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Retirees and business communities steal limelight

Auckland’s homeless, retirees and business communities take centre stage

Twenty six inspiring Aucklanders graduated from the Committee for Auckland’s Future Leaders Programme at a ceremony at the Auckland Museum last night, but it was the projects they pioneered that stole the limelight.

To culminate the intensive two-year programme, the leaders were challenged to create a legacy programme to contribute to the Committee’s vision of seeing Auckland become one of the world’s great places to live and work and visit.  The four projects for 2009 are: People Valuing People, Building Stronger Communities, WiSE Guides and Asia Bridge.

People Valuing People forged a partnership between the Auckland City Mission and Ngati Whatua O Orakei, creating connections with Auckland's homeless community – 70 per cent of which are Maori.

The programme began with two planting days at which more than 6,000 native seedlings were planted. The 35-40 homeless people who took part in events during the year were welcomed to Orakei Marae with a powhiri and hangi and many attended a traditional weaving class.

 

Members of the homeless community established a vegetable garden on Ngati Whatua land which they will tend to twice a week for the next six months with produce being used by Auckland City Mission.

Gary Lawson, part of the People Valuing People project, describes it as a journey that has surprised and touched the members of the team in ways they could have never expected.

“We’ve become part of a community in Auckland we knew nothing about. Now we’re inspired, not only by what we’ve seen unfold, but by what we think is the potential of this model,” says Gary.

Two more programmes use the skills and enthusiasm of retired Aucklanders to the benefit of the community and Auckland.

Building Stronger Communities established a volunteer programme where migrants and retirees assisted with one-on-one reading and childcare assistance programmes at Onehunga Primary School, the first step in an initiative to unite communities through local schools.  WiSE Guides, working together with Tourism Auckland, saw a troop of seniors take to CBD streets working as friendly guides for visitors to Auckland. The team hope the programme will be further developed for the 2011 Rugby World Cup. 

Finally, Asia Bridge links Asian investors with New Zealand businesses to help grow Auckland’s economy though a series of internships and networking opportunities.

Executive Director of the Committee for Auckland Kaaren Goodall is particularly pleased with the community connections and the sophisticated collaboration in each project.

“This is the third intake of the Future Leaders Programme and we are exceedingly proud of this class of graduates. They were selected because of their leadership skills and shared passion for making Auckland a great place to work and live - the projects show what small groups of savvy, committed people can achieve in a short time ” she says.

The Futures Leaders were nominated to enter the programme by Committee for Auckland members from within their organisations.

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