Our annual report for 2020

Download the full copy with illustrations here.

Note from the Chair

2020 proved to be a real challenge for Aotea Family Support Group staff and trustees. Many of our planned activities and programmes were cancelled or postponed.

Like many organisations we had to scramble to come up with new ways of looking at and implementing most of the services we provided.

Our youth and senior services were especially challenged to adapt their programmes to the situations we faced.

Fortunately, thanks to our funders and hardworking staff we were able to continue providing support where it was needed most.

The community of Aotea were amazingly generous with their donations during 2020. These came at a time when we were all unsure what the future was going to hold, so made it that much sweeter and we really appreciated the support.

Over the 12 months of 2020, Great Barrier Island saw a growth in residents and AFSG have seen this in the use of our services. Most significantly our seniors and youth services.

Going forward into 2021 we hope to continue providing these services and new ones that reflect the need and desires of our community. 2020 showed us we can adapt, and we are in great place to help with those needs that are most pressing on Aotea.

Thank you to all the volunteers, the helpers, the funding and community support. This year was difficult, but we all came together, created a lot of hope, and showed a lot of love.

Here’s hoping 2021 is going to be simpler.

Lisa Eves


‘Taking care of our own’

In the winter of 1988, a group of women founded the Aotea Family Support Group, recognising that there were little resources in the community to support those who were trying to help families.

In the spirit of a community ‘taking care of their own’, the mission of this group became to provide social services to the people of Great Barrier Island that assist in addressing their social, physical, emotional and spiritual needs.

Now, a generation on, the Support Group assists people in need of support of all ages across the island. We employ around 40 staff and reach maybe a third of the community directly with our services, not counting public events like the New Year’s Picnic.

This work is possible thanks to Local and National government agencies, charitable foundations, as well as the generous support of many individuals.

Taking Care Of Our Elders

Providing the very best care

At the Family Support Group we have been providing care and other services to our older community members since 1984. The Home Help Scheme, as it has been traditionally known, is provided under contract to the District Health Board, to help aging people remain in their homes as long as possible. At the same time, it reduces isolation, and it creates employment for our workers.

Our in-home care, with nearly 30 committed care workers, provides the very best of care for our over 65s, ensuring that our clients are able to live healthy and safe lives in their own homes.

We usually have around 50 clients with some being visited up to 5 times a week. To cover that need, we employ part-time care workers, who between them provide typically over 550 hours of home help and personal care every month. They also assist various ACC clients plus post-operative and crisis support clients for limited periods.

Caring for our seniors

Unsung heros

There is no need to be reminded that 2020 has highlighted how vulnerable older people are.

Thanks to the work of a remarkable team of caregivers, the support group plays an important role in keeping our older people safe and healthy in their own homes.

The Support Group and our clients are incredibly lucky to have such dedicated women and men working for us. Our care workers are the back-bone of our organization and without them the elderly on the island would be lost.

Many of the people in their care have a story to tell of how their carer solved a big problem for them, or went out of their way to be of assistance, or made their routine visit a special occasion – especially for someone living alone.

The Home Maintenance Programme

Making homes safer

In 2017 we piloted this new program because we saw there was a need for our older clients to get small jobs done around their homes that they couldn’t do themselves. This initiative was possible thanks to Local Board support.

The Support Group employed Gavin Dewar as our ‘Home Handy Man’ from the beginning and who has since then completed many jobs such as clearing gutters, cutting up logs for firewood or installing handrails for our clients and other elderly in the community.

These are all small jobs that eliminate some stress for our seniors and make their homes safer.

Who said getting older is not fun?

Positive activities for older residents

Here at Aotea Family Support we like to make aging as positive and enjoyable as possible. While we recognize that getting older isn’t always fun health-wise, we are committed to providing as many positive activities as we can to help make this time more stress-free.

For over 20 years, the monthly Over 60s Meals have been a very popular feature. These are meals that allow our older residents to socialize at different venues each month with transport provided.

A relatively new programme in recent years are the Senior Activities, a monthly outing and shared picnic lunch at different locations each month. These have proved very popular and are hosted by John and Peggy Garlick.

Along with these services we also run occasional workshops and provide individual assistance as required, all with the aim to support older people to “live healthy, fulfilling, independent lives and to fully participate in the community.”

Youth Programmes

The After School Programme

Making good on a disrupted year

The programme this year suffered from many interruptions and so struggled to achieve regular weekly group activities and team building. Nevertheless, a very successful overnight trip to Kaikoura Island made up for that.

