Eastern Courier : March 27th 2015
YOUR PLACE, YOUR PAPER Friday, March 27, 2015 Teen chosen as Unicef ambassador By MEGHAN LAWRENCE Saffron Huang, 17, is making a stand for children’s rights. The Macleans College year 13 student is one of eight United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) Youth Ambassadors for New Zealand. The two-year placement see Huang will empowering others to take action and running her own events in support of the campaigns and projects. Huang became involved Not happy: Nixon Park Community Hall secretaryCora Young, left, and chairwomanJody Nicolson are determined to fight hall hire fee increases. Exodus after fee increase By BEN HILL ALMOST half the groups using a local hall have abandoned the facility after huge fee increases. Nine of the Nixon Park Community Hall’s 21 regular user groups now operate from other facilities, after prices jumped by several hundred per cent in some cases. Nixon Park Community Hall committee chairwoman Jody Nicolson says the groups were poorly informed about the increases last July. ‘‘The ones that have left have done so mainly because of the way it was done, with only two days notice. ‘‘We were given an expla- nation that it would be a minor movement up or down, but our fees went way up.’’ She says fighting the increases has been ‘‘an ongoing battle’’. ‘‘This hall was built by the community. ‘‘We look after it and now we are asked to pay again, well I say ‘no’ to that.’’ Howick Local Board’s Nixed: Use of the Nixon ParkCommunity Hall has dropped sharply. community facilities portfolio lead Lucy Schwaner says the low numbers are a ‘‘reflection of the groups who left last year after the new fees and charges came into effect’’. The board has reverted back to the old rates for existing users. It didn’t realise some groups were paying lower than advertised rates when the changes were made, Schwaner told the Eastern Courier last year. A council report on the hall’s use says some groups are ‘‘hesitant to rebook because they believe their charges will increase in coming years’’. The board’s most recent six-month performance report shows from July to November last year, the hall’s utilisation has halved from 50 to 25 per cent compared to the same time period in 2013. The Howick Cardiac Club used the Nixon Park facility for 20 years before leaving last year. President Joyce Norton says it left ‘‘because rents ❝ This hall was built by the community.We look after it and now we are asked to pay again, well I say ‘no’ to that Nixon Park Community Hall committee chairwoman Jody Nicolson were going up’’. ‘‘We didn’t know what was going on. There was going to be swipe cards, new locks, all kinds of rules.’’ Council community facili- ties manager Kevin Marriott says the low numbers at Nixon Park are not a trend for community facilities across Auckland. Young leader: Saffron HuangfromMacleans College has been selected as one of eightUnicef Youth Ambassadorsfor NewZealand. Photos: BEN HILL with Unicef in 2013 at its annual New Zealand Youth Congress and helped co-ordinate a dinner which raised about $1000 for the charity. She’s always thought service is important and wants to put her time towards something that helps others. ‘‘I think human rights is really important and children are some of the worst affected because they are so vulnerable. ‘‘I support anyone that campaigns for children’s rights, gender equality or is against child trafficking,’’ she says. Unicef is one of the organisation’s world’s leading emergency response agencies for children and supports development and aid projects in more than 190 countries and territories around the world. ‘‘Unicef is all about chil- dren and children’s rights so it is important that we get youth involved so we aren’t speaking for them, but we are speaking with them,’’ Huang says. The main projects she will be involved in during her placement include forming a network of Unicef youth clubs throughout New Zealand and raising money to build schools in Kiribati. ‘‘I really want to get other people involved and to get to know these issues more indepth.’’ Huang is a high school ambassador for UN Youth New Zealand and a member of the Howick Youth Council. She is also the deputy head girl at Macleans College and is involved in music, speech competitions and tennis. ‘‘Life is busy, but I like being busy. ‘‘I like to use my skills and knowledge to help people,’’ she says.
March 25th 2015