WorkWell working for Downer

26 February 2018

A team from Downer are the second workplace in Tairāwhiti to receive their bronze wellness accreditation from WorkWell. WorkWell is a workplace wellness initiative designed to improve the health and wellbeing their workforce.

The programme was introduced by Hauora Tairawhiti’s WorkWell advisor Wanita Tuwairua-Brown in 2016. Downer has had some huge health successes within the workplace in the last year said Tuwairua-Brown and this is an opportunity to recognise the organisation's efforts.

Supported by senior management and run by team leader Rhys Hopkins, the team attended a presentation at the company’s head office yesterday followed by a healthy morning tea.

Mrs Tuwairua-Brown said when she first came in to introduce the programme morning tea consisted of pies and donuts and sugary drinks.

Now a healthy spread of asparagus rolls, club sandwiches, platters of meats and chutneys and vegetable dips, as well as fresh fruit, was the menu of choice.

Area manager Rohi O’Connell said they have learned so much from the Hauora Tairawhiti dietitian Nicki Mathieson and they now share healthy recipes.

There is a social aspect too as the team encourage one another to take up fitness challenges and they have shed kilograms as the result of a healthier diet and fitness regime.

"Rohi has been a great supporter of WorkWell since Downer's commitment began over a year ago.

"Since then he has belonged to the working group and taken part in activities such as learning to make a healthy affordable breakfast and discussions on healthy eating by our dietitian," said Ms Tuwairua-Brown.

The team has also taken part in the Kaiti Hill challenge and got free entry to the Olympic Pools in September 2016 as a way to encourage participation and engagement.

Mr O’Connell had some serious health challenges and has lost 17 kilograms.

He is still working towards his goal weight.

"WorkWell has had a positive impact on the whole Downer Team," he says.

"This is seen at the team-brief morning tea, where pies and donuts have been replaced with much healthier food choices and enjoyed by all."

The team also have healthier food choices and soft drinks and pies are not seen in the lunchroom anymore.

"We share positive discussions on healthy living now and many members enjoy a healthier lifestyle."

"We want to say a big thanks to Wanita, Nicki, Rhys and Adele and the WorkWell team."

Another Downer employee Duley Taiapa who works for Chorus on the lines from Tokomaru Bay north to Potaka has lost 15 kilograms and said he is feeling so much better for it.

"I took part in a 12-week challenge at the beginning. I walked up Kaiti Hill 31 times and I’ve now got two new hips."

Team leader Rhys Hopkins, who has done an excellent job leading the team on this positive journey, was happy to receive the accreditation and it said it reflects some "awesome outcomes".

He said the linesmen work independently so the WorkWell programme has helped with mental wellbeing too as it brings people together to work on common health and fitness goals.

WorkWell is a nationwide initiative developed by Toi Te Ora Public Health Service. The initiative is aimed at changing the way businesses work to improve staff wellbeing.

The idea is that a healthy hinengaro (mind), tinana (body) and wairua (spirit) is better for the individual staff member and increases productivity for the business.

WorkWell programmes are run by staff for staff - this means staff are in control, not health providers or services. This empowers them to support their workmates towards better overall health, instead of being told what they need to improve.

The programme works in three accreditation stages; bronze, silver and gold, with accreditation occurring under a positive assessment process. Bronze acknowledges that the foundation for a sustainable WorkWell programme has been built.

Interested workplaces can register on the WorkWell website or contact Wanita Tuwairua-Brown 06 869 1311 ext 8735.

Downer Workwell Presentation

At the WorkWell accreditation, presentation are (back, from left) Ian Robinson, Duley Taiapa, Craig Smith, Shaun Dawick, Cyril Payn, Wanita Tuwairua-Brown (Hauora Tairawhiti advisor), Rhys Hopkins, Reed Ngaporo, John Grace and Rohi O’Connell (area manager). Seated are Mike Bradley, Gary Libeau, Chris Dymock, Paul Magee, Ruel Mondugar, Dave Stafford and Mike Sheely (Chorus area manager). Thanks, Gisborne Herald for the photo.