Kiwibank New Zealand Local Hero of the Year 2020 Finalists
27 Jan 2020
2020 Kiwibank New Zealand Local Hero of the Year 2020 finalists, from left, Ken Clearwater, Diane Yalden and Nick Loosley
Our judges have chosen three finalists whose selflessness and determination have made a difference in the community.
Ken Clearwater has worked relentlessly and tirelessly for over the last 23 years advocating for male survivors of sexual abuse. Ken is the human door that men open to the path of healing; he is there at the end of the phone or for a cuppa and a chat, or to invite them to a support group.
Ken was instrumental in establishing support centres in the North Island and the lower South Island. As well as healing New Zealand men he has also made international connections with male survivor organisations around the world, including Africa with the United Nations.
Ken was the key advisor to ACC, challenging the organisation, and was a key factor in ACC changing their services for sensitive claims clients which has made sure that more survivors, women, men and children are accessing the help they need.
He remembers what it was like for him in the beginning when there was no help nor funding available. This drives him to fight for the underdog and battle to "fix" the system so that other survivors can seek the help they need and move forward to heal their wounds.
Ken is respected by many in his field and is an inspiration to many. He has saved many lives, too many to count and is always there for "his guys". He always responds when men are reaching out saying they are not OK.
It was while studying in England that Nick Loosley began to think and learn of alternate ways to reduce food waste. Nick who owns The Gables Restaurant and Hone's Garden in Russell, came up with the concept of Everybody Eats while researching his Masters in Economics for Transition.
Since returning to NZ over two years ago, Nick has saved over 30 tonnes of good food from going into landfills and provided more than 30,000 restaurant-quality meals to people, most of whom could not afford to pay. Thousands more have paid, some vey generously, to help cover those that cannot. Everybody Eats is a registered charity but aims to cover most costs through the pay-as-you-feel model, rather than with grants and agency funding. Their latest restaurant raised $120K last year through a crowdfunding campaign.
Everybody Eats’ aim is feeding the whole community with food that would otherwise be destined to be thrown out as waste. Collected from the food rescue charity Kiwi Harvest or local supermarkets and various other businesses, almost all of the food on the menu has been rescued. It might be day old bread, tins of food close to their use-by date or fruit and vegies just past their shop best that Nick and his team, mainly volunteers, creatively use to put together three-course meals, sometimes fed to more than 300 people.
Diners come from a wide spectrum of the community, each of whom donate if they can afford it, towards the cost of the meal. Nick is then able to use some of these donations the following week to purchase additional items needed to turn the meals into something a little special – things like cream for the soup, eggs to make desserts and herbs to add extra flavour.
Nick has also been able to involve a diverse volunteer base to support the restaurants. These volunteers include chefs and those with restaurant experience through to home cooks and those who are just excited by and want to support his vision. They have also worked with most of Auckland’s top chefs including Josh Emett, Dariush Lolairy, Javier Carmona, Ben Bayley, Nick Honeyman, Jo Pearson and Des Harris.
The point of difference at Everybody Eats is that this is not a regular soup kitchen. While its main reason for being is to feed those who are struggling financially, the restaurant is open to anyone. Here people of all backgrounds come together, sitting at communal tables and served by the volunteer wait staff. The volunteer-run restaurant promotes connection and breaks down social barriers with people from all walks of life, and different cultures all enjoying a meal together.
Diane was her community’s ‘local postie’ for 38 years. But that was not all she did. Diane has been involved in a wide range of other voluntary contributions to her local community for a very long time, amassing a phenomenal total of 113 years of voluntary service to organisations that exist to service all the residents of Tāneatua, Ruatoki and Waimana.
Tāneatua is the hub of a large population, predominately Māori who live in Tāneatua, Ruatoki and Waimana. The nearest ‘large’ centre is Whakatāne, some 12 kilometres down the valley and on the coast.
Diane has given 30 years of service on the Tāneatua Community Board and has been Chairperson for the past nine years; 25 years as one of the Eastern Bay of Plenty Justices of the Peace and has been its Registrar for the past 16 years. This contribution extends over the whole of Eastern Bay of Plenty and includes larger centres such as Kawerau, Edgecumbe, Te Teko and Matata. She has given 23 years as Volunteer Support Officer to the Tāneatua Volunteer Fire Brigade and was elected a Life Member in October 2018. She has also been a supporter and caterer for the Tāneatua Lions Club for the past 25 years.
When the Tāneatua Primary School had difficulty filling the position of librarian, Diane worked in a voluntary capacity for four years until a staff appointment was made.
She was treasurer for the Tāneatua Squash Club for six years and volunteered as helper with the Tāneatua Athletic Club and the local Tennis Club until the last two clubs were incorporated into the much larger clubs in Whakatāne.
Diane has recently started to interview local identities and families with long-known connections to Tāneatua to help with the writing of a local history.
Through all her involvements, Diane is an integral part of the Tāneatua community, weaving the many aspects of the communities together.