School Holiday Programme

Only on Great Barrier Island

The two fortnightly events that could be organised were very well attended and followed the successful formula of packing lots of excitement suitable for a range of ages at locations across the island. Thanks to the many inspiring facilitators stepping forwards the island children once again were able to take part in many fun and special activities only possible on Great Barrie Island.

Mainly Music

Growing up with music

Every Monday, pre-school children come to the Claris Conference Centre where Keri and her volunteer helpers organised the weekly Mainly Music session. Parents were invited to come along with their pre-schoolers and their favourite instruments.

Mentoring young people

Ready, set, go!

Good experience with a ‘big buddy’ programme led the trust to develop an on-going Aotea Mentoring Project, led by Deborah Badraun. Thanks to seed funding from the St Johns Op Shop, the programme got started, gained momentum with an injection of funds from MSD and then got substantial funding through the Auckland Foundation. Mentors work with youth enrolled at school, 13 years and older.

The programme’s goal is to develop a best practice model for an effective and safe youth mentoring programme on our island. Mentors will be matched with selected young people aged 12 and over, who would benefit from the guidance and support that a mentoring relationship can offer.

Community Support

The Community Worker

An open door for anyone in need

Kellie Cleave is the GBI Community Worker. Based in the annex of the Health Centre, she was available 4 days a week to give advice, advocate on behalf of clients with government agencies, make referrals and generally help problem solve. As part of outreach, Kellie made herself available at Motairehe Marae, Fitzroy and Tryphena on a weekly basis.

The Community Worker also organised …

  • Manawa ‘breathe’ sessions as mental health support for mothers and to have time off, along with weekly child minding.
  • Two First Aid courses with 70 participants.
  • Working with Kathy Cumming, a Parenting Hui to give a chance to talk about common issues, tools and strategies to offer each other mutual support.
  • Liaison with the Social Workers In School

Kellie also takes part in regular interagency team meetings along with school principals, police and health centre staff.

Free legal consultations

Robin Harrington is an experienced lawyer who specialises in civil (as opposed to criminal) dispute work – mostly involving relationship property (separation and divorce), trusts, contracts, property and neighbour issues.

She made herself available on several dates for free 45 minute consultations.

Perinatal workshop

In November, Liora Noy from Perinatal Anxiety & Depression Aotearoa, and with the assistance of Aotea Health came over to the island to talk about perinatal wellbeing.

The presentation was about recognising symptoms, self-care, ACT (Acceptance Commitment Therapy), secure attachment, positive psychology, self-compassion, responsive parenting and how this helps with depression and anxiety. 30 parents attended.

Building Awesome Whānau

This course from the Parenting Place drew on the wisdom of mātauranga Māori and the best of the Toolbox, to offer participating parents and their family a kaupapa that is unique to Aotearoa.

The Crisis Support Fund

Through our office and the community worker, support for individuals and families in crisis was provided, assisting with flights, food, gas, generator fuel etc

Need to talk?

Counselling for parents and caregivers

People who want to sit down with a professional and, in confidence, talk through issues they are having to deal with, can do so with Cait Devey who is an accredited counsellor and resident on the island.

Counselling for children and their families is subsidised thanks to the Ministry for Children, Oranga Tamariki, and the Ministry of Health.

GBI Emergency Response Team (ERT)

Resilient community

A representative from AFSG management staff sit with the GBI emergency response team to add our voice and support services in times of island wide emergencies.

Community Group Huis

All together now

The not-for-profit groups from the island in normal times come together 4 times a year, to share experiences, plan projects together and to earn from each other or visitors. The Support Group facilitates the events with advertising, organisation and communication.


New Year’s Picnic 2020

A generous community

At our annual fundraiser, the 2020 New Year’s Picnic, we raised over 8,400 dollars thanks to generous donors, auction and raffle sponsors as well as stall holder fees. This money always goes directly towards supporting families and especially those in crisis. This event is possible thanks to a subsidy from the Great Barrier Local Board.

There are many businesses that sponsor the New Year’s Picnic every year and thus are critical for funding the support that we can offer, particularly those that otherwise would fall through the gaps. The substantial donations and in-kind services given for the New Year’s Picnic deserve special mention as it makes possible the AFSG Crisis Support Fund, available for resident families and individuals who find themselves in need without support from family or government, due to illness, death or other unfortunate circumstances.

