Mayor gets in behind Plunket appeal
Mayor Morris Cutforth doesn't seem to mind as young Elijah Neilsen plays with his mayoral chains.
After all it is youngsters such as the 4 month old who will benefit from Plunket's Bear Hug Appeal.
Mr Cutforth is helping Plunket Northland launch the appeal, which runs from March 4 to 10.
The appeal raises funds for Plunket to provide support services for Northland families, including parent support groups in vulnerable areas, community support workers, playgroups, car seat services and parent education programmes.
Plunket Northland area chairwoman Lyn Rostern says money raised will remain in the area.
"We're heavily reliant on the funds raised during our appeal. While Plunket's free home and clinic visits are government funded, some of the other services we provide are delivered by volunteers from funds raised in our communities," she says.
Plunket has been running for 105 years in New Zealand and is now the country's largest provider of services to support the well-being of children under 5.
Whangarei Plunket is celebrating its 90th birthday this year.
Mr Cutforth admits he was a "Plunket baby" and his children were too.
"I think that mothers in particular rely on Plunket's help. I know my mother did.
"Plunket is all about caring and nurturing which mothers are best at. My mother died when I was aged 11 and I missed my mother's caring after that time," he says.
Mr Cutforth says Plunket is like many organisations in Whangarei which rely on volunteers for support.
"I hope that when I retire as mayor I will become a volunteer as well."
Elijah's mother Josephine says she has had great support from the Plunket nurses. The first-time mum says they have been great with answering questions.
"They're really helpful. I just like to know the progress that he's making."
She is not surprised, however, that the youngster is happy to pose for cameras with the mayor.
Elijah has already appeared in his first performance, as baby Jesus in the Whangarei Central Baptist Church's Christmas play.