Community Blog

Waiouru - The Little Fundraising Capital of the Central Plateau

Jacinda’s parents at the opening of the new hospital wing

In October last year, Rannerdale Veterans Hospital in Christchurch opened the new Jacinda Baker hospital ward, named  after LCpl Jacinda Baker, our Army medic, who along with 2 of her comrades, were killed in Afghanistan in August 2012.  Waiouru raised $5000 in 6 weeks to outfit one of these rooms and have that room named.  There is now a plaque on the first door in the ward reading “The Waiouru Room – the place which all soldiers must pass”.  Jacinda’s parents were at the opening of the new wing and were so proud.

Well, Waiouru continues to be a little hive of fundraising activity for the month of May and still going.  The yearly Pink Ribbon appeal is very well supported by our community, and the efforts of our workers doing the organising of a Pink Ribbon Breakfast, Pink Ribbon Bake Sales and a Pink Ribbon Trivia night contributed to our total of just over $3600.   WELL DONE WAIOURUITES…..

Currently being set up is a ‘Givealittle’ page for a gorgeous young man in our community named Elijah.  He is the third child of Tane and Laura North who have lived within our community here in Waiouru since Elijah was a wee baby.

After much medical deliberation, it has become evident that Elijah has microcephaly, an undiagnosed genetic condition where his little brain isn’t growing as it should.  This little man has 14 medical issues to deal with and his parents have found a Neurological & Physical Abilitation Centre (NAPA) in Australia that offers therapy programmes for children like Elijah, with disabilities. 

Tane & Laura have set a goal to take Elijah to this Centre to give him the best chance to develop, to have a better chance at a full life which will hopefully encourage movement, communication and the ability to positively contribute to society.  These trips will be ongoing yearly and each will cost approx. $10k, so we, the Waiouru community, have gotten together and fundraising opportunities have begun.  NZ RSA has been our first major contributor.  Please keep an eye out for this Givealittle page with the bank account number or support any fundraising efforts that may come your way.

I shall say it again, “Waiouru may only be a small community, but we have a “HUGE HEART”.

Latest News From Linton Army Camp...

We having trouble coming to terms with it being May already, and we know we’re not the only ones.

What’s been happening in Linton?  Business as usual for us has included running a couple of School Holiday Programmes, piloting our first Quiz night, and of course we’ve had our Anzac Dawn Parade.

We have some share-worthy stories for you to enjoy:

Firstly, for a very brief time the Linton housing area was privileged to have the Richardson family living in our community.  When the family were posted to Trentham, they took the plunge and bought their first home together.  We’re very sad to loose them to Levin, however check out the amazing creation that was painted for our community prior to leaving.  Spotless mounted this wonderful mural on the wall in the Linton Community Hub, and it brightens up the walkway into the Library.   Mrs Richardson, is amazing!  We wish you all the very best in Levin.

Another story that we have pleasure sharing comes from the   De Negri family.  Mrs De Negari and her 11 year old daughter made some exquisite fabric poppy brooches for Anzac Day.  Their Great Great Uncle died in the battle at Chunuk Bair, so Anzac has always been special for the De Negri whānau.  They gifted all of the proceeds made from selling the poppies to the Palmerston North RSA.  While on that crafty mission, they also prepared poppy petals for the Linton School Holiday Programme.  The School Holiday Programme staff and children enjoyed sewing them all together to complete a beautiful wreath which was laid at the Linton Camp Anzac Dawn Service.  

 A member of our civilian staff here in Linton has been creating art and spreading happiness by painting rocks, and hiding them around Palmerston North and in the Linton Housing area.  The stones she made below were used as part of the Community Engagement undertaken by 1st (NZ) Brigade in February.  Esplanade Day is an annual ‘must do’ for young families in the Manawatu, so she changed her style of rock decorating, and created these: 

Children that found these rocks were encouraged to return them to the Military stand at the Esplanade Day.  In return for this we drove them to school for a week in Light Armoured Vehicle of their choice.  I’m kidding…I think we traded them for military goodie bags lol!  We’re just checking to make sure you’re actually reading our stories :-)

A calendar of upcoming events is being developed, and will be posted on the Linton Community FB pages.

Kindest regards from the Community Services Team, who are very proud to be Linton!


Dessert Night at RNZAF Base Woodbourne

In the second half of last year we started a new initiative at RNZAF Base Woodbourne for family members to get together and enjoy some time out without having “little nippers” interrupting conversations.

