Tess Banfield

Proud to be an Eastsider

My name is Theresa Banfield I am currently on year 2 of my Bachelor of Social Work (Biculturalism in Practice) with Te Wānanga o Aotearoa. I live in the Eastside Rotorua and was given the opportunity to do my 60 day placement with Mokoia Community Association (MCA).

The kaupapa within the Mokoia Community Association — working with and for the community — is truly one I can say I have seen while doing my placement here, from the meetings to actively talking with our community around what they see for their future within our Eastside Community.

While at Mokoia Community Centre I have been involved in ER@P (Eastside Rangatahi at the Park), the introduction of the Trishaw and raising awareness around Rheumatic Fever.

Our youth within Eastside are amazing and have taught me so much on my journey with them. Our youth have a lot of talent and my hope is they will develop this in the future to be an inspiration to others. Seeing the respect they show for each other and the pride they have for their community makes me proud to be an Eastside resident.

Approaching fast is the day our Trishaw is to arrive which is such an exciting feeling. Working on the planning of a project and then seeing it all come together gives me a feeling of great accomplishment. I have seen the time and effort it takes to put an opportunity together so it can benefit those in our community.

Raising awareness around Rheumatic Fever gave me a great opportunity to meet many new families within Eastside. Having the opportunity to meet and talk with our community has helped me identify some of the needs our community has and how they would like to have these needs met.

Watching the respectful and collaborative relationships between a range of diverse groups has not only been an inspiration but also a privilege. The staff here at Mokoia Community Association, as well as other community members involved, has made my experience a positive one by supporting me to be a part of projects and meetings. Seeing the amount of time and effort it takes to ensure projects and programmes are carried out efficiently to meet the needs and wants of the Eastside community has been an eye opener for me. This has given me a new found appreciation for the amount of work and sacrifice that everyone involved puts in to working together to run programmes and community projects.

Although my time as a student on placement is coming to an end the learnings I have gained from my time here at Mokoia Community Association is something I will carry with me to wherever I may end up next on my journey.