Good Work

Lani Evans

Lani Evans

You’d be forgiven for thinking that Lani Evans was New Zealand’s own Superwoman. She heads the Vodafone New Zealand Foundation, co-chairs Thankyou Charitable Trust, chairs Thankyou Payroll and is on the committee for the JR McKenzie Trust’s Peter McKenzie Project. Not to mention being involved in the first all-female traverse of the South Island, proposing to her partner at the end of the 100km Oxfam Trailwalker and fighting the crime of wastefulness through dumpster diving – plus being an amazing 1% donor and Future 50 member. Phew!

James Bushell

James Bushell

Inspired by the possibility of making someone’s life better gets Motif’s Director and One Percent’s Chair, James Bushell, out of bed each day. A fan of millenials and their conscientious decision-making (go millenials!) and a member of the crew that sailed a vaka unassisted to Bougainville and back searching for sustainable cocoa beans for Wellington Chocolate Factory, James is pretty proud he hasn’t scared his family and friends away, yet.

Julian Moller

Julian Moller

Julian Moller is a self-proclaimed nerd and known here at One Percent as ‘The Wizard’. From Opoho, Dunedin, Julian grew up exploring the ’burbs with his brothers, building huts in the bush and playing touch down at the local park. Nowadays, he works his magic as a programmer and developer at 1000minds, dabbles in a bit of craft beer brewing with his mates (they’ve called themselves 1000Brews – shout out to the Occasional Brewer) and is our much-valued volunteer tech support wiz.

Janette Searle

Janette Searle grew up tearing around Cannons Creek doing 15 things at once. She channelled that energy into being an organiser of anything and everything for TVNZ, but eventually she chucked in the screen life and got interested in the health sector. Now she is using her organising powers to provide spare medical supplies and equipment to people who need them.

I grew up in Cannons Creek, Porirua, wearing out my jandals on skateboards, screaming around with a group of kids that would have made the United Nations envious of our diversity. I had a strong sense of belonging, a passion for adventure, and friends who accepted that I liked to do 15 things at once, all the time. My childhood gave me a sense of being well-loved for who I was and a belief that I could do anything I put my mind to.

When I left study the first time I worked at TVNZ and spent 17 years managing screen productions. My early career honed my ability to organise pretty much anything you can imagine. Need 10 dwarves and some 15ft palm trees in a field in Te Awamutu? Give me a call.

This is the foundation from which I launched Take My Hands. It kind of happened accidentally on purpose over a chance meeting and a cup of tea at a conference, followed by a boring night on the telly – as well as an overwhelming desire to see if I could do something I knew nothing about.

That first project involved collecting artificial limbs and sending them to an organisation in Pakistan that worked with people in desperate need. Now Take My Hands collects and collates medical equipment that will no longer be used in New Zealand, but is still very usable, and redistributes it to organisations working with people in need in the Asia-Pacific region.

Part of our purpose involves minimising waste by using spare capacity. So that’s diverting equipment from landfill and using spare space in warehouses, trucks, containers and ships to store and transport equipment. This is obviously a huge win for us and our recipients, but it’s also a win for our amazing partner organisations, like New Zealand Post Global Logistics and PBT Transport, among others. It’s a low-cost way to contribute to a high-value impact, and make a real difference for those most in need. And that’s a story their customers and stakeholders love and will invest in.

We are very focused on the people at the end of our supply chain, and their challenges are real. I’ve had chance to visit hospitals and local clinics in Fiji. Without exception, all the staff I met were passionate about their communities and the people they served, and they showed impressive resilience and commitment, despite working with severely limited resources, broken equipment or no equipment at all.

When the closest doctor is a 200km boat ride away, you can appreciate the difficulty of accessing healthcare. Life with a disability can be incredibly tough at the best of times but when you factor in cultural stigma and social isolation, the flow-on effects can include mental health problems and disconnected communities.

So the equipment we send really does make a difference. Hospital beds improve recovery time and reduce in infection, drip poles prevent someone having to stand holding medication bags for hours, and crutches and wheelchairs mean mobility. Artificial limbs mean a return to school, work, community and life. It’s the ripple effect in action.

I believe that making a lasting and real difference, for instance in healthcare in the Pacific, takes a cross-sector approach. It needs governments, business, philanthropy, service providers and the communities themselves to work together to identify and contribute to the solutions. From there, the ripple effect will spread to better and more appropriate healthcare, and healthier, more sustainable communities. And I would like Take My Hands to use its knowledge and experience to play a role in that.

