Monday morning this week.

The public can leave messages on the bureau phone, 438 8046, or send email enquiries to whangarei@cab.org.nz, which will be responded to within the day by volunteers working from home.

There is also an on-line live chat service available on the cab.org.nz website. Only four bureau in the country respond to these chats and Whangarei is one of them, so Whangarei clients will likely still be having written conversations with a local volunteer.

Coordinator Moea Armstrong said the volunteers and staff on duty at the time of the fire were still shaken by the experience.

“We all love the building and appreciate how fortunate we are to work there. I always love opening the main doors in the morning to let the sun in and the building’s day begin. There is always the sense of that being done for more than a century, by those who came before us.”

She said the detail in the building was a tribute to the craftspeople of the early 20th century. “They took a real pride in their ornate work, in the tiling and the balustrades in particular. That copper tower was made to last, and it did through hours of fire. The beauty of its new colours is stunning.

“We are so grateful for the work of the fire fighters, and the council staff who are now trying to find us all a temporary home.”

There are many users of the bureau’s meeting room and CAB is trying to find alternative low-cost venues for them, particularly the regular evening groups.

It has had to cancel a free legal advice evening clinic this week.

A CAB seminar to help new migrants settle in the country is going ahead next Wednesday October 23 at 9.30am–11.30am in the May Bain Room of the Library on Rust Avenue. The subject is how to settle disagreements.

Guest speaker is Char Going from Taitokerau Community Law on the type of issues the Disputes Tribunal hears. This will be followed by a snapshot of all the different mediation processes including the offices of the Ombudsmen, and telecommunication and power company dispute resolution processes.

All members of the public are welcome to attend the seminar.


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