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Age Concern New Zealand Announces 2023 Huia Award Winners

Age Concern New Zealand is so proud to announce the 2023 winners of their Huia Awards.

The Huia Awards are an annual celebration of New Zealand’s older people and those who support them. Each year Age Concern New Zealand awards three recipients a Huia Award. Nominations must show how recipients support older people in Aotearoa and make a positive difference.

“I am thrilled to celebrate Elsie Tonks, Bronwyn Groot, and the Age Concern Auckland Asian Service, as the esteemed winners of our 2023 Huia Awards, says Karen Billings-Jensen, Age Concern New Zealand Chief Executive.

“The three remarkable winners exemplify the values of compassion, commitment, and community support that the Huia Awards celebrate. Their contributions have made a significant difference in the lives of older people, and we hope inspire others to do the same.

“Elsie Tonks, a true stalwart of compassion and dedication, receives a Huia Award for her remarkable 25-year-long volunteer service at the Tait Drive Social Club Luncheon in Napier.

“Elsie has been instrumental in transforming the weekly event into a place of friendship and social connection. Her dedication shines through in the weekly planning of meals and activities, ensuring that everyone has an enjoyable and engaging experience.

“This has been particularly invaluable post-Cyclone Gabrielle with a surge in numbers attending. Elsie responds to this challenge as she has with other challenges, with a shrug of the shoulder and an “Oh well, we’ll just have to manage”.

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“In the face of challenges, Elsie's resilience and caring attitude continue to inspire those around her.

“Bronwyn Groot receives a Huia Award for her relentless advocacy against elder financial abuse and scams including the development of “The Little Black Book of Scams”. From her early days as a bank teller, she recognised the huge impact of scams on older customers and took proactive steps to protect them.

“Her dedication to raising awareness of scams and fraud has had a lasting impact, earning her recognition at both national and international levels.

“The Age Concern Auckland Asian Service does outstanding work in providing essential services and support to older Asian residents living in Auckland. With services offered in Mandarin, Cantonese, Korean, and Japanese, the team ensures that language is never a barrier to accessing vital information and support.

“Their dedication to promoting health, digital literacy, and social connection has made a profound difference in so many older people’s lives. Additionally, their exceptional and innovative communication through WeChat, Facebook, and YouTube, especially during challenging times like the COVID-19 pandemic, has been a lifeline for many older people of the Asian community.

“The circle of three huia feathers in the Age Concern logo portrays the concept of community, friendship, and respect—all things our award recipients will value and uphold, says Billings-Jensen.

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