We all hate seeing good things go to waste. You can support the work of Take My Hands with a regular donation at

Words by Esther McLaren and Image by Tobias Kraus.

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Laura O'Connell Rapira

Laura O’Connell Rapira describes herself as a ‘possibilist’ these days, but her path in life has taken her from being a struggling teen in search of a tribe, to being Bloods, to being a mentor and a bit of a hippy. Now, in her role as director of ActionStation, she works on empowering New Zealanders to act collectively to make change possible.

I was born in Taranaki and later moved to West Auckland. My Mum and Dad are both one of eight kids, both Māori, and both grew up working class. The other thing my parents have in common is that their grandparents were the last in their whānau to speak Māori. This intergenerational loss (or theft) of identity was handed down to my parents, who handed it on to me.

When I got to high school, I was determined to find my tribe. In an effort to be cool, I became Bloods. I would wear red clothing head-to-toe, wag school and smoke weed. I found solace in music and used all my spare money to buy hip hop albums.

I was heading toward expulsion when two things happened. I was trained as a peer support mentor in a programme for issues of sexuality, body image, mental health etc. And then I went to my first ever music festival and saw Shapeshifter, The Black Seeds and others. For the first time, I was hearing music about life in the South Pacific by people that looked like me. I felt at one with myself – and other humans and nature – for the first time.

After that I decided I wanted to organise music events so I could give that feeling to others. I stopped being Bloods and became more of a hippy.

Now, at ActionStation, my job is to direct our members’ precious time and energy for maximum impact, whatever we’re doing. We are an independent community campaigning organisation, representing over 160,000 New Zealanders. Our platform empowers those people to act collectively on a range of issues through channels like petitions, mass emails, crowdfunded media campaigns, vigils, hikoi and more.

My role involves research, strategy development, fundraising, creative tactics, copywriting, volunteer management, field organising, analytics, campaigning and building relationships. We talk to experts about important issues and we talk to people with lived experience of those issues to better understand how policies impact everyday New Zealanders.

My other job is RockEnrol, which is a nonpartisan organisation using social media, music, art and events to engage young people in the political process. Politics is not set up to appeal to young people, and therefore our country is missing out on the creativity, vision and insight of hundreds of thousands of young people in political decision-making. Our goal is to reach and inspire the significant number of 18- to 29-year-olds who are not voting.

With those two jobs, I am very busy. I’m also pretty bad at saying no to other opportunities, so you’ll often find me teaching a workshop to young people on weekends. For me, the key to living a busy life is being organised and delegating effectively. When I’m not working, I hang out with my amazing girlfriend Gemma and our dog Franklin, and we go to the beach or walk in the forest.

Not everyone has to be like me and work six days a week fighting the good fight. Small, everyday choices, when amplified by the many, make a huge difference – for example, if every single person in Aotearoa planted one tree this weekend, we’d have 4.7 million more trees!

RockEnrol and ActionStation are in their startup phases, so some ‘sweat equity’ is required to get them to being self-sustainable, and to bring them to the point where we can employ more people. I believe in the mission of both organisations wholeheartedly and want to see them succeed. I also feel really lucky to work on what I love and to get paid for doing it, and I want to give that opportunity to others. 

Visit and back amazing campaigns for a better Aotearoa.

Words by Esther McLaren and Image by Magdalena Bisley.

View original print design below.

Oliver Vetter

Many years ago, Oliver Vetter got lost at sea. Rather than curing him of his lifelong obsession with the ocean, surviving that experience made him even more committed to life on and near the water. His passion has taken him from Wales to Hawai’i and now to Wellington’s south coast, where he teachers others how to care for and protect our marine ecosystem.

I grew up in Cardiff and found my love for the outdoors and the ocean just by being outside a lot as a kid. Tramping, cycling and camping were always what we did on holidays. I was pretty hyperactive and would bounce off the walls if I couldn't get outside, so I feel very lucky to have found that outlet at a young age.

My parents always cooked and grew much of their own food; they composted and didn't use single-use plastics. Not because they identified themselves as environmentalists, but because they appreciated quality and health.

Surfing was an extension of my love of the sea and it took my life in directions I never could have imagined. Through my teenage years I just wanted to earn money to travel. I think as a surfer in Wales you have to travel to stay sane.

I went surfing in Indonesia and got lost at sea – just drifting in a boat. Gently floating to shore two days after losing our engines instilled what I already knew – that life is fragile and to live it to the full.

I studied oceanography at university so I could continue to be near the ocean, and aged 22 I landed a dream job in Hawai’i. Through waka ama, surfing and diving, I deepened my love and respect for the sea.

