Local Heroes - Politics is about people

This edition, we want to give a shout out to you, our members, by recognising some of the local heroes you have nominated in your communities.

At the PSA we want to make sure people are front of mind this election. It’s the people behind our valuable public and community services who make the real difference to how political policies and decisions are realised in our communities.

Over the last year we’ve received more than 40 stories of local heroes going the extra mile. The people who’ve been nominated have cringed at the thought of being considered a “hero”, but in every case it’s clear that the work they do is cherished – and they deserve to be celebrated, recognised and protected from further funding cuts.

So as you prepare to head down to the ballot box, we’d ask that you keep these people front of mind. Building stronger public and community services starts with proper funding and support for the people delivering them.


Fran Forsey, Motueka Family Service Centre


Fran Forsey and Cheryl Kingi

Fran Forsey with Cheryl Kingi

Nelson-based Social Worker Cheryl Kingi nominated her colleague Fran Forsey from the Motueka Family Service Centre as her local hero. Here’s what Cheryl had to say:

“Fran used to be my Practice Leader but to me she was more like an Aunty, mentor, manager, organiser and just a great person. Fran’s main role was to oversee the social work but she did way more than that.

“Professionally Fran is the best clinical supervisor I’ve ever had. She was a member of the CYF’s board panel for many years. Fran does not just support the social work team, she supports everyone. When there is a crisis she is always there with supportive and non-judgmental advice.”


Ellerslie Team at the Ministry of Social Development


Ellerslie Team

Customer Service Representatives from the Ministry of Social Development, Ellerslie

The Ellerslie team at MSD help people in the community every day.  This nomination recognises all of their outstanding work to support people looking for employment.

To quote one team member: “I’m a public servant and I love it.”



Kristin Joy, Auckland Libraries


Kristin Joy, Library Assistant

Kristin Joy, Library Assistant

Kristin Joy, a library assistant in Auckland, was nominated by her colleague Sally Simpson. Kirstin has taken on a lot of extra work to provide cover for her colleagues during the Fit for Future change process at a number of libraries within in Auckland. But this isn’t all Kristin does – she also teaches at a local primary school and represents her workmates as a PSA delegate.

Sally says that what makes Kristin a Local Hero is her passion for advocacy: “Kristin is always advocating for improving work conditions for all members, especially the casual work force. Kristin is a positive and passionate delegate with the hearts and minds of her members always at the forefront of her actions. Kristin is loved by customers and colleagues a like for her warmth, passion and openness. She is inclusive, shares her love of Te Reo Māori in a way that move across cultural barriers and is valuable member of our local community.”


Bevan Weir, Landcare Research


Bevan Weir

Bevan Weir, Mycologist

Local Heroes pop up everywhere. When Yvonne Bohn, our PSA trainer for Auckland, ran the local hero exercise with her training group, she found Bevan. Bevan is pretty modest about his work and skills. He’s a mycologist studying fungi and plant pathogens (the organism that causes a disease on a plant).

Bevan’s work can be explained really simply: He helps protect our native forests! Thanks Bevan.






Lauren Redshaw, Southern District Health Board


Lauren Redshaw and Genevieve Gaskill

Lauren Redshaw and Genevieve Gaskill

Genevieve Gaskill from the Southern District Health Board has this to say about her local hero, Lauren Redshaw: “Lauren's job is incredibly challenging – she is tasked with providing education and therapeutic activity for a large and diverse group of individuals. She and her colleagues don't have access to the nicest physical environment or resources, but they make do.

Lauren’s role is busy and stressful and requires energy and enthusiasm which can be difficult to maintain under the pressures of our health system. Lauren is always under the pump and has been working on a Postgraduate Certificate in Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) in addition to this.

Lauren is ALWAYS energetic, bubbly, conscientious, friendly, warm and supportive of her clients and colleagues and does a brilliant job day-in and day-out.


Linda Kerr, Wairoa District Council


Jackie Te Rangi and Linda Kerr

Jackie Te Rangi and Linda Kerr

Jacki Te Rangi from the Wairoa District Council nominates her local hero and colleague, Linda Kerr.

“Linda is the Credit Control Administrator and I am the Office Assistant at Wairoa District Council. Linda and myself have both come through cancer; different types. Linda is one of our union reps and does an awesome job. There are days she struggles with the side effects from the medication. But being a trooper, she carries on regardless. She has also organised a Cancer Support Group, which meets once a month to associate. She is a role model, and always cheerful.”


Whaea Katrina, kaiawhina teacher


Whaea Katrina and Jennifer Lawless

Whaea Katrina and Jennifer Lawless

Jennifer Lawless nominated Whaea Katrina as her local hero: “Whaea Katrina is a kaiawhina teacher aide at my son's school in the Māori immersion stream. So not only does she have to be super patient, bilingual, talented with kids and teaching in te reo, and have a great sense of humour to put up with our little monsters, she ALSO runs the after-school programme on top of her job. She is the link between me and my son when I go to pick him up, the first person to say 'kia ora' to me and let me know what I need to about how he is feeling, what she cooked and he ate, which bit he managed to injure and anything else about his day. If she didn't do her job, I couldn't do mine. Whaea Katrina is my local hero.”


The election might be almost here, but your local heroes will continue to be recognised into the new year. Know someone who is a star in their local community? Nominate them, their team, or even yourself at: https://www.standtogether.org.nz/our-local-heroes/