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Getting Through Together Digest: 24th June 2020

Wednesday, June 24, 2020   Posted in: Newsletters By: Administrator With tags: newsletter, mental wellbeing, resilience, disabilities, accessibility, Matariki

Kia ora. The noho rāhui/ lockdown forced us to rethink many things, including ways of working and being in a world where leaving the house was deemed a no-go.

After enjoying a few COVID-19 free weeks, it's looking like we'll have to adjust our mindsets once again as more Kiwis return from overseas. Just like last time, we'll get through it - together.

Please spare a thought for the thousands of Kiwis currently holed up in hotels with very strict rules around their movement. A combination of being unable to reconnect face-to-face with whānau and friends after being overseas, uncertainty about the future plus trying to look after their wellbeing from inside a small room is difficult. Keep these people in your thoughts – and we send plenty of aroha your way if this is you, or someone you know.

In this issue, we hear from disability advocates Ruth Jones and Gary Williams, whose worlds opened up during noho rāhui. We share the story of a former flight attendant who has found a new calling after losing his job - it's a real message of hope that many may need to hear right now. We also share some of the ways essential workers at NZ Post have been getting through, and welcome the Māori New Year with Matariki 101!

Arohanui,
All Right? and the Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand

Making a post-COVID accessible world for all

During the pandemic the world became more accessible, as businesses and organisations moved online.

For Christchurch couple, Ruth Jones and Gary Williams, it meant they could finally order food online from their local takeaway joint and ‘attend’ the ballet. 

“Let that same innovation continue,” says Ruth.

Gary and Ruth, who both have mobility impairments, are used to problem solving in a world that is mostly designed for able-bodied people. Jones has used a scooter since the age of 17.

Now that noho rāhui has opened up a world of possibilities, they hope New Zealand builds on this and other connected issues.

Read more of Ruth and Gary's story.

Working for a better future after redundancy

Redundancy was not something 24 year-old Billy Alexander ever imagined he would have to face so soon in his career as a flight attendant.

Billy and partner Skye Crawford, 21, were among those who lost their jobs at Air New Zealand during noho rāhui.

Billy says it was a job he loved and one he saw himself being in for at least ten years.

After a really tough couple of months, he has now landed what may just be the perfect role for him – a Customer Service Representative at the Ministry of Social Development.

“I think I am probably meant to be here because I know exactly how it feels. I can really empathise with those at the other end of the line. I know exactly how it feels to be made redundant and to be there thinking ‘oh my god what do I do’.”

Read more of Billy and Skye's story, including how they supported each other through this tough time.

NZ Post on getting through COVID-19

The challenges of COVID-19 for the essential workers of NZ Post were so varied that “riding the coronacoaster” has been their world for the past 2.5 months.

Senior Leadership & Culture Consultant at NZ Post Lisa Fawcett, has always believed that promoting the idea of maintaining mental health - in the same way that we do physical health - is extremely important.

As an essential service, NZ Post found the noho rāhui experience difficult at times for their staff. When COVID-19 began, Lisa reached out to the Getting Through Together team to order wellbeing posters for their postal delivery sites and processing centres.

“When the posters become part of the wallpaper and people are seeing them all the time, they become part of your frame of reference,” she says. “It’s become part of our language and the key message that came out of our Prime Minister’s mouth and then out of many other people’s mouth: be kind. Just be kind.”

Many of NZ Post’s operational sites still have the posters on display. As the Christchurch community knows all too well, it can be a long path after tough times to feeling okay again.

“I’m looking forward to seeing where the posters end up,” Lisa says. “They’re really good messages for everybody – all the time.”

Read more about the experience of essential workers at NZ Post.

Order our latest Getting Through Together posters for your workplace, school or home.

Welcoming Matariki and Te Mātahi o te Tau

Matariki is the Māori name for the cluster of stars also known as the Pleiades. It rises in mid-winter and heralds the start of a new year.

It is a great opportunity to reflect on the past, be present in the moment and plan for the future.

Sparklers at Home have created an awesome suite of Matariki activities which we'll share with you over the next few weeks.

Check out this Sparklers at Home article to learn more about the origins and significance of Matariki, the whetū/ stars and what they represent, and the importance of Maramataka - the Māori lunar calendar.

Not all right?

For many of us, these new challenges and the loss of our regular routines is causing stress. We want you to know that however you’re feeling, there is someone to talk to and free help available. It’s okay to reach out if you need to - we all need a bit of support from time-to-time.

Call or text 1737 to speak with a trained counsellor anytime - it’s free and completely confidential. You can also call Lifeline on 0800 543354 or text HELP to 4357.

Check out the Mental Health Foundation’s website for further advice on how to stay mentally well during this time.

Until next time, stay well Aotearoa.
And remember, we'll get through this - together.


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Healthy Christchurch Champions

  • Canterbury District Health Board
  • Christchurch City Council
  • Environment Canterbury
  • Ministry of Health
  • Ngai Tahu
  • NZ Police
  • Pegasus Health
  • University of Otago, Christchurch