I stayed in Hawai’i for 13 years, during which time I did my Master’s and got a job in coral reef research. But the main issues facing the coral reefs almost all stem from climate change and pollution. At Sustainable Coastlines in Wellington, I work to educate people about those underlying causes. I talk about global issues and offer local, everyday solutions, as well as providing the tools and motivation to make a difference, however small.

We focus on beach clean-ups in summer and waterway planting in winter. We go into schools and organisations and educate people, and then we follow up with clean-ups and planting.

We spend a lot of time working with kids, who respond incredibly well to our programmes. We focus on solutions but we don’t sugar-coat the problems, and I think they appreciate that honesty. I believe young kids have an innate love for the outdoors but it's conditioned out of them through modern comforts and disposable lifestyles. It's our job as adults to keep that fire going.

What I love about our beach clean-ups is seeing people get excited about picking up rubbish! They are on the beach and actually seeing the issues for themselves. It can be sobering but it is also good to be doing something about it, and to be opening people’s eyes to the issue.

We as a society are pretty addicted to single-use plastics. I would like to see a future where these are phased out altogether, barring essentials like medical packaging. The true cost of plastics should be reflected in the price. A water bottle designed to be used once but that lasts essentially forever has a huge cost, both environmentally and economically.

Sustainable Coastlines makes a conscious effort not to deliver its message in a way that alienates others. If we only engage people who identify as environmentalists we'll never clean up the waterways – ‘environmentalists’ aren't polluting. We need to engage people on a one-to-one level throughout society. In my experience everyone wants to do the right thing, so we offer simple solutions and focus on positivity, motivation and fun!

Help Sustainable Coastlines get its message to thousands more Kiwis with a regular donation at

Words by Esther McLaren and Image by Pat Shepherd.

View original print design below.

Martin Andrews

Martin Andrews is sure that Princess Diana waved to him when he was a young boy in Petone, but he hasn’t let the fame go to his head. A combat sports enthusiast whose love for humanity led him to leave his corporate day job and head on to brighter and bolder things, Martin now splits his time between his role as Operations Manager at Kaibosh Food Rescue and building a career in music. Here, he imparts some inspiring words about being brave, living life to its fullest and the universality of music.  

Prior to Kaibosh I mostly worked in the private sector, until there came a moment when I realised that wasn’t the right choice for me. The companies I had worked for had no objective other than to accumulate financial wealth; I clashed with that ideology on many levels.

My early life was shaped most significantly by being raised in a single parent family in a low socioeconomic area. When I was 19 I decided to pay my way to Seattle and play for a rugby club for six months. While I was there I had a ‘light bulb’ moment involving music, which led to me acquiring my first guitar when I returned home to New Zealand. That started the journey I continue to travel today.

I’m very passionate about people being brave enough to follow their own path, and music was mine. But I still needed a part-time job; one that meant I could work for my community and that aligned with my personal values. Kaibosh ticked those boxes. I had been volunteering when a paid part-time role came up as a driver, and then later as Operations Manager. I’ve been in that role ever since.

One of the most challenging aspects of my job is trying to fit everything I need to do into a 25-hour work week! As Operations Manager I’m responsible for the day-to-day running of Kaibosh. I have to ensure that our drivers, donors and recipient charities are all being treated respectfully and that their needs are being met. I’m also a donor through One Percent Collective. I like the fact that once my 1% is added to the pool it becomes a large chunk of money to be distributed out, back into my own community.

Working at Kaibosh has had a huge impact on my life. I meet inspiring people on a daily basis. The type of people that keep communities running, the unrecognised people who help those that society allows to fall through the cracks. These people inspire me one thousand times more than any privately owned company head ever could. 

Every day is a surprise. Today, for example, my boss gave me a book of haiku poetry – how many people are lucky enough to say that sentence? I feel blessed and grateful every day for where I have landed. 

The fact that I am able to dedicate time to working on music is something that I am thankful for. I get to break music down to its nuts and bolts and manipulate it in interesting ways, and when I see other people doing the same thing it fascinates me. I find it endlessly inspiring. 

Music is the real international language, a truly human experience that we all share. You don’t need to understand the language or genre for the music to move you. Music inspires a generosity of spirit. When times are difficult I can always find a piece of music to change my mood, or to empathise with how I’m feeling. For me, music is a constant during trying times.

Photography by Pat Shepherd. Words by Jd Nodder

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Kate Ricketts

Wellington born and bred, Kate Ricketts has travelled the world, taught English in Japan and missed out on two Radiohead concerts. From overplaying her Red Hot Chili Peppers and Aqua cassettes as a young girl to discovering local music at The Rogue and Vagabond, Kate has now fully immersed herself in arts, music and daily acts of generosity with Boosted, and through her regular support of One Percent Collective and our partner charities.

