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3 March 2023

WFF Newsletter February 2023

From the desk of Chloe Wright

Kia ora, Talofa, Kia Orana, Greetings to all,

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair”. Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities.

Literacy and music are the greatest transporters to take us through the tough times. The words of Dickens, Shakespeare, the Philosophers, the music of Beethoven, Freddy Mercury, the voice of Pavarotti, the inner searching, the hope for tomorrow, is timeless, crosses all boundaries.

There would be few of us who have not experienced one or all of Dickens's words, timeless in their keeping, through these last couple of years. Our futures are ours to write, our past is but a lesson.

I am so excited about the restart of the NZ Aotearoa Spelling Bee. Founder, Janet Lukas, with great fortitude, grasping the question, “what if we don’t do it” took it through to the finals in 2021 when all others held back due to uncertainty. Our youth could ill afford to put their education on hold. They and we cannot afford to have them go out into the world unprepared. A massive thank you to the parents, teachers, philanthropies who hold our youth in their keeping.  I am so excited about the imminent launch of the NZ Kid’s Lit contest,  the Final being held in Wellington in June and again we will hold the World Finals here in New Zealand in July. Nobody does it better.

Throughout last year I heard the guttural rumblings of discontent over the increasing separation of us as a people. Fear of expressing views counter to a growing socialised mandate, fear of being labelled.  My ancestors (we are 5 generations) came to this land with hope, hard work in hard conditions, and a determination to make a better life for the next generation.  I was not here when Europeans first found this land and infiltrated it, nor were you and I here when, throughout the Pacific, slavery, cannibalism, land wars occurred. Throughout history atrocities have occurred, borders have changed. You and I are not responsible for the actions of people long gone. The future is being written today by each of us. What is your contribution, where is your responsibility to tomorrow? Perhaps our greatest enemy now comes from within. It must lie within every individual, family, every community, supported by our government, to raise up our young to be educated, to be free, to realise their dreams. “Te Ao hurihuri, the world moves on”. Let unity be our guide.

We have among us some great organisations who, without their support, undoubtably the government would have a far greater toll on financial and personal resources. It is these NGO’s and philanthropic organisations who have the trained and committed people to support the most fundamental needs of our most vulnerable. We, as a people, place value in helping those in unfortunate circumstances. Look at the outpouring of support through the floods and the aftermath. People instinctively give a ‘hand’ to their neighbour, their community. Let’s support our communities not only in the hard times.

There are conversations occurring, recognising that if government, philanthropies, NGO’s can work in partnership, much can be achieved through the expertise of these organisations and the contributions government has from taxpayers. It can be a win, win. Time for all to stop plodding, stop sitting on our hands.

My happiest (proudest and most grateful) moment came last year with the formation of a Partnership between Te Whatu Ora and the WFF. One door closed and another opened. With the support of the Chief Medical Officer, JT and his team, in three short months we were able to turn a sinking ship around and now a TCU is being prepared for the families of the Lower Hutt/Wellington area to allow parents to stay with their infants who need specialised care, to not have to break attachment. This speaks volumes of what can happen if the system is truly committed. The Partnership means we can wrap around these families with modules of care. We do not ask government for any contribution, only to be able to work together. So much is possible when we turn our gaze to the future and work in harmony.

Failure is in not trying. Loneliness comes from not reaching out. Yesterday I received a phone call. I don’t usually answer if I don’t recognise the number. It went like this:
“Hello, do you have two minutes to talk or are you busy?””
“Who is this?” (We shall call him George)
“It’s George.”
“Are you sure you have the right person?”
“I have been watching your TV ads and I think you are on the right track. I am 88 and a half years old”.

From there George and I had a wonderful conversation about life, its struggles, hard work and determination, loss of one’s loved one, loneliness, interests, the people and experiences that influence and enrich. (And some things I would not dare divulge here ). It was raining, George could not get into the garden, he was a little lonely, his friends were dying off. I am so glad I took that phone call. George brightened my day, influenced my thinking. I hope I brightened his day too. You are now in my contacts George .

I hope George’s action will inspire others who have lived long to reach out, and there will be a voice on the end of the phone to hear their story. To connect.

And now, I am heading back to my ‘Village’ where we knew our worth, where we got our roots and wings.


Founder/Chief Executive – Wright Family Foundation

It has been the worst of times but can be the best of times.

What is the Village?

The Village is any Community. It is parents, children, Aunties, Uncles, the elderly, the person who picks up the rubbish, the person who sits beside you on the bus and the one walking their dog at the park. It began with the care of mothers through the perinatal stage and grew to mean all of us. It is George, it is the new born baby. 

Our Village will be a place to recreate connection and belonging, celebrating the rich diversity of our people in a space that is supportive, educational, restorative and empowering. It will offer regular weekly and monthly resources featuring a range of inspiring community leaders and organisations - classes, podcasts and community chat groups that serve the diverse wellbeing needs of our communities.

The Village will work on connecting mums, connecting dads, connecting the elderly. It will provide wellness programs relevant to our everyday lives, educate us on the Sciences behind Love and Attachment with evidence based information, promote the importance of keeping our body, spirit and mind happy, healthy and motivated. It is sharing our lived experiences together in a warm, positive and inclusive environment. It will encourage others to pay it forward through a range of ways so users can participate in the spirit of reciprocity as the Village grows.
People are good, sometimes they may just need to be needed.

And while this was happening, we also launched the Good Fathers are Everywhere campaign on Boxing day last year. You can find all of the short videos here.

Our small team has a big job ahead. Look out for more inspiring developments over the coming months.


