Skip to content

Waikato District Councillors join forces with roading partner to raise awareness for mental health

Waikato District Mayor Jacqui Church joined eight Councillors to promote mental health awareness with Council’s roading partners Waikato District Alliance (WDA).

To celebrate Gumboot Friday, the group took part in an annual gumboot-throwing competition hosted by WDA.

WDA Manager Gary Dela Rue said this is the second year in a row that they’ve held the competition to bring light to the importance of mental health.

“As this was our second gumboot throwing event, we decided to do it in style with an early morning BBQ, spot prizes and a trophy up for grabs. It was awesome to see members of our team, Councillors and Mayor Jacqui all get involved,” he said.

Joining the friendly competition, Mayor Jacqui emphasised the importance of uplifting, caring for and celebrating those struggling with mental health and wellbeing.

“Mental health and wellbeing encompass all aspects of our lives, so it’s our responsibility to care for our employees and put steps in place to improve mental health and wellbeing in the workplace,” she said.

“It was inspiring to join the Alliance and see the work they’re doing to support employees and generate conversation around mental health.”

On top of the gumboot throwing, female Councillors and Mayor Jacqui joined a development session aimed at helping female crew members grow, develop and progress both professionally and personally.

“We’ve been running these development sessions since the start of the year to try and help our female crew members become cohesive as a team and focus on their self-development,” Gary said.

“In a predominantly male-led industry, we want to empower them to progress into other roles that are available to them, essentially the sky is the limit. Our industry badly needs skilled motivated people.”

Led by Angela Parquist from ROAR Coaching, the session focused on “stop, start, continue“ - helping participants recognise what they should stop doing, what they should start doing, and what they should continue doing.

“We’re very conscious of the stress and strain on our crews, so we take every opportunity to wrap care and support around them. It’s about expanding care for our employees. Because they often don’t have time to think about it themselves, we always try keep it front of mind,” said Gary.

Taking part in the development session herself, Mayor Jacqui praised the WDA for its commitment to mental health and wellbeing.

“It was great to see the empowerment that came out of the morning. We never had anything like that when I was younger, so it’s amazing to see the impact that these kinds of events have.”