After studying Art History in Otago, running a gallery in Queenstown and working in Maˉori art promotion at Toi Maˉori Aotearoa, I decided to move to Japan. My plan was to learn Japanese and support the building of arts relations between Japan and New Zealand, but fate intervened and instead I moved to London with my partner. Unfortunately, fate played its hand again and my partner got ill so I was unable to work in the arts. When he recovered we continued to travel the world until ending up back home where I scored a role with the Arts Foundation of New Zealand (they run Boosted) who have been raising money for the arts for 15 years. 

As Project Manager and Digital Producer I lead a team of eight kickass individuals who grow and support the number of arts projects that successfully crowdfund with Boosted. We have a pretty broad definition of what art is and cover a range of creative endeavours including the sonic arts, fashion, game design and architecture.

Through great mentoring, and a bit of osmosis, I have picked up really valuable fundraising experience. Most groups I am involved with need money to achieve their goals, and for a lot of people figuring out where to go and how much to ask for can be really tough. One of my favourite parts of my job is helping people discover what makes them unique and exciting; what it is about their story that will resonate with their crowd. 

I love that Boosted educates, funds and connects creatives. Crowdfunding is a tool based on really old-school fundraising strategies; it is a tool that helps gather supporters in one place, exciting them and making it easy for them to join something. Thanks to crowdfunding, music that is considered ‘uncommercial’ now has a way of being supported by the many generous communities out there. It’s such a fun process for the person donating, but also requires a generosity of spirit from the artist too. 

For example, the artist can take fans behind the scenes of the recording process or invite them to be part of creating something new. Now, non-music makers suddenly have access to something that they think is pure magic – music. Supporters need to be fostered and loved, and when an artist shares something special with them this relationship continues to grow and creates a cycle of giving.

Working in the arts I would come across amazing acts of philanthropy every day and Boosted is no exception. So many projects have received last minute, incredibly generous donations and, more often than not, these knights in shining armour swoop in and save the day anonymously. While this is awesome, I do think that you should put your name against what you support – it’s an endorsement that you believe that person or group are doing great things. Your excitement and support can be contagious.

Being at Boosted has taught me a lot of valuable skills but it has also made me far more generous with my time, my money and, strangely, my social media output. I get a thrill from seeing projects I was part of come to fruition. I celebrate the successes of organisations that I support and get some awesome feel-good factor as they become stronger or try new things. Now it’s your turn – go forth and be generous!

Photography by Pat Shepherd. Words by Jd Nodder

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Jess Holly Bates

For Jess Holly Bates, coffee from Eighthirty and a little joy is all she needs to get out of bed every morning. Born in the far north where the women are ‘hard’ and the tough rhetoric runs through your blood, Jess is an artist, poet, flute teacher and dancer who is lending her creative talents to our partner charity, Nga Rangatahi Toa (NRT) – and did we mention she’s about to get a bona fide eighties perm?

My mother raised me in a house that loved to sing, so from an early age I had a soft spot for music, musicals and performing. When I was 24 I started to perform and generate my own work. I want to write and make work that is necessary – that is, that needs to be made. For me, this has meant taking account of my privilege to live and breathe in a land that was never mine in the first place. I always start from necessity, but don’t necessarily have control of where it will end up. My most recent work is this outrageous feminist sketch show called ‘The Offensive Nipple Show’. It’s about finding ways to be silly and empowered in the female body. I like to remind people that they are allowed to laugh at themselves. This, to me, is a massive pathway for change.

I’m kind of a closet flautist, although Claire Cowan recently outed me by casting me as one in the Blackbird Ensemble, but it still makes me sweat being seen doing it! Although, on that note, I think sweat is one of the biggest gifts that music gives me. Every human has the right to a good shake down! I have recently fallen in love with this amazing dance practice called Open Floor, which (website drop) is about accessing emotional and muscular intelligence through dance. It’s super intergenerational and diverse, and connection is a huge part of it. Another of my favourites is No Lights No Lycra. Like, finally, people get permission to move their bodies. Seriously, people come out changed.

The place I see generosity, listening and empathy most at work is in the arts. In my sector, we have to operate on an economy of kindness and faith – partly because of funding cuts, and partly because trust and hope are fundamental to the creative process. This is the place I learn the most about being a human being. Our current government doesn’t prioritise the arts, but since crowdfunding launched in New Zealand it has made very apparent that the true backbone of the arts is this wellspring of public generosity that keeps our vital works alive.  

