Thursday, 16 July 2020


The Mercury Bay Health Support Trust

At their AGM on Thursday 4 July, the members of the Mercury Bay Health Support Trust celebrated another 12-month period of caring for and supporting each other.

The trust was initially established as an informal group by former Whitianga resident, Winston Norfolk, as a way for people suffering from heart and diabetes conditions to support each other. Over the years, the group expanded and when current patron, Wendy Algie, took over the running of the group in 2008, the group was made up of people suffering from a variety of health conditions.

Under Wendy’s guidance, a charitable trust was established and membership grew to more than 80 people.

Wendy became involved in the group not long after she and her husband, Matt, moved to Whitianga. “I was already struggling with my own health when we arrived in Whitianga, but wanted to do something constructive in the community,” says Wendy. “I walked into the Te Korowai office in town one day to ask where I could become involved and was given Winston Norfolk’s name. In the years that followed I was privileged to be part of a group of truly unselfish people who never shied away from encouraging others, despite their own, often quite serious, health issues.”

The members of the trust meet once a month at the Whitianga Social Services building in Cook Drive, Whitianga “We have a guest speaker at each of our meetings, mostly covering one or other health topic,” says Mary-Anne Lister, current chairperson of the trust. “We also have a social outing to the Birdwood Springs mini put course in Whitianga once a month and at the end of every year, we have a very enjoyable Christmas lunch at the Mercury Bay Game Fishing Club.

“Many of our members remember when Matt Algie dressed up as ‘Santa’s fairy’ for the lunch.

“We also make sure when our members aren’t well enough to leave home, that they get a personal visit from one of us and when they’re in hospital we always send them a card wishing them well.

“Our secretary put together an informative newsletter every month, containing updates on what has happened the past month or so, what our members can look forward to, including the guest speaker for our next meeting, interesting snippets of local history, other groups in the community our members may like to become involved with and a delicious recipe or two.

“Having to battle some kind of illness or disease is never easy. I’d like to think that we, as a group, make things for our members just that little bit easier.”

Well-known Whitianga local, Karen Miles, joined the Mercury Bay Health Support Trust only a few months ago and was immediately roped in as secretary. “I’ve been involved in many community groups over the years and look forward to be involved in the trust for many years to come,” says Karen. “During the AGM on 4 July, I couldn’t help to be impressed with the tolerance and respect the members have for each other and how they genuinely enjoy each other’s company.

“I want to encourage every person in the Mercury Bay community who is suffering from some form of health condition to consider joining the trust. It will do them the world of good.”

The trust’s next monthly meeting is on Thursday 1 August. The guest speaker will be Lisa Mitchell of the Heart Foundation’s Hamilton branch. For more information about the trust and how to join, please phone Maryanne on (07) 869 5952.

Pictured: Some of the members of the Mercury Bay Health Support Trust committee, after the trust’s AGM on Thursday 4 July. Back, from left to right - Warren Young, Alistair Mackenzie and Alison Simsonsen. Front, from left to right - Libby Maconagie, Mary-Anne Lister, Diana Campbell-Barnaby and Karen Miles.


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