Volunteer gives back out of aroha

Volunteer gives back out of aroha28 Feb 2017

Volunteers contribute a significant amount of the manpower that is required to keep Hospice Waikato services available free of charge to patients and their families. Winikerei Tapara, better known as Wini, is one of these tireless volunteers and he plays a crucial role as a truck driver for Hospice, four days a week. Wini and his assistant drive around collecting furniture and items that people wish to donate to Hospice; the donated items are then sold in Hospice shops, raising much needed funds to help enable the hospice service to continue. It is particularly touching that Wini has been doing this volunteer work, out of aroha, and for two years now.

“Basically, in 2014, Hospice came into the lives of my wife and I, because she was requiring palliative care,” said Wini. “Then she passed away, but the impression that Hospice had made on both of us, plus our children, our grandchildren and also the wider whānau was profound.” He said he always wanted to give something back in return for Hospice’s care for his family. Nine months after his wife passed away, Wini saw in a magazine that Hospice were looking for a truck driver, which he had previous experience with, and that’s when he decided to apply for the position.

Wini works 32 hours a week, and he says although age is catching up with him, he’s still keen to keep going – and giving out of aroha, in return for the Hospice’s services that were given to his wife and family. “The beauty of Hospice is it involves a lot of seniors giving back to our community, and they are just amazing. It just humbles me,” said Wini. “When I’m getting tired, I just have to look at the seniors and all the other volunteers, and it brings my mind back and tells me to shake off the tiredness and get on with it.”

Wini was brought up in Ngaruawahia and is part of the Kingitanga movement to help Māori legally hold on to their land. He said the Māori community is based on volunteer work, giving, and helping out, so he feels very at home providing his services to Hospice. “In a day we will get a minimum of one or two truckloads to shift, and sometimes up to 15 or 16 pick-ups and deliveries on a busy day. When you look at the size of the truck, it can get filled right up to the ceiling. “I do enjoy it, it’s damn hard work, but for a great cause” Wini laughed.