One of my struggles is knowing how to be gentle with myself. Like I say, my upbringing is a mixture of the protestant work ethic and the pioneer emotional repression, so it’s always an intense fight whether I am ever doing or being enough. When I found Sarah Longbottom’s mantra, echoing that of my hero Brené Brown, that vulnerability is the wellspring of creativity – it really resonated with me. I hadn’t seen any other organisation connecting wholeheartedness with social change in such a powerful way; it made we want to see what I could give to NRT. 

My main focus at the moment is working as creative director on Manawa Ora, the inter-arts performance platform for rangatahi to showcase their collaborative work. For one incredible week in October, the rangatahi get to perform and we get to illustrate NRT’s values of high-trust, vulnerability and compassionate creative opportunities on the Herald stage. Ultimately, we want to build a work made entirely on their terms, supporting their ideas and stories to be held with grace and gravity. It’s going to be phenomenal!

I think that as adults we sometimes forget what being young was like. For the NRT rangatahi life can be especially gnarly, but they are no strangers to our experiences too: they have the same woes and loves and embarrassments as everyone else. Sure, they are magical humans, but they are also incredibly ordinary. Manawa Ora gives the public the opportunity to see these two qualities held together, and the chance to demonstrate to the rangatahi that they are enough, that they have enormous capacity rattling around inside them. 

Personally, the best part of working with these kids is this gorgeous vacillating uncertainty of what they will make. They demonstrate that you can hold uncertainty, as a person, and keep going, even when things get challenging. Watching their tenacity and their wit in the face of adversity is just phenomenal. They keep me holding hands with what-might-be, and encourage me not to let go. 

Photography by Sacha Stejko. Words by Jd Nodder

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Sarah Longbottom

Sarah Longbottom is an ideas machine – and she feeds a fair share of them into Nga Rangatahi Toa, an organisation she founded and now directs. It’s an alternative form of ngagement and transition that supports marginalised youth – often those expelled from public schools – through creativity, arts and aroha. With an assortment of awe-inspiring mentors and refreshingly hands-on modes of learning, Sarah has created a safety net for young people.

I grew up in Governors Bay, on Banks Peninsula, just outside of Christchurch. It was a truly amazing place to grow up. Me and my bro, Richie, ran riot together. Days were filled building forts, exploring the coastline, visiting the beautifully generous Margaret Mahy and our other favourite neighbours. We were totally blessed, fully engaged, constantly learning.

My family has always been active in the community­­ – it’s just part of who we are. My granddad mentored men in prison and my grandma got heaps of community awards for her volunteer work. From when I could walk, my bro and I were out doing street appeals, and our fam was heavily involved in the Halt All Racist Tours protest group and the nuclear-free peace movements. When I was 11 we started volunteering at the Christchurch City Mission, mainly at Christmas time. I coordinated the lead-up and the event on the day, and I have only missed two years in the last 29!

When I was working in alternative education in South Auckland, I saw a lack of creative arts access for kids who had been kicked out of school. I thought that was ridiculous, so I took action and established Nga Rangatahi Toa. That’s how this all started.

I believe in human capacity with a whole heart. The mahi we do at Nga Rangatahi Toa is transformational for all involved. Kids have found their peace and mothers have found pride. Mentors have been reminded of what really matters, and have had their own artistic practise impacted through the catharsis of our projects.

One of our kids was particularly challenging in his behaviours and  attitude. When he came to us he began working on a piece with his mentor, Pana Hema-Taylor, that required him to write out his whakapapa. Pana was transcribing it and wrote down one of the words with a particular iwi spelling. The young person was unsure of the spelling to use, but the next day he reported back that he had spoken to his grandma. They had chatted about his whakapapa and she had given him the right spelling for his iwi. On the face of it, it may not seem like much, but in this situation it was massive!

Our projects gives kids the reason, the opportunity, and most importantly the belief in themselves to have those kinds of positive, important interactions with loved ones that are a world away from their ‘hood life’.

Some challenges arise, such as resisting the urge to go where the money is and knowing when to make the hard calls on those involved in the organisation. They can come with strings and restraints, so the hard road is often the best road. Hard calls have gotta be made when adults are not well enough in themselves to do the challenging work, and with kids who need support beyond what we can give.

Nga Rangatahi Toa is something I have grown, but now it has a life of its own. It’s been an interesting process to get to this position, to be able to objectively look at it. As I change and refine as a human, so too does the organisation. In this regard, it is a mirror to ensure I walk my talk. Nga Rangatahi Toa is a gift that has made me more myself.

