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New District Delegate for Southern District
4 June 2008

An Introduction

Sarah HexamerSarah Hexamer (third from right) is the new Coordinator for Otago, started on May 5 and will step up to be the Southern Delegate at Board level. She has replaced Don Boyd who we wish well on his adventure. Here is an overview of Sarah in her own words:

"I moved to Dunedin from England in 2006 to join my partner who is a New Zealander originally from Central Otago. We don't have children however several ‘fluffy four legged children’ currently dominate our lives. We have no intentions of moving from Dunedin. However when it is freezing cold the Pacific Islands do sound tempting.

My background is quite varied, born in the South West of England I spent my teenage and early twenties traveling around Europe working with horses. My main career was in Buckinghamshire from 1994 until 1999 as an Ambulance Paramedic which is how I originally met my partner. I then ventured into the Natural Health Products market as I helped a friend launch her own business. My main career path relevant to this current role was from 2003 to 2006 as the Coordinator of a similar scheme to City Safety Officers/Community Patrols. Working in pairs they were permanently based in four residential areas of the city identified as ‘at risk’ of crime and anti social behaviour. My team engaged with the community, as well as acted as an intelligence source for the police. We also coordinated Neighbourhood Watch activities in the area keeping the street contact people informed of the crime trends, risks and we were very proactive in empowering ‘community spirit’ and ‘support’ during times of trouble and also in celebration when things were going well.

Since arriving in New Zealand I had been working as a probation officer for the Department of Corrections but took the opportunity to apply for and be successful in gaining this role as Coordinator. I have been fortunate to have been able to work with many agencies throughout the city during this time and these are invaluable contacts for me in the future vision of the scheme. I also have undertaken voluntary and consultancy work for the New Zealand Red Cross here in Dunedin focusing on the marketing and business development focus of their First Aid Training division as well as gaining further understanding of their Victim Support, Disaster Relief and the Emergency Response Units.

Since being in post I have been pretty proactive in raising the focus and profile of Neighbourhood Support and the TogetherNES campaign by attending community groups and also managed to get two features in the media and have also been interviewed for radio. In case you hadn’t guessed I am a complete media hog!!!! I am always looking foropportunities to get my name and photo in print or other mediums.

My aims for the scheme locally, apart from setting up more groups, is to work closely with the Civil Defence team in ensuring the ‘I Am Prepared’ objectives are met. I also intend to encourage more renters and younger members of the community into engaging with their local groups and neighbours. Oh and of course ensure we maintain regular positive media attention. I have already managed to gain the support of the local free paper and radio stations into featuring what we are up to on a regular basis. I have also received a lot of interest from the local community groups I have already met in relation to applying for funding from the TogetherNES pot.

I hope to meet many of you at the Joint Conference in June and look forward to working alongside you.

That’s it for me……….. I have probably bored you all to sleep!"


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