As part of the lead up to International Volunteer Managers Day (IVMD), we caught up with a few of the fantastic Managers of Volunteers here in Marlborough.
Introducing Tehya Henare-Toka, the wonderful Community Services Coordinator at Plunket - Whānau Āwhina
Tell us about how you first got involved with Plunket
I had recently moved to the Marlborough area and I was looking for work. When I saw the role being advertised, I thought it was a good fit with my past professional experience so I applied. The more I learned about Plunket, the more I realised what great initiatives we are responsible for in the community and what fantastic support we get from the National team.
What was your first impression?
I didn't know much about the organisation prior to taking on the role, admittedly. I'd had my own Plunket baby book but I looked at the role as a bit of a blank slate for me to come in and make my mark and build on the work that had been done before my arrival. Plunket is so much more than just a wellness check with a nurse, it is all about being a wraparound service for local families and their tamariki, following the Te Whare Tapa Whā model of care.
What has surprised you most about working with Plunket? And what do you find most challenging about the work that you do here?
I think the sheer level of responsibility that came with the role was a bit of a surprise. With a job title like 'Community Services Coordinator', it isn't immediately obvious just what I'm responsible for and that can also present its own challenges. I'm responsible for everything from managing our volunteers and our buildings to coordinating the various playgroups and support groups in the community. There's also a whole bunch of little things that take up time in the day that many wouldn't think of when just looking at my title.
What's the best thing to happen since you started working here?
Probably being able to see a project started, carried out, and finished that has an impact on the community. It is so rewarding to see that all come together and see the way it can change people's lives.
What do you wish other people knew about your role with Plunket?
This probably goes back to that level of responsibility I was talking about. I am responsible for everything non-clinical that we do here in Marlborough, meeting our targets, goals, and KPIs. Some days that means that I'm running around doing a ton of different small things for all our different programmes. It's so much more than just sitting behind a desk.
What would you tell someone who is thinking about volunteering here?
You will always get something back from volunteering here. We are like a little family. Our volunteers are so valuable and valued and we couldn't achieve what we do without them!
What might someone be surprised to know about you?
I'm a crazy plant aunt! Basically, I love plants but I'm not knowledgeable or doting enough to be called a plant mum!
How would your best friend describe you?
Probably that I hold myself to a really high standard, I always have good intentions in everything I do, oh and that my jokes sometimes land badly.
If you had an elephant, what would you do with it?
First I'd freak out because we have a small property, but then I'd just enjoy its company!