Our Age Connect Champions

Creating Connections Champion

October 15th, 2019

The finalists in this category include people and organisations who  willingly and consistently do something or provide something that supports older people being able to stay connected with their community.



The finalist were:

Fitzgerald Construction Ltd   – For the second year running Fitzgerald Construction have willingly given free use of their community van to groups taking older people on outings.

SeniorNet –   This amazing group have been helping seniors come to grips with the internet and digital technology for quarter of a century. SeniorNet understand how important these ever advancing technologies will be in our lives and what they can do to help us be better connected.

Gateway Housing Trust’s “The Shed”  –  “The Shed” in Motueka is a mental health support facility which includes support for older people. The Shed has taken the step to provide a free regular weekly morning Tea &Talk event for the older members of the Motueka community. It has been wholeheartedly embraced by the team at the Shed and by those who come to enjoy it.

Nelson West Rotary Club – many of Nelson West Rotary members  are volunteer drivers. Russell Egan has been the driving force behind the Nelson hospital carpark buggy. The Nelson West Rotary drivers also drive for Red Cross and AgeConnect van trips.  They also help run the Age Concern Carfit programme to make sure the set up in a car changes to the changing needs of it’s older driver.


The Winner of this Category was:

Bowater Toyota  – Bowater Toyota are the perfect example of a business whose ethics are so strongly bound in helping the very communities that have helped them succeed, they offer a community van for groups to use.  AgeConnect use it often. The number of crinkly faces that have come back from a trip in that van, beaming…full of hope and excitement, restored with reasons to get up in the morning …well, they are in the thousands now. AgeConnect are not the only ones who have been able to use those wheels to help our older community members. Short trips and long, with Bowater Toyota covering all of the running costs of housing the van, insurances, registration, maintenance, administration (which Tony Bowater does most of himself) a user just needs to leave the petrol tank full.  They help many groups who cannot afford to have their own vehicle to get out.

Outstanding Elder-Friendly Customer Service Champion

October 7th, 2019

Sometimes, as you age, you get out less and less,… who you encounter …and how they treat you becomes very important … and it can affect your own feelings of worth. The champions in this category provide an oustanding level of customer service that supports older customers feeling respected and connected.


Finalists were:

  • St Stephen’s Drop In Cafe & Op Shop
  • Bunnings
  • Hearing Nelson, and
  • Moutere Inn


The category winner was Tasman District Library – Housebound Book Delivery Service.

For years the Housebound book delivery service has delivered outstanding Elder-friendly Customer Service whilst delivering books to those who cannot leave their own homes. Can you imagine what a lifeline of brain stimulation and human contact these visits are for the people who receive them. Although administered by the Tasman District Library this service is run by very dedicated volunteers whose deep caring for their clients is reflected in their customer service. Kath Bartlett, Annette Gill and Judy Beaumont have all been voluntarily delivering books with this service for TEN years.

AgeConnect Friendly Environment Champion

September 17th, 2019

This category was about recognising those who made sure the physical environment  they provided was especially elder-friendly. The winner was Enliven Presbyterian Support Service’s facility for their Harakeke and Totara Day Programmes.   For those who haven’t seen it, this facility offers a carefully planned venue and environment to act as home for the day for older people living with frail health and/or dementia or alzheimers. These people still live in their own homes but the service Harakeke & Totara provide often gives the carers and families time out from the demands that a high level of care can require. Great forward planning and understanding the needs of older people has resulted in safe, secure, comfortable lounges and a friendly kitchen and dining area, both of which open onto a beautiful fenced garden area with shade sails and social seating. This venue is welcoming and provides perfectly for it’s users. Well done Presbyterian Support Services

Menzshed overall winner

August 26th, 2019

Congratulations to the Menzshed Waimea who were crowned the Supreme AgeConnect Champion winner for 2019.

Menzshed have 140 members – approx 20 of who are there 3-4 days per week. They have sheds that are Aladdin’s caves for those with an interest in carpentry, engineering and design. Men’s Shed Waimea provide a large number of older men a real a sense of purpose –with Men’s mental health in the spotlight, this older demographic is particularly at risk – so to have an anchor in the Menzshed is very important.

Do you know that Menzshed make and install ramps, handrails, grab rails in homes for people on our hospices’s books, so they can be more comfortable and safe at home longer.  They also made lots of children’s toys for our local kindergartens and recently included the residents of Flaxmore Village in the project, taking the toys to them to be painted.

Menzshed also do a lot of intergenerational work. Each week 25 – 30 IHC participants between the ages of 20-40yrs come to the shed and guided by the skilled older volunteers they make pest traps which are used by DOC, friends of flora, TDC, Waimea estuary and more! Menzshed also work with at risk youth who have been in trouble with the law and come through the youth court. Menzhed volunteers use the young men’s community service time to guide them, teaching them useful trades such as carpentry and engineering and instilling work ethic with wonderful results. With pride the Menzhed explain that some of these young men were leaving their time at Menzhed with employment or looking forward to apprenticeships and a changed life…and some new…old…friends. Great stuff.

Menzshed Waimea ticked every award category box on our AgeConnect Champion sheet. It’s fair to say they filled the boxes, then got the boys together to build us some new boxes so they could fill them up too. Menzshed Waimea are our Supreme AgeConnect Champions for 2019.

AgeConnect Champions Awards

August 6th, 2019

The second annual AgeConnect Champions Awards, to recongise all the organisations, businesses and individuals supporting older people in the region, were held on 2 August. These were once again a great success and well attended. Overall we recognised 146 AgeConnect Champions, people who do amazing things to help make Nelson Tasman age-friendly and keep older people connected in their community. There were eight different categories and five finalist in each category. Congratulations to everybody for their AgeConnect Champion Award. We really appreciate all you do and thank you for helping to make Nelson Tasman a better place for older people. Winners are identified below:

AgeConnect-Friendly Environment Champion: Enliven Presbyterian Support Service’s facility for the Harakeke and Totara Day Programmes

Outstanding Elder-friendly Customer Service Champion: Tasman District Library – Housebound Book Delivery Service

Creating Connections Champion: Bowater Toyota

Above and Beyond Champions: Victory Boxing’s Parkinson’s  Programme

One Person Makes a Difference Champion: Sally Curtis & Tyson the horse

Intergenerational Champions: Waimea College

60+ Employer of the Year finalist: Fulton Hogan LTD

Magic FM People’s Choice Champion: Sport Tasman, Richmond Town Hall’s Mary-Ann McNatty and Anna Kuipers

Supreme AgeConnect Champion: Men’s Shed Waimea


AgeConnect Champion: Annette Hodges

January 24th, 2019

AgeConnect ChampionsWinner of the 2018 AgeConnect Champion ‘One Person Makes A Difference’ award is Annette Hodges, who hung up her clippers in December, (seen here in the centre).

At 80 years of age, the ex-registered nurse has, for the last 15 years, offered monthly appointments cutting toenails for arthritis sufferers. She has been committed to preserving the dignity and comfort of her clients.

If you know someone like Annette, who has been making a difference to the lives of older people in the Nelson Tasman, we are now taking nominations for the 2019 AgeConnect Champion Awards. Contact AgeConnect Coordinator Breffni O’Rourke on ageconnect@ageconcernnt.org.nz  or on (03) 5447624 


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