We wanted something regular, but not too costly or formal, so some ladies came up with the idea of a “dessert night”.  This is now being held once a month from 7pm until, well, whenever people get tired, really. Those that come bring a dessert, though if anyone is not able to get something together, there is always enough to share!
Dessert Night is a great way for newcomers to meet others, especially if they don’t feel comfortable to come to any activities that involve children as well, such as playgroup. At times we will celebrate special occasions, such as a baby shower, or an upcoming wedding.

Pictured is the celebration of a “gender reveal”, with a cake cutting revealing a baby girl. She arrived safely earlier this month.

If you are coming to Woodbourne, or are new to the Base and would like to know more, please contact the Woodbourne Community Coordinator.


Happy Holidays from Devonport

The past three months have been packed with a variety of community events for the families and folks of Devonport.  It started with a hiss and roar in October with the Kids Camp on Motutapu Island out in the Hauraki Gulf.  40 kids and volunteers became adventurers for a week. 

The first big adventure, and shock for some, was tramping the 11 kms from the arrival wharf to the homestead.  Everything after that was fun. Five days of team and confidence building created some very tired but self-assured young people arriving back on Base at the end of the week.  DOC personnel on Motutapu provided a great programme for the week, and the addition of committed Navy volunteers added another dimension to the success of the event.

As part of the wider local Devonport Community, a Sausage Sizzle was provided for more than 600 at the Community Halloween celebration – as a developing event the creativity of costumes is astounding.  Many of our families live in the area and it is always great to catch up with them (even if sometimes we don’t recognise them with their face paint and spiders webs).   

Just before Christmas was the Grande finale for the Year – the Kids Christmas Party – a legend in these parts – 600 children’s tickets were sold and around 2000 people attended the event.  Families were very well organised and had all the necessities and more.  The party atmosphere was punctuated through the day by screams from the huge bouncy castle slide and tears from Santa’s knee.  Arrival of the Jolly Red Man by Airforce Helicopter was an exciting addition to the day and the kids, both big and small, were wowed all over again.

Happy Holidays, hope you are all enjoying the wonderful summer weather.


The Latest from Trentham

Kia ora Whanau, He Mihi mahana - Warm Greetings

Since you last heard from Trentham camp in January the Trentham/Wellington Community Services have been busy creating, connecting, communicating and delivering a range of events to the personnel and families in the Trentham and wider Wellington defence areas to delight and inspire.  

Enjoy our blog and 'go well' from the friendly Family and Community Services Team.


The events that our families and community requested again this year like Family Splash and our mid winter Family Movie Day have gone down a treat.  To recognise the service our families provided when they have a loved one deployed we have also held events like the Mothers Day High tea and a Deployment dinner. 

The range of weekly activities held in the Clock tower is proving ever popular.  Tuesdays are now designated as the Family and Community day of the week.  We begin Tuesday mornings with Parents/Partners coffee group at 9am with a half priced coffee from the Depot.  10am to 11am Playgroup runs in the Community Lounge and Men’s Group starts at midday with a shared lunch.   4.00pm Ukulele Group plays for an hour welcoming beginners and advanced players and then we have Kapa Haka. Te Roopu o te Pataka begins at 6pm with shared kai followed by Waiata. 

All events are FREE to attend and families are welcome. The Camp library also in the Clock Tower is open everyday between 10am and 2pm except on Tuesdays when it is open from 11am to 1pm and 6pm to 8pm (starts 11th Oct).  Families are welcome to use the library on presentation of the Trentham Camp Pass.


The Connect Network celebrated their one year anniversary in August and has grown in strength and numbers.   The events this year included a Clothes Swap n Shop, movie nights, two Cook Ins and a Sewing Bee.  Connect Cook In ready to go freezer meals have gone out to support families at challenging times and have been very much appreciated. Connect is a Wellington Wide network of partners of military and civilian personnel in this region gathering for fun, friendship and support.

The next Connect event in October is the K Mart Bus Trip for some early Christmas shopping and the November event is “Make an Apron” with Stacey expert seamstress.    If you would like to know more about Connect or any upcoming community activities or events please contact the family and community services team at Trentham.

