This is my first report as CEO of Kootuitui ki Papakura and marks one year since I joined the organisation.
In October 2021, mid lockdown, I walked into an empty school and met the rather fabulous Angela Gattung; there began a rather intense induction process for which I am very grateful!
COVID -19 Impact
What became apparent very early on was the impact of Covid-19 on the Papakura community. Families that were struggling to make ends meet before Covid-19 found themselves in relatively dire circumstances.
Kootuitui staff and volunteers were at the forefront of responding to this need providing support through our three strands Whaanau, Health & Education.
Papakura is a melting pot of people, culture and community spirit, but we also face some challenges that exacerbated the impact of the pandemic.
The Impact of The Pandemic
- The average daily indoor temperature in the winter for most New Zealand houses is just 16°C. If house temperatures fall below 16°C, the risk of respiratory illness increases.
- Children growing up in Papakura are three times more likely to live in cold damp mouldy living conditions.
- Papakura residents are 33% less likely to own their own homes and twice as likely to live in overcrowded conditions.
- Papakura East is in the highest 1% of Census areas for childhood hospitalisations potentially attributable to
- Inequitable access to primary care – 46% of school-age children haven’t visited their GP in the last year.
- Pacifika children are 75 times more likely to contract rheumatic fever – a disease that has been successfully eliminated in most first-world countries.
- Students in South Auckland are twice as likely to leave school without any qualifications compared to the Auckland/New Zealand average.
- In the Auckland region, approximately 7% of school leavers graduate with less
than their NCEA level 1; however, in South Auckland, the figure is 17.6%.
- After the 2021 lockdown in NCEA, achievement rates for high decile schools remained static or improved conversely, achievement rates in Papakura declined
During the pandemic, many of our normal business-as-usual activities could not continue. Staff and volunteers across all our Strands were diverted to respond to the immediate needs of our community.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Kootuitui team for working so tirelessly and flexibly during such a difficult time. I would also like to thank the Board of Trustees and our Principal Convenor for the support and guidance they have provided me during my first year with the Trust.
Importantly, I would like to acknowledge the significant contribution the late, great Grant Barnes made to the Trust since its inception and, more recently to me. Attending his memorial was a humbling reminder of what can be achieved with dedication, passion and the odd glass of red!
The year ahead holds several exciting projects, including a collaboration with Mercury Energy, Food Stuff and Kootuitui’s Warm Dry Homes initiative and the launch of the Kohine Toa service.
I look forward to providing our sponsors with updates during the coming year as these initiatives come to fruition.
We benefit from the support of funders, partners and community organisations, and the commitment of the schools’ boards, leaders, teachers and staff.