Tracey Harris, left, Wendy Turton, and Maureen Hodder stand in front of some of the artwork painted by Kuranui College students. PHOTO/ARTHUR HAWKES

ARTHUR HAWKES
arthur.hawkes@age.co.nz

Greytown’s new Hospice Shop opened its doors at 10am last Friday – by 9.30am there were already people queuing outside the premises.

Tracey Harris, volunteer services and fundraising manager at Wairarapa Hospice, said that the community’s response to the new op shop had been nothing short of “amazing”.

She said the opening day was “absolutely frantic” and that they had sold a huge volume of stock by the afternoon, which was very welcome after the loss of revenue and donations due to covid-19.

“It’s come to fruition out of necessity, so the funds are to help support the hospice keep going with the services that we currently run, and also to bring our outreach down further into South Wairarapa.

“In an ideal world we would have had a lot of time and a lot of funds to put into this, but we’ve had no time, and no funds, so the community has got behind us. It’s been amazing.”

The new shop, established in a matter of weeks, has been a product of people donating time, skill and materials.

The wood for the shop was donated by construction company Rigg Zschokke, who also built all the shelving. The staining was donated by Resene, and all the paint was donated by Mitre 10. Kuranui College students then used this to hand paint the colourful murals which flood the interior.

The fitting rooms were built from scratch by handyman Stu Bell [aka the Yes Man], with Greytown Menzshed constructing a host of tables and crates to store and sort donated items.

“It’s like the whole community has come together, we’ve been absolutely blessed.”

From the Te Kowhai building in Masterton, Hospice Wairarapa runs support services in the community for palliative care patients and their families.

“We do everything from counselling, to massage, to days out, to things on people’s bucket lists, to all sorts of dietary stuff, reflexology, reiki – just anything that’s going to support the patient through their journey.

“Everyone that comes to us is under palliative care, so less than a 12-month life span, and some people have been with us for three or four years, so we’re really lucky with that.”

Harris said that, while Hospice Wairarapa had a very limited number of paid staff, they had an army of about 130 volunteers, and that the new South Wairarapa expansion had already increased interest massively.

“Since we started here, we’ve had 27 people now volunteer from the Greytown and Carterton communities.”