Christmas is coming and its a time for time with our kids

Christmas is on the horizon and planning for the annual Wellington Defence Area Children’s Christmas party is well underway.  The date is Sunday 27 November 11am to 3pm in Trentham.  Great entertainment, food stalls, music and Santa arriving on a very special sleigh this year, not to be missed! This event is to say thank you to our wonderful NZDF families for their service and support throughout the year.  Contact the friendly family and community services team at Trentham for more info.

 As a nation we place high importance on Christmas, making sure we and our kids have the best and most enjoyable experience possible.  This desire is often attached to a high financial cost in gifts, food and holidays and the hidden costs of stress and strained relationships or separations that Christmas sometimes brings. 

There is a small video clip recently where couples were invited to share “if they could have dinner with anyone in the world who would it be?”  Many people had inspired choices like world peacemakers or leaders, others chose rich people or handsome movie stars.  The same people were then invited to watch a video recording of the answers their own children had given to the very same question.  With tears in their eyes most parents heard that what the children most wanted was to have dinner with their parents or their whole family or whanau together.  

The 85 year old Dad of one of the team at Trentham often says “yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, the present is a gift use it well”.  Maybe this year your true gift is your time, and your present is your presence. 

Building Awesome Whanau

The Trentham/ Wellington team also had the opportunity to do some training and networking with other Army Community Services personnel around the country and became accredited facilitators for Building Awesome Whanau (check out the photo below of the NZDF team with their accreditation certificates) .

As many NZDF families will know, there are challenges and struggles that sometimes occur with times of separation and the commitment of service life.  The work done in this training has been to look at how we can further support or reinforce what you and your family already have going on. 

If you'd like to find more about the Building Awesome Whanau toolbox or register for the sessions we will run in Trentham in February 2017, please contact the family and community services team at Trentham.


Navy Winter Camp

In July the Navy Community Organisation (NCO) held their annual Winter Family Camp.  We are fortunate enough to have use of the RNZN Alpine and Ski Club Lodge for the week.  It is a wonderful facility, great for families and this type of event. 

What a great week away is was, we had eight families in attendance with 15 adults and 15 kids ranging from 6 to 16! Our camp is open to all Naval personnel and Navy civilians, and also Military pers and defence civilians posted to Devonport.  Everyone got on well from the beginning with a fun introductions game proving that adults on holiday find it hard to follow instructions!  With a final direction of ‘just find someone new to talk too’ things were underway and we never looked back. 

Unfortunately we were not blessed with a lot of snow this year, luckily with a bit of help from the snow making machines, the beginner’s slopes were open on both Turoa and Whakapapa so our families ventured out to enjoy, investigate and spend some time in the little amount of snow.  Our families also enjoyed other various activities including clip and climb, mini golf, Army Museum in Waiouru and hot pools.  Some families decided to head out in groups since the kids were all getting along so well and enjoying each others company.  A hit of the week was the mid winter Christmas dinner where everyone enjoyed a delicious roast meal and dessert, some impromptu ukulele playing and singing by one of the kids then presents being delivered to the deserving well behaved children!

All the families that attended pitched in and helped throughout the week with cleaning duties, fire and wood duties, dishes and keeping kids in line, which made for a very successful week.  We also took away a chef for the week, who not only provided us with marvellous meals throughout the week but was also appointed ‘Santa’ handing out presents to the kids, he interacted with everyone being part of our camp ‘family’ and all the kids loved him!

Without a TV at the lodge the kids managed to keep themselves busy in the evenings with board games, books, cards and what I think was the favourite, a foosball table!  As a treat on the last night a TV was ‘shipped’ in and a movie night was the entertainment, with popcorn and all!

What's been happening at Linton? HEAPS! 

Although everything seems to be tracking along pretty much BAU (business as usual for those of us not so up with the acronyms lol), we have been super busy at Linton!

Last month we’ve run a full time SCHOOL HOLIDAY PROGRAMME for both weeks of the school holidays.  The age group we target is 5 – 12 years of age, however we welcome older children along too.  With time they’ll be running the show for us! 

Most of our children come from families that don’t live in the Linton Housing area, so it’s always wonderful to nurture a real sense of belonging. We are all Ngati Tumatauenga. A typical week of activities included a huge variety of child led activities, ending up in our Kupe Pool after lunch each day. There were team building activities, including ice-breakers and some reasonably sporty team competitions.

The David Mowatt room at the Community Centre was set up with board games, colouring in, crafts, game zones, lego, face painting  – very much a dedicated space for the kids to interact quietly with each other and their team leaders. 

