Enjoying community service

St John Kaikoura is pleased to introduce three new members of the team, who are all excited about learning the ropes and being able to serve the community in a positive and rewarding way.

At 19, Peter Haberstock is the youngest new recruit. Peter finished school last year and has been working at New World this year.

Looking for a career path but also keen to help in the community joining St John seemed like the ideal opportunity, and since signing up about six months ago he has not looked back.

Peter says he is very much enjoying the challenge and opportunity to help others. He is rostered with the team every Saturday night and, while he has had a few jobs, he has fortunately not had to deal with anything too serious, at least nothing which has put him off yet.

Peter recently passed his driving course. Along with fellow new recruits Jacky and Andreana, he got to drive around Christchurch for two days of training, which he says was pretty cool.

He is keen to commit to St John while he still resides in Kaikoura and to work his way through the various study components to climb through the ranks, although for now he is happy to settle in to the new role and learn with the rest of the team.

Jacky Savill, who signed up about the same time as Peter, has had a long interest in becoming an active part of the service since living in the United Kingdom, where she is from.

"I had always been interested back in the UK but it's harder to get into over there," she says. "I find the practical side of it really interesting, and it's nice to be using my brain again after 12 years in hospitality."

Jacky came to Kaikoura in 2008 after a previous visit to see her sister, Susie, who lives here. She fell in love with the place and also decided to emigrate.

And she is relishing her new duties with St John since joining in June. Having completed the induction and driving course, she is now looking forward to her first responder course in March. The new move could even signal a change of career for her. With a potential move to Canada in a few years' time, she hopes to have completed her national diploma in ambulance practice and be on her way to becoming a paramedic.

Jacky has notched up quite a few interesting jobs in her first few months and says thanks to the team, who are very supportive, she has been given plenty of hands-on experience already.

The third new member of the team is Andreana Hamilton, who has been in Kaikoura about six years. Her husband, David, is from Kaikoura originally and missed the place so they decided to move back and Andreana is loving the lifestyle.

It wasn't until Andreana read a flyer asking for volunteers that she realised St John staff were volunteers.

"What I love about [St John] is giving back to the community, helping the wider community. It's not just first aid, they are involved in helping with funerals and other things," she says. "And patient care is really important, whether it be arranging for someone to look after a dog or cat, these things are important because they help relieve the stress."

A former meals on wheels volunteer, Andreana sees St John as an extension of this service, and she is thrilled to be a part of it.

"I'm very much a newbie, so every time I go out on a job I learn something new . . . It's very much a learning experience."

Fortunately Andreana has not yet been involved in a chaotic situation, however when she arrived at her first job she was worried it might be a big one.

"There was a helicopter, police and fire crew all around - I thought there would be lots of victims but luckily it was only one Asian lady."

Originally from Malaysia, Andreana was pin-pointed to help and was able to put the little Mandarin she knows to good use.

"I could tell her not to be afraid, and explained what we were going to do for her . . . that's when I realised how important it is to communicate, to calm people down." While she is enjoying getting the experience and learning from each job, she hopes the summer season passes without serious incident, but knows whatever happens she is part of a great team who can be of real benefit to the small community they live in.

Jacky and Andreana both work at Encounter Kaikoura, and say many Kaikoura employers are to be commended for their commitment to ensuring the emergency services are staffed by volunteers who are able to drop everything and run if they need to, and employers who will schedule rosters around training.

If you are interested in joining St John or finding out more about the organisation on a local level, call team manager Don Wright on 319 5199.

Kaikoura Star