Tomsett set to get programmes moving

Sarah Tomsett organising Kai Box

Sarah Tomsett joins the Neighbourhood Trust as our new Operations Manager. Sarah has the exciting and varied role of overseeing our Kai Box distribution; supporting our community members create CVs, seek employment, and improve interviewing techniques; establishing a Strength and Balance class; and working as our funding application manager.

These different facets of the job all play to Sarah’s many strengths.

“I’m very organised and I like having structure,” says Sarah. “That’s why I’m excellent at managing the Kai Box distribution and helping the process run as smoothly as possible.”

Sarah has a Graduate Diploma in HR, so has a good understanding around employment and helping applicants make their CV stand out from the crowd. She also has a degree in Psychology and has also completed Sport Science papers.

“I love sport and movement so am looking forward to helping older people stay as mobile as possible, and strengthen their bodies to help prevent serious injuries from falls,” says Sarah.

Sarah has been volunteering at Neighbourhood Trust events such as Mairehau Community Day and the Light Party for the past six years, so is familiar with the team and the value we bring to the people.

“I love how involved the Neighbourhood Trust is in the community,” says Sarah. “I love the people who work out of it – they have a real heart for helping others and seeing our neighbourhood thrive.”

Sarah also shares the Neighbourhood Trust’s passion for supporting people. “I love seeing the potential in others and I love getting alongside them, helping them become more than what they currently are,” she says. “If I can be a stepping stone, then I’d love to be one.”

Sarah is also known to be quite competitive, and into sports. “I love my rugby – LOVE IT. I’m a big Crusaders and All Blacks fan, so always at the games or watching them on TV. I like hanging out with my mates and playing board games. We actually just got a board game called Pandemic!”

If you would like to contact Sarah about any of the areas she is working in, please email her at

Sarah Tomsett - CV and job seeker support Mairehau

Get to know our new Community Chaplain

Rowan Durward

We are thrilled to announce that Rowan Durward has joined the Neighbourhood Trust team as our Community Chaplain.

Her purpose is to love, accept and listen to people in the Mairehau and St Albans community who would like support, and also offer guidance from a Christian perspective.

“Sometimes people just need someone to listen to them, and a bit of time to help them to process their thoughts,” says Rowan. “I love to catch up with people over a coffee or a cup of tea. I’m there for them if they just need a listening ear, or if they want to ask the big questions – Why are we here? Do I have a purpose? Am I an accident?”

Rowan originally worked as a doctor for many years. Then after taking some time out to have children, she completed a diploma in Christian Relational Studies and is in the process of completing her chaplaincy training. “My passion is people and God, and chaplaincy combines them both,” says Rowan. “I love people and I love hearing people’s stories. I find them so interesting. Everyone is so unique and different. I love coming alongside of them to be there to support them.”

Her other passions include animals, art, movies and coffee.

“This job is amazing for me – to get to know and support this community is a privilege,” says Rowan.

If you would like to speak to Rowan, or meet up for a coffee, please email her at

A new Dawn for NHT

Dawn painted wellbeing rocks

We are very excited to announce that Dawn Hastings has been appointed as the new Community Development Worker for Neighbourhood Trust (NHT).

Dawn has lots of experience working with people, and is a wonderful listener and relationship builder. She is trained as a primary school teacher, has completed counselling training, and has a background working in mental health support, including suicide prevention.

She is looking forward to being part of the NHT team, and supporting people in the Mairehau and St Albans community.

“Being isolated is one of the most challenging issues in the community,” says Dawn. “A lot of people have Facebook friends, but no one they can actually talk to. Trust is often a real challenge for people too. So having someone they trust that they can talk to and figure out what they deep down already know, is so important for people’s mental wellbeing.”

Dawn is looking forward to being a part of the development of the new NHT Whanau Centre on Nancy Ave, and working at the grassroots level.


Dawn Hastings - Community Development Manager

“It can become a hub that people know they can go to and experience God’s love in practical ways, and have someone to talk to,” says Dawn. “But it’s not the place that will do the work, it’s the people; because it still comes back to building relationships, and a building isn’t going to do that.”

Another positive attribute of Dawn’s is that she’s very relatable, with real world experience. “I know the challenges of raising children by myself, and I have my own personal experience of mental health,” says Dawn. “I think that’s given me an understanding of many challenges that people go through. It allows me to work alongside people in a practical way, not coming in with all the ideals.”

In her free time, Dawn enjoys spending time with her four adult children, and three (nearly four!) grandchildren. She also loves to paint rocks. “Painting rocks gives me time to reflect, as it’s not head work, it’s just a nice, relaxing thing to do,” says Dawn.

NHT Support North West Christchurch Community During Lockdown

What did level 4 lockdown look like for the Neighbourhood Trust?

We have been extra busy during the COVID-19 crisis! Because we have a foodbank we are considered an essential service, so we have been able to show our concern and care for our community during lockdown. We have delivered over 70 boxes of fresh fruit and vegetables to families and individuals in the community.

Our team has prioritised looking after our Golden Connections (seniors) first, as many are not allowed to leave their homes and some do not have families to bring them what they need. We have also partnered with the Kaupapa Maori health provider, Te Puawaitanga, to identify families in need and take food to them.

Our fantastic Golden Connections co-ordinator, Kim Strange, has been busy phoning our older folk and volunteers to set up a “keeping in touch” system which helps reduce the loneliness and isolation. Many of our Golden Connection whanau will have enjoyed receiving a hand written card in the mail from Roana.

We are very appreciative of the Sanderson whanau giving up their kitchen table so Ange can keep the finance and admin wheels of the Trust turning smoothly.

Don is keeping in touch with his Kiwi Dads mostly by text, and we have taken them some kai as well.

Don has also been doing his TASTE – Together-Apart Story Time Event series on Facebook, which is fun and always has a nice message.

A big thankyou to our NHT team, awesome staff and volunteers serving, even when we are locked down.