Fern Edmonds Memorial Fund

Improving mental health practices

Fern Edmonds died on 8th October 2019 from suicide. Her parents wanted to set up a fund in her memory for the Great Barrier Island community.  This is to be used to understand good mental health, support people who are struggling and learn how to be stronger when things are going wrong.

The Aotea Family Support Group agreed to act as umbrella and has already received dozens of donations from people who understand the need for better mental health support.

The purposes for how this fund should be used include: 
– Developing a support system that takes into consideration peoples isolation, stress levels, grief, etc. by employing a community support person who could visit people to check how they are;
– Inviting key speakers, e.g. Mike King, to speak on mental health (including at schools);
– Providing better care and support to the caregivers;
– Teaching mindfulness, yoga and meditation in the schools to strengthen good mental health practices. 

This fund is managed by the Aotea Family Support Group with input from the community and the Aotea Health team.

Youth Opportunity Grant

Encouraging ambitious dreams

The grant is aimed at 15 to 24 years old who want to start getting the skills required to reach their dream jobs. AFSG’s Youth Opportunity Grant can make what seems impossible possible for a successful applicant.

Thanks to generous donations, every 2 years since 2009 AFSG has been granting local youth with inspiring proposals with up to $2000.

Past recipients have had the chance to train on superyachts, compete in a Bali surf comp, travel to Vietnam and Cambodia with the World Challenge Org, and most recently, an internship at Disneyland, and travel to a golfing event were funded.

Youth who have an ambitious dream but feel it is just out of reach, are strongly encouraged to apply.

Administration and support

The services and activities of the Support Group are possible no little thanks to the capable work of our longest-serving employee, Sue Thompson.

MSD Approved Provider

As a result of the annual audit by MSD, we maintained our status as Approved Provider.

Old School Building

Thanks to the continued support from the Tryphena Hall Committee, the Support Group benefits from an excellent office space. The Local Board paid for repainting and reroofing of the building in 2020.

Policies reviewed
in the past year

  • 4.9 Pandemic Policy 30.4.20
  • 7.3 Umbrella Group Policy 30.4.20
  • 3.6 Monies Held Policy 17.11.20
  • Umbrella Group Contract 17.11.20


The vehicles operated by the trust consists of 4 Toyotas, that is two vans and two passenger cars. Our 7-seater Toyota Kluger has a hybrid engine and while it does most mileage, it runs most efficiently saving the trust a much larger fuel bill while reducing carbon emissions a little.

Health and Safety

The Trust regularly reviewed Health and Safety policies for all activities and places of work. There were no notifiable accidents during the year.

Our supporters:
Thank you

The Aotea Family Support Group Charitable Trust is a charity providing the residents of Great Barrier Island with a range of social services, resources, and organised events with public and private funding. The work of the Support Group is made possible through financial assistance from institutional funders, as well as our supporters and partners.

The Support Group depends hugely on the in-kind support provided from many that can’t be named individually here, not least to avoid inadvertently omitting the most generous.

Six child car seats available for loan from the Community Worker’s office were funded by the Police Managers Guild Trust, along with instruments for the Mainly Music sessions.

We also have many other organisations that collaborated or assisted with providing venues and other resources, including Motairehe and Kawa Marae, St John’s Church, the Great Barrier Heritage Village and Art Gallery, Barrier Social Club and Claris Sports Club, the schools at Mulberry Grove, Kaitoke and Okiwi, as well as the Sea Education Aotea Trust, the Golf Club and Glenfern Sanctuary.

New Year’s Picnic sponsors

Particular thanks are due to Rennie Cox Lawyers, Broady’s, Fly My Sky, Chaos Charters, Aotea Gas/ELGAS, Claris Store, Aotea Contractors, Max Howard, GBI Golf Club, Mount St Paul’s Estate, AB Fuels, The Currach Irish Pub, Shiny Paua Paddle Boards and Kayak Hire, My Fat Puku, Barrier Air, Stonewall Store, Bike Barn, Windy Hill Rosalie Bay Catchment Trust, Dave Erickson, Barrier ITM, Tipi and Bob’s Waterfront Lodge, Aotea Holistic Therapies, Great Barrier Pharmacy, Stray Possum Lodge, Barrier Automotive, and Swallow Catering, who all gave in-kind donations worth 100 to 1,000 dollars each for auction and raffle prizes at the New Year’s Picnic.