The future of Nga Rangatahi Toa is the future of education in Aotearoa. We have worked with alternative education kids for six years now – after school and in the holidays. Next year we will open an alternative education classroom, and flowing from that, we will open a school. We hope that in the future we can impact the education system as a whole.

I have exceptionally high expectations of myself and my inexhaustible capacity for work and for living this life. The whole thing is what gets me up in the morning – I love the entire process, from start to finish. That’s what I really love. Knowing that I can really, really make shit happen.

He aha te mea nui? He tangata, he tangata, he tangata. What is the most important thing? It is people, it is people, it is people.

Words by Larissa McMillan. Photography by Tobias Kraus.


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Neil O'Styke

There’s no problem too small for Neil O’Styke – self-confessed jack of all trades. As Executive Director of The Neonatal Trust, he helps to provide a precious service for people both big and very, very small. The Trust supports families with sick or premature babies by providing services in intensive care units nationwide. With over 1,000 babies coming through the Wellington unit in 2014 alone, Neil lets us in on why he got involved.

I volunteered at The Soup Kitchen in Wellington for a number of years from my early 20s. It was a great experience helping people and I met a lot of like-minded volunteers. It taught me a lot about observing, listening and that it’s the small things that matter.

I decided to quit my last corporate job three days after my daughter, Penny, was born. I recall waking up early, with Penny a drive away in hospital; I thought it was time to do something different, something with more flexibility to spend time with my kids.

For any expectant parent, the best-laid plans don’t always happen. Having a baby early or having one with complications can happen to anyone. Age, income, job – it doesn’t matter, it can impact you. There is such stress and anxiety involved. I often hear people downplay that they were only in the Unit for a week, when at the time it was the longest week of their life. It’s far from what they were expecting and hoping for. We also get parents of extremely premature babies who have 100-day plus stays in hospital before going home for the first time. They truly experience a rollercoaster ride while they’re in there.

I really love working in the social-profit space. It’s a fantastic way to teach values to my kids. Without going over the top with them, we make it a regular topic of conversation at home. We’ll pause the news if there is a story on a natural disaster, or a family doing it tough, and have a quick chat about it.

If there is a mufti day at school, we’ll talk about what they are collecting money for and how it will help. We often share about how lucky we are as a family. My wife and I decided to take a particular approach with pocket money too. We help our seven-year-old manage his own pocket money, which has an element of philanthropic giving. It’s pretty cool to see him think about others.

Fundraising is a very competitive space and it’s important to have a range of approaches. We love ones that give back to our partner charity and remind people what great supporters of the community they are – like the annual World of Wearable Art dress rehearsal show, which is always a massive hit.

The One Percent Collective model of raising awareness and facilitating continual giving is perfect for a charity our size – as this type of support enables us to free up time and focus our efforts on the thing that matters most: supporting those going through the stress of a neonatal journey, one Kiwi family at a time.

Words by Larissa McMillan. Photography by Pat Shepherd.


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Stephanie McIntyre

This modern-day warrior stands at five-foot something, wears a fluffy purple scarf and has just finished her Masters. Stephanie McIntyre fights the good fight, directing the homelessness service DCM in Wellington. A long-time champion of disadvantaged groups, she has touched and transformed lives, as well as the organisation dedicated to helping them.

In my childhood we always had a little cardboard box that we put money into for the ‘poor children in Africa’ or the Leprosy Mission, although I doubt I had any idea what that meant. Running little fundraising stalls for our current cause was part of everyday life. While the patronising descriptions make me cringe now, it encouraged me to get into a habit of giving.

I was born and raised in the Hutt Valley into the cocooning myth of equality and racial harmony. We thought Aotearoa New Zealand had the best race relations in the world. But the Hunn Report released in the 1960s described a New Zealand that was far from equal. I didn’t realise it then, but it was a time when New Zealand policy pushed Maori and Pacific people into assimilation – into a very Europeanised way of life.

I’ve lived in the southern Wellington suburb of Berhampore for more than 20 years. I remember when I chaired the local school board at the inception of the educational reform programme, Tomorrow’s Schools; I was the only board member who spoke English as my first language. Most of the others were born in various Pacific Islands. Over the time I’ve lived here, I’ve watched Berhampore change and become more gentrified.

I first came alive to the issue of homelessness when I was in Boston for three months in 2000. The little graduate school where I was staying hosted women from a local shelter to experience the respite of staying overnight in a lovely apartment, which was kept vacant for that purpose. I joined the roster to be a host. Every Sunday I went to a simple gathering of homeless people on the Boston Common where Debbie, a diminutive Episcopal priest, held a communion service.

