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Barnardos celebrates 50 years of helping NZ children

14 November 2019

Barnardos celebrates 50 years of helping children to shine bright in Aotearoa

Today Barnardos New Zealand hosted our 2019 Annual General Meeting at Te Wharewaka o Poneke in Te Whanganui-a-Tara. It was a celebration of Barnardos’ work over the past year supporting almost 50,000 children and young people and working at family, whānau, community, and national levels.

2019 marks a significant milestone for Barnardos, as it is the 50th year since our organisation was formally established as an incorporated society in New Zealand. Today at Barnardos we continue working towards the vision of ‘An Aotearoa New Zealand where every child shines bright’.

“Every day, we are working to build communities throughout Aotearoa where children and young people are nurtured and supported to reach their full potential. This is no small task,” says Barnardos Chief Executive Mike Munnelly. “Too many children and young people in Aotearoa are impacted by family poverty and income inequality, violence and abuse, poor mental health, and a lack of the basics, such as safe and healthy housing,” he says.

In the past year Barnardos provided centre-based and home-based early learning services to over 3,300 children, helping support children in their crucial early years of life to develop and learn. Our 0800 What’s Up? helpline answered 19,134 calls and web chats from children and young people. We helped 24,275 children, young people, and caregivers through our face-to-face Child and Family Services.

Alongside delivering these direct services, in the past year Barnardos’ Advocacy contributed to a number of significant system change reviews by bringing a focus on children, and we helped shape policy and legislative change to support better outcomes for children and their families and whānau. This includes influencing the Child Poverty Reduction Act 2018 and New Zealand’s first ever Child and Youth Wellbeing Strategy.

As part of celebrating Barnardos’ 50th AGM, three life memberships were awarded to individuals who have made a significant and long-lasting contribution to the organisation’s work. Two were granted to our past Chief Executives Murray Edridge and Jeff Sanders, who along with Ian Calder, the founding Chief Executive also present today and already a life member, have successfully led the organisation over the last 50 years. Board chair James Te Puni noted that "a collective 50 years of leadership of an organisation serving those in need is an eloquent testament to the values, energy and quality of these three rangatira. It is timely to honour all three on our 50th anniversary of incorporation."

Outgoing Board member Rachel Enosa, CEO of The Cause Collective, the South Auckland Pacific social change agency, was also awarded a Barnardos Life Membership, recognising her service to the Barnardos Board. Speaking today, Board Chair James Te Puni emphasised her contributions to Barnardos, saying "Rachel has been a passionate and skilled contributor to the Board for seven years. Her strategic focus has ensured all our work is child and whānau focused; and as a strong voice for Pacific children and families, Rachel's positive influence will remain long into the future. She richly deserves this honour".

As Barnardos celebrates its mahi over the year past, Mr Munnelly says that Barnardos “looks strongly towards the future. The year ahead is one of challenge and opportunity, and as Aotearoa’s national children’s charity, Barnardos continues to be at the forefront of efforts towards an Aotearoa where every child shines bright.

ENDS

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