Our funders

The Support Group is a non-governmental organisation and receives funding from the Ministry of Social Development, the Ministry of Children Oranga Tamariki, the Ministry of Health, ACC, the Auckland District Health Board, Foundation North, the Lottery Grants Board, Auckland Foundation, Auckland Council, the Great Barrier Local Board, and the Department of Internal Affairs with the Community Organisations Grants Scheme, as well as donations from within the community.

The Great Barrier Island Local Board is most involved with our work and has set aside $40,000 per year to support AFSG ‘to develop and deliver a range of community support and capacity building services to the local community.’ The money is not tied to specific activities but the overall outcomes that we plan to achieve for our community members with our services. That contributes to costs of the after school and holiday programmes, senior’s events, two community vans, parenting workshops, crisis support and much more. For the board our work contributes to the priority that “We have more residents and visitors, but we won’t lose our way of life.”

Our staff and trustees

Trustees during this year were Lisa Eves (chair), Sue Eves (treasurer), Norm Winger, Hope Munro, Ralph Golaboski (resigned May) , Fenella Christian (from May).

Staff: Sue Thompson, Rendt Gorter, Sue Eves, Kellie Cleave, Keri Lyon, Lisa Eves, Deborah Badraun, Sam Grimshaw

Volunteers: Too many to name.

Our patrons

Lastly, thank you to our long-standing patronesses, Fenella Christian and Maud McLean.

Thank you.

2020 Performance Report

Family Services

Objectives and servicesPlannedOutputs
Family support … for Families (esp. with children at risk of abuse, harm or offending.), … to enable families to function effectively to help them avoid and manage crises better.
General family focused support services, including education, advocacy, crisis assistance, counselling and referral for assistance.MProvide advice, referral, advocate on behalf with govt agencies, provide crisis assistance. Advice on scholarships for boarding school.144 families assisted (incl advocacy, crisis assistance, workshops, referrals to counselling etc) via Kellie (total) 167 families received crisis assistance (total)
Parenting workshops incl. awareness of advocacy services.AOrganise an event for new mums (could be a hui with a nurse). Organise another workshop for parents with a facilitator. 45 parents at workshops (total)  
Monitor and advocate welfare needs of families.APrepare reports and attend meetings with stakeholders.Regular reporting to funders and attendance at two workshops with the Local Board during the year (online and in person).
Mentor programme: Mentor support for youth.L/MDevelop as a low-key service with defined needs, outcomes and policies, with own or outside funding as required.6 trained mentors (total) 6 children with mentors (total)
Youth Programmes … for Young people 11-17 years old to support young people to grow positively into responsible and successful young adults.
After School Activity Programmes for Year 7/8 primary school (11-13) and invited year 9s.Weekly after school activities North, South and Central. Plus an on-island camp, if possible.18 enrolments in ASP (total) 32 enroled and participating in ASP on average (avg) 22 ASP events  (total) 10 youth on average at ASP events  (avg)
Youth trip(s)Organise an off-island trip to Auckland with Y8s.Cancelled
Other Youth Engagement Projects.Youth fundraising, engagement with hub students, topical youth projects.Provided activity packs for 200 pre-school and school children during the first 2020 lockdown.
Family events  … for Families with children… to organise family friendly, alcohol free events and to provide families with organized activities for children in the school holidays.
New Year’s PicnicAHold NYP at Sports Club.1800 people at New Years Picnic (total)
Family Picnics A A non-commercial, family-friendly, alcohol free eventEvent to be held at a time and place to be determined.Events postponed to 2021.
School Holiday ProgrammesA/L/MOrganise 2-week programmes every term break and summer holiday.

30 SHP days delivered (total) 48 children enroled in SHP (avg) 387 sum of children attended SHP each day (avg) 19 children on average each day at the SHP (avg)
Mainly Music EventsMMonthly music events for pre-schoolers with a parent.22 children on average at Mainly Music events (avg) 13 parents on average at Mainly Music (avg)

