On The Ground Support Staff Ready To Go

we can help

We know that times have been tough in recent years in the Hurunui. First the droughts and then the November earthquakes have left many people struggling to cope with insurance red tape, draughty broken homes, businesses that have taken a knock as well as the emotional effects of all of this.

We have good news.

A new team of support staff is now out and about in Hurunui ready to help residents through their drought and earthquake recoveries.

Community Wellbeing North Canterbury and Presbyterian Support have employed five staff to provide on-the-ground, one-on-one support and advice. The positions have been funded by the Lottery Hurunui Kaikoura Marlborough Earthquake Relief Fund and the Canterbury District Health Board.

The five positions include a social worker, outreach coordinator, and workforce wellbeing facilitator and two navigators. “Navigators“ can help guide and support you through the recovery process. They will connect you to the information, local services and supports for every aspect from insurance issues to temporary accommodation to the stresses earthquakes can cause.

Community Wellbeing North Canterbury are also in the process of recruiting a youth worker and another social worker, focused on children, young people and their families.

“We want to say thank you to the Lottery Grant Board for all their support in funding a number of these positions to support the Hurunui community and for Canterbury District Health Board putting funding forward too,” says Rochelle Faimalo, Social Recovery Coordinator
“The team are enthusiastic to get out to our earthquake affected communities and to be working to support people through the recovery.”

Mayor Winton Dalley says he is relieved and pleased support is finally getting underway.

“We are six months past the 14 November earthquake and coming into winter. Now more than ever our residents need this support. This coupled with the residential advisory service from Community Law Canterbury means we will have better knowledge about the challenges our people are facing and how we can address these challenges,” says Mayor Dalley.

The new support staff will join the established Community Recovery team based at the Hurunui District Council working alongside council team members.

We would really encourage anyone who would like some support or advice (or knows someone that could benefit) to get in contact. The Community Recovery Team can be contacted on 0800 155 180 or email hurunuieq@wellbeingnc.org.nz.


Celine Donovan – Family Social Worker
Celine lives in North Canterbury and has been in working in the district for the past nine years. She is aware of and has followed the challenges Hurunui communities having been facing since the earthquake and from the three-year drought. She is passionate about her work and is looking forward to using her skills to alleviate the stress some people are experiencing. As a rural person she is pleased to have the opportunity to spend time in such a stunning part of the country working with Hurunui’s diverse communities.

Annie McLean – Navigator
Annie will be a familiar face to many having previously worked for the Amuri Community Health Centre and as a coordinator of the Waiau Recovery Hub. As a Waiau resident Annie knows first-hand the impact of the earthquakes and has been a key community member during the response and recovery to the earthquake. She will be working with residents in Hanmer Springs, Mt Lyford, Waiau, Culverden and Rotherham as a navigator to guide and support them through the recovery process.

Alastair White – Navigator
Alastair has extensive experience working for the past six years in the Christchurch earthquakes recovery as a navigator and is well versed in the challenges communities face when trying to rebound from an earthquake. He has in-depth of knowledge about insurance issues, temporary accommodation requirements, and the stresses earthquakes can cause. Alastair has already been out and about in the district touching base with communities. He’s looking forward to working one on one with those needing the navigation service from Waikari, Hawarden, Scargill, Greta Valley, Cheviot and north of Cheviot, and is pleased to have the opportunity to work in such a beautiful part of Canterbury.

Maria Lester – Hurunui Outreach Coordinator
Maria has roots in Hurunui, living and raising her family in Hawarden. She has extensive experience as a counsellor and family therapist and in this role will be recruiting, training and organising door knocks to affected communities to check in with how our residents are doing and make sure they have access to the services they need.

Kim Chamberlain – Workforce Wellbeing Facilitator
Kim will be providing support to those working in the recovery as volunteers and or paid roles. She is a very experienced facilitator/supervisor/mentor. She has worked with many community based organisations in the greater Christchurch area, over the past six years, providing supervision for workers and organisational strengthening, through the changes that have occurred post-quake. She has first-hand knowledge about the importance of making sure those working on the frontline have support, especially those who may also be dealing with of the earthquakes in their personal lives. If you are interested in talking to Kim please feel free to email workforce@wellbeingnc.org.nz, or phone 021 851 318.