By James Casson:

When I first became a Police Officer, a wise old Sergeant in Wanganui gave me a piece of advice. “Son, you are here to do a job, not for yourself but for the community. You have to do it well because for society to function properly people have to feel safe and live without fear of harm. If they do not feel safe or are always fearful, then society breaks down and we sulk ourselves and don’t give a damn for anybody else.”

I’ve always remembered these words of wisdom, and it is what kind of led me into the community policing. Working with the community is rewarding, inspiring and a challenge.

Since leaving the Police, certain sectors of the community have never failed to impress me in what they do for each other, without being requested to and for no financial reward, and that is what I want to talk about.

Our Hamilton community have recently rallied around two Hamiltonians who are in a battle with terminal cancers. Dave Evans and his wife Liz are new immigrants to New Zealand.

Shortly after arriving, Dave was diagnosed with terminal bile duct cancer. The love and support shown by so many who have never met both Dave and Liz is incredible – from meal trains and offers of transport to donating to their ‘Give a Little page’ to help pay for Dave’s funeral as his insurance company refused to pay out which was disgusting. Suburbs Community Sports Club organised a lifelong dream of Dave’s to witness a Maori Haka live and arranged for members from the Clubs Senior A’s, B’s and Presidents Rugby teams to perform a Haka for Dave at Waikato Hospice. The Haka was powerful and there was not a dry eye from those who witnessed it.

The other Hamiltonians are Michelle McCarthy and her husband, Mike. Michelle was diagnosed with leukaemia.

Again the community has rallied with food trains, donations and charity events such as quiz nights and even a head shaving event (in which I participated in going bald) to raise money for Michelle and her family. The show of love and support has been amazing and inspiring from so many who don’t even know both Michelle and Mike.

Sadly both are losing their battles but the love, support and kindness shown by so many fantastic Hamiltonians has not gone unnoticed or without huge appreciation and has shown what a great city Hamilton is. 

When we work together, care for each other and show love/aroha for those in need then our beautiful city is just that little bit better, and our community thrives, where we all feel a bit of pride and feel just that little bit more connected and safe.

Lastly, I want to acknowledge Annie and her team from “Annies Corner” at Keats Crescent, Hamilton.

Annie and her amazing team uplift items of food from Kaivolution Hamilton, who in turn get unsold food items from an array of stores and cafes. They distribute these items to needy members of the community free, that’s right, free to families in need which is an amazing community-minded venture. Any costs incurred are met by Annie herself, which is a very selfless act of kindness. Without people like them in Hamilton, our community would be that much poorer for it.

So, get to know your neighbours, even saying ‘hello’ with a smile can change someone’s day. if you can help each other in any way possible no matter how small the community spirit in Hamilton will continue to grow and that way we all feel connected, involved and that much better for it. 

James Casson, Hamilton City Councillor (East Ward) Email: james.casson@council.hcc.govt.nz ; Mob: 027 808 5173

Viewpoint

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