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Fond farewells after three decades of service to the Hastings community

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Two stalwart community leaders are to be farewelled at Hastings District Council this week in recognition of more than three decades of service to Flaxmere and the wider Heretaunga community.

Kayren and Hartley Hatherell moved to Hastings from North Canterbury in 1986 – called to the district where Hartley had come from with a vision to open a church and support the community.

After opening The Way Church the pair, supported by a team of others, has gone on to give back to the community in a myriad of ways touching on the lives of many people in the process.

In the early days that included those workers and their whanau affected by the closure of the Whakatu and Tomoana freezing works.

The Hatherell’s supported many whanau through this, helping with issues such as family violence, stress, and family finances.

They also started working with Matua Whangai, an organisation connected to Social Welfare aimed at helping whanau and also whanau mahi, which was based at Kimi Ora School.

In 1990 they established Purena Koa Rehua (PKR) Youth Services, which had a whanau focus, and through which they established a network for providers of whanau care.

They started running programmes to reduce family harm and provide wrap around support. A breakfast club was introduced that entire whanau would attend, and holiday programmes at Kimi Ora School attracted up to 100 tamariki each day.

Hartley also managed the Open Home Foundation and then the Genesis Trust supporting the unemployed, and he was an original director of Habitat for Humanity.

In 1997, PKR was approached by the then Prime Minister’s Office (Jenny Shipley) to run a Safer Streets project in Flaxmere West - a three-year contract centered on 12 streets and the whanau living there.

At the time there were no playgrounds in the area, so the project assisted with establishing Nanny Kona and Len Harlen playgrounds.

PKR has had a number of contracts with Hastings District Council including mentoring and leadership programmes. Most recently they completed a programme that transitioned Year 8 students from Intermediate to Secondary schools.

Kayren has also delivered child protection training to HDC staff and as well as groups contracted to council.

Currently PKR runs Oscar after-school and holiday programme care and continues to provide social services to the community including family harm and child protection training to the faith-based communities.

The drive to support and protect tamariki and their whanau is a guiding force, says Kayren.

“My greatest passion is our tamariki and rangatahi and I see our work being about helping them build the resilience to be able to keep themselves safe.”

As someone intensely involved with vulnerable children for so many years she says the main support we can give our tamariki is be there for them.

“Where ever they are we need to be there with unconditional love … whether it’s a breakfast club, school, or playing in the park.

Hastings District Council Flaxmere councillor Henare O’Keefe said he had known the pair for a long time and that they have been huge assets to the community who will be sorely missed by many who connected with them over the years

“They have worked tirelessly and selflessly with some of our most vulnerable community members and will leave a huge void.

“We thank them for their service over the last few decades and wish them all the best on their return to the South Island to spend time with their own whanau.”

The pair is being acknowledged at a full council meeting on Thursday this week, and on March 22 the last church service will be held, with PKR set to close on April 20.

In the second week of May Hartley and Kayren will bid farewell to Hastings and return to North Canterbury to support their whanau.

Photo: Hartley and Kayren Hatherell at The Way Church on Omahu Rd, the doors of which will close after the last service on March 22.

19 March 2020

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