On St Francis’s Day, the patron saint of animals, Debbie invited the participants to tell stories of their pets. One woman had two toy dogs peeping out of the shopping trolley that contained all her possessions for her life on the street. Another had old photos that he carried with him. It really sparked my motivation to come back to Wellington and turn my attention to homelessness here.

My role at DCM is to make sure that it is a well-functioning organisation right now in the present, but also guide it into the future. Part of my role is about reading the future, picking up what’s coming towards us and creating an environment where, together, we can figure out how to ride the buffeting waves of change.

What is important is that we know who we  are and what we want to be. For us that means being the kind of organisation that vulnerable and marginalised people feel genuinely comfortable coming to. A place where they feel welcome and safe and they can thrive.

Photography and words by Larissa McMillan.


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Guy Ryan

Guy Ryan is the founder and chief executive of Inspiring Stories, a charitable trust which has helped more than 5000 young Kiwis engage with the big issues of our time. The trust’s programmes include Festival for the Future, a weekend of inspiration for budding world-changers, and Live the Dream, a 10-week accelerator programme for young social entrepreneurs and their ventures.

I grew up in a tiny rural village on the West Coast of the South Island, a place called Granity: 150 houses, a tiny sliver between the rainforest and the ocean. It’s about as rural as it gets. I wasn’t hugely into high school, but I scraped through with three Cs and moved to Dunedin to study – mostly because I had three aunties there and it had good surf. 

At university I got fascinated with photography and filmmaking. I used to get cameras out every weekend and make surfing and skating films with mates and put on big premiere parties.

After my degrees in design and marketing I did a two-year Masters in Science Communication, looking at the big issues of our time and how communication could help to disseminate them. In the second year you team up with another person, produce a 25-minute film and write a thesis. My thesis looked at climate change, psychology around behaviour change and the role that narrative can play. Nick Holmes and I made a film, Carving the Future, which told stories about four young New Zealanders taking action on climate change, and went on to win at the Colorado Film Festival as well as be one of three finalists in the world for the BBC’s Newcomer Award.

In the last year of the Masters we seemed to find everything to do except coursework. We created two community festivals – the Spring Food Festival in Dunedin which partnered with the local farmers’ market, and an adventure festival, A Day at the Beach, where we walked 350km from one end of the West Coast to the other over a month. We worked with local communities along the way to remove about six tonnes of rubbish and plant 5000 trees. We also started a film production company to hone our craft for paying clients – it took us on adventures as far away as Nepal.

On the back of all this I set up Inspiring Stories. I was asking myself: what if every young
New Zealander unleashed their potential to change the world? What would it take to make that happen? I was lucky enough to win a World of Difference scholarship from Vodafone in 2011, which gives you a year’s support: salary and expenses to lead a youth-focused project of your choice. But it’s only a year, so you’ve got to figure out how to make it work. 

I think often young people are undervalued in society. We get told a lot about what we can’t do, rather than focusing on our imagination and possibility. The issues our generation faces are immense, and more complex than ever before. We need to be encouraging young people to dream, to step up and play a role in creating solutions. Inspiring Stories is all about giving them the skills and confidence to do that.

We’re now coming to the end of our fourth year. It’s been an epic adventure. We’re starting to see some pretty cool ripple effects as young people grow their ideas for a better New Zealand across areas as diverse as the arts, housing, health, wellbeing and food resilience. It’s the road less travelled for sure, but the people who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world are usually the ones that do.

Words by Rebekah White. Photography by Pat Shepherd.


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Sam Judd

Sam Judd is the co-founder and chief executive of Sustainable Coastlines, the non-profit dedicated to cleaning up coasts and educating both young and old about how to care for them. So far it’s reached more than 100,000 people, removed more than a million litres of junk from beaches and planted nearly 20,000 trees.

I stayed at university for five and a half years, partly as a way to do a lot of surfing. I did two exchanges – I spent a year in Mexico, learned Spanish and caught the best waves of my life. Later on I did my final-year papers in Chile and then travelled up to the Galapagos Islands. I ended up living there for seven months on an island called San Cristobal. 

I met this hilarious Kiwi guy with a handlebar moustache who ended up staying on my couch. He was talking about going on a fishing boat to pick up rubbish – they have a programme where they take volunteers to clean up the coast. Three of us Kiwis went out there for eight days and picked up 1.6 tonnes of rubbish. It was a hilariously shitty old boat: one night the bunk I was sleeping on caved in and landed on the guy underneath. It opened up my eyes to the fact that rubbish floats for miles at sea – we found this polystyrene package that was addressed from the USA to Costa Rica. That’s a bloody long way from the Galapagos Islands.