Warriors Community Foundation

League in Libraries - Rīki i ngā Whare Pukapuka

Reading can be a big challenge for many kids. League in Libraries encourages children to rediscover the enjoyment of reading and literacy as essential life skills through the support of engaging mentors and role models.

The programme aims to support tamariki and rangatahi to reconnect with their aroha for creative writing. It began in February 2022 and was completed in September 2022 with resources provided by the WCF team and teachers supported with useful scaffolding tools.

Behold, some of the amazing stats and facts achieved last year:
500 League in Libraries stories submitted
57 schools nationwide
350 kids attended the library visits
6 library visits for finalist schools with Warriors players and WCF staff
3 new young authors with published books
First ever te reo māori published book
Pilot programme completed at Favona School in Auckland
First time ever the books have been edited professionally

The long term commitment from the Wright Family Foundation means the programme can grow both in terms of number of children and schools involved. It is going to be an exciting time for all of the children involved.

To find out more about the Warriors Community Foundation click here.
Big Brothers Big Sisters Rotorua and Taranaki

Big Brothers Big Sisters Rotorua (BBBS) was established locally in October 2014. During this time, they have helped over 141 local children with the provision of positive, fun mentoring relationships. Some of the matches that began in 2014 are still active today.

Big Brothers Big Sisters is a children's mentoring programme focused on creating brighter futures for children through long term, meaningful relationships with positive adult role models/ tuakana. 

Initially founded in the USA in 1904, the outcomes of the BBBS programme have been researched extensively both nationally and internationally and demonstrates key ways it is helping to build more resilient and positive children. 

Wright Family Foundation is thrilled to also welcome on board Big Brother Big Sister Taranaki. We look forward to hearing more about the positive influence this programme is having on our tamariki.

Find more information about Big Brothers Big Sisters of NZ here

SuperGrans Aotearoa

Pictured is attendees at the 2022 SuperGrans Aotearoa conference 

SuperGrans Aotearoa is a network of community services that, through the sharing of practical skills, work alongside individuals, whanau and communities to build on their life skills enabling them to take greater control of their own futures. They offer free workshops like preserving fruit, parenting skills and car mechanics, mentoring, cooking skills, gardening, budgeting, and so much more!

SuperGrans often work with people who have little support, and their mentors are great at walking alongside, teaching and encouraging them. Of course, it is also about enjoying oneself without any pressure and moving at the participants pace.
The past year for SuperGrans has also been very busy. Wendy Becker, the new director started in May 2022 and had to hit the ground running. SuperGrans has grown from nine organisations to 11 in past 12 months, with the latest additions in Nelson and Warkworth and the possibility of more rural locations within the foreseeable future. And their annual conference was held in November, where lots of ideas and information were shared with laughter, lots of laughter!

Says Wendy, “We very much appreciate the support of the Wright Family Foundation, who value the work of SuperGrans and have assisted several of the organisations financially over the years. 2023 looks like it’s going to be another full on year!”
Visit their website to found out more of what SuperGrans Aotearoa does.
Update from Ollie Wright, our Music and Arts Director

There are exciting developments happening in our Music and Arts Initiatives for 2023! 

We are proud to be supporting the Tauranga Jazz Society, who are hosting the annual National Youth Jazz competition on 4-6 April at the Baycourt Community & Arts Centre. This forms one of ten feature events happening in Tauranga  celebrating the 60th National Jazz Festival over Easter.

We are also thrilled to be supporting the College Music CO+LAB band showcase happening at the end of each school term. It is designed to celebrate young artists from schools around the Bay of Plenty and will be held at Tauranga's
leading live music venue,Totara Street.

There are a couple more projects close to being finalised and some great conversations being had. We can not wait to share about what and who we will have the opportunity to work with in 2023! 

You can find more details about the 45th National Youth Jazz competition here.

Bellyful Tauranga

Volunteers from the Bellyful Tauranga branch
Bellyful Tauranga was established in 2012 and currently has 30 wonderful volunteers, delivering region-wide from Katikati to Te Puke. The branch meets every four-six weeks for a "Cookathon" and delivers an average of 280 meals to 50-70 families a month.
Spread throughout New Zealand, Bellyful has 25 branches nationwide with a huge volunteer base. Bellyful NZ was born out of a desire to see families supported by their fellow community members, ensuring whanau with babies or young children have access to delicious nutritious meals that are cooked and delivered to them by volunteers. There is no financial assessment involved and the service is on a referral basis and the need for emotional support.

You can learn more about the awesome mahi Bellyful Tauranga does here.

Cansurvive Dragon Boat Club Wellington

CanThrive team
CanSurvive Dragon Boat Club is made up of an amazing group of breast cancer survivors and supporters who thrive on the positive outcome that being involved in a dragon boating team provides.  

Having recently participated in the Central Region Dragon Boat Regionals competition in the Wairarapa, for the first time, their club had three teams competing – with two of them fully crewed by BC survivors.  

CanSurvive Dragon Boat Club train throughout the year with increased activity during the summer period, when local, regional, national and international events take place. International Breast Cancer Paddlers Commission (IBCPC) event is one of the most significant and is being held at Lake Karapiro in April this year. It will have around 3500 – 4000 women and men participants who have had or are living with breast cancer. CanSurvive Dragon Boat Club will be entering two teams for the first time in this exciting and inspirational, pink-coloured event!

It will be exciting to have so many people, especially New Zealanders, see what this sport can do to help them to manage or overcome the effects of cancer. They show the wider community that there is life after a diagnosis and it can be pretty awesome  . 

We are so looking forward to forming part of the cheering squad for these awesome wāhine at Lake Karapiro.

To learn more about the Cansurvive Dragon Boat Club, you can visit their website here. And further details about the IBCPC event from the 10-16th of April 2023 can be found here.