Senior Services

Objectives and servicesPlanned outputsResources
Caregiving… for clients referred from DHB (via AH), ACC & veterans affairs … to provide homehelp services.
Caregiving services for DHB, ACC and VA clientsTrained caregivers provide home help; Regular supervisory visits to ensure required care is provided, H&S maintained, other issues addressed or referred.23 care workers employed (avg) 5 new care workers employed (total) 5 care workers resigned (total) 80 active DHB clients (total) 17 new DHB clients (total) 1 active DHB chronic clients (avg) 2 active ACC clients (avg) 3 new ACC clients (total) 1 active veteran affairs clients (avg) 0 new veteran affairs clients (total) 7309 hours of home help (total) 710 hours of personal care provided (total) 2 caregivers trained (in-service) (total)
Home Maintenance servicesLCarry out safety assessments. Handymen fix small safety and maintenance issues with materials provided by client.3 Emergency Alarms installed (total)  
Positive Aging … for Aged residents … to enable older people to fully participate in social and wellbeing activities to experience positive aging and connect with the community.
Over 60s dinnersA Organise monthly meals for up to 50 guests (excl Jan).[1]41 guests (avg)  
Senior Activities programmeA/LOrganise monthly volunteer led events (excl Jan) involving simple physical activity for up to 10 pp. (or more with own transport)[2].6 participants (avg)  
Guided Exercise programmeA Facilitate weekly exercise sessions during arts-n-crafts meetings, such as Dance Movement, Tai Chi or similar, when a trainer is available.cancelled
Health and Wellbeing eventAOrganise information events as opportunity arises.cancelled
Facilitating senior social activitiesAssist with activities organised by and for older people, with community van and in other ways.cancelled
Preparing for Aging … for Aging residents (not clients) … to support residents so they can and do adapt as they enter old age.
Advise aging peopleAProvide advice & info. 
Emergency alarmsSubsidise installation of St John’s emergency alarms. 

Community Services

Objectives and servicesPlanned outputsResources
Adult Education… for Residents … to enable community members to learn and employ new skills and knowledge to live healthy, fulfilling, independent lives; and … toSupport capacity building with life skill learning opportunities including working in partnership with mana whenua.A
Adult education events, L, AOrganise events, such as workshops or seminars, to develop practical skills and knowledge,personal development, life skills, wellbeing,as needs and opportunities arise.Workshop programme postponed.
Resources and booksMake available resources from our office, by our workers and at the Health Centre.Available  
Welfare support: … for Vulnerable people … to monitor needs of, and to provide support for, residents finding themselves in real crisis and in need of support, including those escaping from addiction. And … to enable sharing of resources.
Advisory Services, ReferralsMake referrals, act and advocate for clients67 people assisted with advisory services, referrals, or with accessing other support (total)
Logistical support to access professional service providers (on island)Health: Health promotion, support physical access, empower. Police: Liaison, incl. Victim Support Education: Te Kura liaison, ed initiatives, advocacy ACC enquiries45 clients provided with logistical support, or access to professional service providers on Island (total)  
Navigation/advocacy with government support services (off island)Assist with access to MSD, Corrections, IRD, Justice445 clients aided with navigation/advocacy with off Island government support services  (total)
Crisis supportListening and referrals 
Emergency funding supportProvide financial support when genuine need exists and cannot be met by family and government aid.113 clients provided with emergency funding support (total)
Monitor welfare needs for informed planning and advocacyAMonitor needs and advocate by collect information, attend meetings, liaise with welfare providers and other key informants to report and advocate authentically on welfare needs, to local govt, govt agencies and other stakeholders.Achieved
CounsellingAHProvide counselling to families in crisis with up to 6x subsidized sessions for up to 50 clients.320 people attended Counselling Sessions (total) 201 clients engaged – individual sessions (total) 49 new clients (total) 23 clients finished (total) 110 OT funded clients (total) 95 DHB funded clients (total) 2 AFSG funded clients (total) 5 attending Family Therapy (total)
Operate Clothing Exchange to allow quality clothing to be shared with families.A, CManage the Clothing Exchange building.Operating
Community Support … for Community organisations … to ‘empower our community’ so it is adequately organised and resourced, with individuals, groups, agencies and institutions collaborating effectively towards a shared vision.
Capacity building workshopsL/AFacilitate a workshop byANCAD (if requested). Another workshop, if requested.A planned Treaty oof Waitangi workshop was postponed to 2021.
Operate Community vansA, CMake vans available for the Learning Hub and other groups when available.3301 used Community Vans (total) 7713 kms driven by Van North (total) 11212 kms driven by Van South (total) The 7–seater Kluger SUV was regularly used by the hub, when the southern van was out of action.
Support community initiatives with resources and as umbrellaAProvide umbrella services, as requested by non-incorporated groups offering activities and services open to the whole community (or a demographic part of). Provide information and resources of use to other groups.The organisations that received funding under our umbrella, or administrative support were: Building Flourishing Communities Aotea GBI History Research Group Community Garden
Co-facilitate Community HuiACo-facilitate regular huis.Cancelled

[1] See Over 60s calendar

[2] See Senior Activity calendar

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