We got back from that trip and started talking about doing it for San Cristobal. My friend James Bailey and I founded Sustainable Coastlines in our house over a shot of tequila at ten in the morning. For the next couple of months we had all sectors of society working together – divers, tourists, fishermen, the local council, schools, the tourism association. We picked up 7.5 tonnes of rubbish in half a day. James and I got an award for it from the local council – we turned up at the town hall with jandaled feet and wet shorts and walked into room of 300 people wearing suits!

When I got back to New Zealand I went harvesting kina – it’s basically commercial fishing for sea urchins. That took me out to Great Barrier Island where I saw lots of rubbish off the coast. I raised $45,000 in three weeks to run a clean-up there, which included 200 kids from low-decile schools. Some of them had never been to the beach before. Next we went to the outer islands of Tonga to do the same thing.

I ran Sustainable Coastlines for two and a half years as a volunteer before I started getting paid. We began holding corporate team-building events – that’s how we started making it pay – then we decided to build a fence on top of the cliff rather than being the ambulance at the bottom. We created an educational presentation that tells the story of what happens when plastic goes in the ocean. We got all this anecdotal evidence that it was changing kids’ behaviour, so we started monitoring it and now have a framework to measure behaviour change. We’ve got a big event that runs in Wellington every year – last time we educated nearly 9000 kids, removed 30 cubic metres of rubbish and raised $8000. 

We do a lot of work with Corrections, educating inmates and using their labour for the cause – they get qualifications for it. There are more than 8000 men sitting in prison and more than 17,500 who owe community work service. We know that if you give vocational training to a prisoner they’re 60 to 70 per cent less likely to reoffend. By educating offenders we double the output of what they can achieve in a day. That’s the area of my work that I’m most satisfied by because I see these guys go up on the scale of wellbeing when they get some educational influence. 

Words by Rebekah White. Photography by Pat Shepherd.


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Carol White

Carol White is the director of Raukatauri Music Therapy Centre, an Auckland-based music therapy clinic for children with intellectual and physical disabilities. With a vast range of musical instruments and trained therapists at hand, children can communicate, work together and have fun through sound, in a space that seeks to develop their abilities.

My background is television. I started over 20 years ago at TVNZ – accidentally! I’d been to the UK, came back to make some more money, went in there for a temp admin assignment for six weeks, then they said they were looking for someone permanently. Within a year there was an opportunity to go into the production side of things and help look after the budgets for television programmes. In those days it was called features and documentaries.

I was very career driven and TVNZ in those days was very traditional, you had to be there for years before anything happened, so I jumped and went across to TV3 six weeks before it launched. I went from a very bureaucratic organisation to the total opposite. There was so much freedom to make decisions and huge responsibilities thrown at you.

After TV3 went into receivership and was sold I went to Sky. I remember people saying, “Why would you do that? No one’s going to pay for television.” It had three channels then. I was there for seven or eight years, then I got an opportunity to go and live in Singapore for a couple of years because my husband had work there. I got a job working in an advertising agency and decided I didn’t want a career in advertising!

Back in New Zealand, I ran the Rialto Film Channel for five years. It was good way of bringing all the different skills I’d learned in different jobs into a general manager role. I like being in small environments where you can make things happen quite quickly.

Then I just got bored. I thought, “I’ve done media.” I was going to have a year off and thought I might go and volunteer somewhere. A friend of mine said, “There’s this music therapy centre and they’re looking for a director.” I thought they meant a director on the board of trustees! I went in and met the previous director and she said, “No, it’s my job!” But I left thinking it was exactly what I’d been looking for. I said, “I’ve never worked for a not-for-profit before, but this is what I have done,” and they decided they needed to bring someone from the business community into this sector.

That was two and a half years ago. I thought I’d be done by now! There’s just so much potential for what we could be doing. We don’t get any money from the government – not a cent. We completely fund ourselves, which is a $750,000 a year requirement.

Internationally music therapy is used in so many different ways – they use it in hospitals, for people undergoing chemotherapy, in burns units, for mental health, for eating disorders and depression. Music is such a primal part of who we are as human beings; it’s used in the smallest tribes in the middle of nowhere and in the biggest cities. The heartbeat when you are in the womb is one of the first things that resonates with you. Children who aren’t verbal can certainly tap to a beat. They’ve got rhythm!

Words by Rebekah White. Photography by Pat Shepherd.


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