HUHA team members recognised

HUHA founder Carolyn Press-McKenzie, left, with foster dog Puggly, and Otaki HUHA shelter manager Claire Thornton, and ...
Karoline Tuckey

HUHA founder Carolyn Press-McKenzie, left, with foster dog Puggly, and Otaki HUHA shelter manager Claire Thornton, and her own greyhound, Indie.

Two animal welfare volunteers working with HUHA have picked up notable nods for their work.

HUHA (Helping You Help Animals) Otaki shelter manager Claire Thornton has been recognised with a Kiwibank Regional Local Hero Award, and will be presented with a medal at a ceremony in Palmerston North on November 17.

Thornton has been with the shelter since it opened about four years ago, and said the voluntary work was hard, but rewarding.

"It's a team effort - we have about 30 core volunteers, there's a place for everyone.

"The highlights are definitely the animals and the relationships involved, and seeing a rescue from the start all the way through the process of healing and coming out the other side to a wonderful outcome and family."

Thornton is also set to be the manager at a new site in Manakau the organisation will develop if resource consent applications proceed as hoped.

HUHA founder Carolyn Press-McKenzie, who is based in Kaitoke but frequently works across Kapiti as well, has been nominated for the New Zealander of the Year award in the Kiwibank awards. The results will be announced next year.

She was also among the five finalists for the Community section of the Next magazine Women of the Year awards, which she celebrated at a ceremony in Auckland in October.

"It's really lovely to see HUHA being recognised; it's 100 per cent voluntary, and everyone works so hard. So we're just proud that the team gets acknowledged."

Press-McKenzie said the organisation currently has a following of about 39,000 on Facebook, and receive about 1000 phone calls a month.

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"Mostly for advice and help [for caring for animals]."

The women said the need for the organisation's work was so great they had strategically become very focused on public education, to try to spread their impact as far as possible.

"Right from the beginning we realised it was bigger than us. Social media has given us the medium, and is I think where HUHA has grown so fast, and does well," Press-McKenzie said.

"So we share the stories and people help us find good outcomes and change their own lifestyles." 

 - Stuff

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