The sad news of PWANZ ceasing to operate as an organisation turned to good news for the children and whānau served by Family Works.
When you tell people you work for Presbyterian Support you’re often asked, “Oh are you religious?”
Presbyterian Support does proudly whakapapa back to the Church but is separate in operation; we are a federation of seven charitable (not-for-profit) organisations providing care and social support services to whānau and whānau members in our local regions. When we say we whakapapa to the Church what that means is that we still hold the same values, that guide us in all our operational strategies and initiatives. The difference is perhaps best understood by looking at who comes for what service: only Presbyterians attend their Church, but at Presbyterian Support’s Family Works, Enliven, Shine and Lifeline services, anyone at all is likely to need our help and you don’t have to be Presbyterian to receive it.
We do report to the Presbyterian Church General Assembly, however, which is held every two years. If you would like to see our recent report (September 2023) click here.
PSNZ Chair Andrew Johnston, Te Manukura Jim Berry and NEO Dr Prudence Stone all attended General Assembly this year in September to present our report. They also attended the farewell celebration of PWANZ where they met all the Church Leaders, including the new Moderator, Right Reverand Rose Luxford, Te Moterata o Te Aka Puaho / the Māori Synod Tamiana Thrupp, and Mary Gibbs, PWANZ’s outgoing Chair.
Over the years PWANZ has done so much for the rights of girls and women in Aotearoa and the Pacific, including leadership within UN Women in Aotearoa and sustained community development and partnership work in Vanuatu. PSNZ’s delegation learnt a lot about these achievements at the celebration but there was a sombre mood, nevertheless.
Then to our surprise, Mary Gibbs invited Dr Stone to the podium to receive a PWANZ donation of $75,000! As this organisation stops operating, their gift to Family Works is their remaining operational funds. Dr Stone spoke briefly to accept, noting the honour it was to receive such a donation, given the legacy of Presbyterian Women in Aotearoa and the Pacific, and the chance this gift was to extend that legacy further through Family Works services.
“The Family Works Managers want to use this money to support children and parent clients to overcome everyday financial hurdles, exactly like a successful Tindall Foundation grant proposal of Presbyterian Support Central called “Little Things” Dr Stone announced.
“Little Things” will in effect scale up in 2024 to be provided across Aotearoa through our Family Works services. If each “little thing” (such as a school uniform, extra heater for the bedroom or devoted device for a child’s homework) for a child averages $200, with $10,000 each PS region could financially support around 50 children to overcome these barriers of equity in their everyday lives. That’s around 350 children (and their parents) nationwide that will be helped directly by PWANZ’s donation over the coming year.
So from Family Works and Presbyterian Support New Zealand, thanks Presbyterian Women!