The main Hall in the Community Centre was where the louder more raucous activities get underway; a new activity this time was ‘a minute to win it’ – absolutely hilarious! Capture the Flag in Wedde Wood is one of the definite favourites with the kids, as are the team sports played outside. 

Over the fortnight we went to the movies in town, rock climbing at Vertex on Park Road, had an amazing time at Flip City, and endured 10 Pin Bowling at Bowlarama (definitely not the most kid friendly business in Palm North…)

Other times we’ve built planter gardens, woven flax, made jewellery, giant poppies, Anzac Wreathes, explored the Firestation, learned water confidence, had fun at the Gym…We’re very lucky to have the full use of the Linton Community Centre, and access to the Linton Camp School if needed, so it’s all about the kids, and not particularly weather dependent.

A huge thanks to our local pool of amazing talent, and LRSC, 2CSSB, Spotless, SME, YMCA and our Firey’s for continuing to support our Holiday Programmes.  Very much appreciated! Our fantastic team of workers and volunteers include:  Willy, Lexi, Kiera, Marama, Frances, Reuben, Trini, Marlaina, Hannah and Callum.

Our next big community effort will be for the October Haunted activities…keep an eye on our FB page – Linton Community Hub 2013 to stay current.

Happy April Holidays at Waiouru

The year is nearly half way through and Waiouru have just finished their first school holiday programme for 2016. The Junior programme, run by Stepping Stones had two great weeks swimming, learning first aid, baking, making crafts and making wreaths for Anzac day. They also had two trips away, one to Taupo to visit Lilyputt animal farm and the other to Ohakune's Railway museum and miniputt.

Older kids also had a great time at the Intermediate programme run by the Waiouru Community Services Centre. They provided two weeks of action packed cultural and educational activities, including Lazertag, a ski lift ride at Whakapapa, visit to Owlcatraz and a hangi, poi making and stick games at the Waiouru marae.

Three fun-filled days in Rotorua were also a highlight where time was spent doing the Zorb, on the luge, jet boating and lots lots more. The trip home from Rotorua was a quiet one, thank goodness :-)  with some tired well behaved children looking forward to the next programme in July!  


Fun and games at the Burnham Playgroup!

Burnham Playgroup celebrating the reopening of the playgroup last month as It had been closed for 6 weeks to allow the building to be renovated. It  has been a great effort and the new space looks fantastic.

A Teddy Bears' picnic was held to celebrate the opening, and the kids were very lucky to have a visit from Big Ted!

Burnham Playgroup is a good meeting place if you are new to the Burnham Community and have under-fives. They have regular outings and often home baking for morning tea - Plus it’s a great learning place for children.

Coming up later this year we hope to have a Plunket Karitane nurse partnership to provide education mornings to look at issues such as sleeping habits, getting fussy children to eat, plus addressing toileting issues. We also have a Kidsfest event planned for the July school holidays.

If you would like to find more about more about the above event or  have suggestions of other events you would like to see run or want some information on what is  available in the Burnham/Selwyn area or need advice or support contact the Burnham Community Services Officer.

Woodbourne Defence Community Coordinator

Here in Woodbourne we have a very supportive community for families, and we love to connect with others - especially if you've just moved into our Service Housing area.

As service personnel are often off at work during the day, a bunch of spouses and partners initiate get togethers’ to have fun and to get to know new people.

We had a few new families arrive over the holiday period, and so our local community decided to organise an “ad hoc  picnic” for a sunny day in January within the Service housing area.

On my arrival at the picnic, a large grass area was buzzing with mums chatting and sharing food they’d brought along, children of all ages were running, cycling, and playing games, and there were babies climbing all over each other! It was simply a wonderful picture, and seemed to be a relaxing atmosphere for all, and a great opportunity to welcome all our new families.

Most of these mums and under 5’s continue to meet weekly at our Woodbourne Playgroup, so if you are in our area (even if it’s only for a short time) do pop into the Community Centre: Mon + Wed, 9.30 – 11.30am.


Wairouru Community Services Officer!!!

Over the past few years, RNZAF have been lucky enough to provide a number of flights down to Christchurch for visits to the Wigram Air Force Museum.  These were scheduled and used primarily as a welfare opportunity for NZDF families and dependants.

In October 2015, an invitation was extended to NZ Army personnel in both the Linton and Waiouru camps.  This scheduled opportunity was set for 20 January 2016 and was a day everyone was looking forward to!

There was at least 130 NZDF Family members congregated at RNZAF Ohakea early on that Wednesday morning, the children were buzzing in anticipation (parents looked a little more excited when they saw they were about to board a Boeing 747 and not a Hercules!)  An opportunity for a number of individuals to sit up in the cockpit for take off and landing both ways was a huge bonus and a first time for many of our people.

Buses were waiting at the airport to take us all to the Wigram Air Force Museum where staff provided children’s activities and tours for the duration of our visit and then we boarded our buses for the return trip back to Christchurch airport.

On our return to RNZAF Ohakea, weary parents disembarked from the plane with still totally hyped children, (some as young as 3) running around the airport lounge like aeroplanes until their buses arrived  -  Thinking then that surely they would sleep on the way back to Waiouru on the bus (2hr drive), well how wrong they were...

On behalf of all the families who were lucky enough to travel on this day, a huge thank you to the RNZAF and Army General Staff for giving us this opportunity and amazing experience.


Connecting Families in Trentham and Wellington

If you land a posting in the Trentham and Wellington region you have arrived in the Coolest Little Capital in the World!   Army, Navy, Air force and civilians are well represented in this region, and we are a diverse and wide spread community.  At times this presents a challenge to how we connect and support families and to how we deliver services.  Therefore we get creative!

November and December is a busy time for events with White Ribbon, Farewells and Postings, and Christmas Events.  Our biggest event of the year is the Wellington Defence Region Children’s Christmas Party; this is a celebration and 'thank you' to our families and is held annually at Trentham Camp.  It is full of traditional appeal with a visit to Santa’s grotto, bouncy castles, mini jeeps, pony rides, face painting, military displays and, free goodies to name a few.  This year we had a record number of attendees (over 700 kids!) as it was a beautiful day for families to come out, enjoy the party, and a time to say a big thank you to our families and particularly the children.

My role as a CSO requires me to engage and network with other local services and community networks to ensure our NZDF families are included in many opportunities.  It also means we muck in at local community events representing NZDF and therefore we are visible to our families out and about in the community.  White Ribbon Family day at Harcourt Park is a good example of this and many of our local families came along and soaked up sun and the positive atmosphere.

This year with good volunteer support we launched 'Connect' which is a Trentham/Wellington NZDF Womens Network of women supporting women within NZDF for fun, friendship, and support.   'Connect' events have included a “Cook In” making ready to go meals for families with partners away or with ill health.  There has also been a creative art workshop, a movie night, and most recently Christmas Crafts.  A more recent connect event was Christmas Craft a popular favourite run by volunteer Ruth Murray who we nominated this year for Volunteer of the Year.   Ruth focussed on ‘Creating Family Traditions’.  ‘Christmas in a Box’ and the Advent Calendar were traditions those who attended were going to take away to make and do at home. 

Awesome slides at the Kids Christmas Function!



Proud to be Linton

One of the key drivers for Manda and Lesley at the Linton Community Hub is creating an environment that our next generation of service person (ie our tamariki) can remember fondly.  We want them to look back on their childhood and think ‘I had the best time in Linton’.

With so many of our families buying homes and establishing themselves in new communities, it’s really hard to come up with reasons for families to come back over the bridge into our Housing Area and Camp.  To enable a sense of belonging, 1 (NZ) Brigade and the Linton Community Board host several regular activities during the year.

One of our popular annual activities corresponds with Halloween.  For the younger children there’s a ‘Whimsical Wander’ in Wedde Woods.  This is the perfect opportunity for our youngest children to dress up in costume, and walk through the woods with their family, collecting lollies along the way.  This is followed by a community disco. 

The event for our older, braver children evolves and changes each year.  This year we were able to provide two ‘Haunted Houses’.  The houses varied, to ensure we catered to most children from 8 and upwards.  Because it was a first for us, we invited parents and guardians to go through the houses before their children…we thought an informed decision was necessary, so the kids competed in sports activities while the parents braved the houses.  The reactions and feedback was hilarious at times, and it would be fair to say there were a lot of children that seemed braver than their parents! 

We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for supporting this activity.  It’s fantastic having so many people attend.

Special thanks to our volunteers. Without them these events would never be possible.

This page was last reviewed on 16 October 2017.