[un · sung pal ]

A pal who makes the world a better place, always giving more than they have to their community without ever seeking reward or recognition.

A pal who makes the world a better place, always giving more than they have to their community without ever seeking reward or recognition.

We all know that pal who is just a certified legend. Always putting other people first and doing their bit to make the world a better place, while never tooting their own horn. This deserving pal might work 9-5pm but always fits in volunteering on the side - whether it's picking up rubbish on their local beach or organising food parcels to those in need, they're just awesome. And we love these pals too.

So, we launched 'UNSUNG PALS’ to reward and say cheers to someone who might have flown under the radar but made a positive difference in 2021, as nominated by their pal. We gave away a share of $30,000 (NZD) to three winners, receiving $5,000 donated to their community work or to a charity of their choice and $5,000 reward to say a big thanks for their efforts. 

Nominations now closed.

Meet Our Unsung Pals

Carrie Wooller, a full time fifth year law student at Otago University is no typical student. 

Last year, she was integral in raising $43,0000 for Te Whare Pounamu Dunedin Women’s Refuge through a series of charity events - to a charity gig, auction, bake sale, quiz night, and clothing sale. While juggling her two degrees, Carrie also volunteers her time at Community Law Otago, giving out free legal advice to ensure that the vulnerable and struggling members of her community have access to quality legal advice. And in case she didn’t have enough on her plate, Carrie is also a Red Cross refugee resettlement volunteer trained to help former refugees assimilate into Dunedin’s society, teaching all the basics we take for granted every day: how to use public transport, how the NZ healthcare system works, enrolling in schools and where to buy food. 

"She has put in over 180 hours of mahi this year, all out of the kindness of her heart to help some of society's most vulnerable.I don't know anyone else who is so dedicated to just simply being a great human being."

- Joey, Carrie’s nominator pal. 

Carrie has chosen for her $5,000 donation to go to Te Whare Pounamu Dunedin Women’s Refuge to continue their important work to keep women and children safe. As for her own reward, she plans to celebrate the end of her degree with a trip to Rarotonga.

Diana Manutai is a full time working mum of two based in Te Awamutu, who founded a community organisation, Musika’s Gift with her husband Vene. Musika’s Gift was set up in loving memory of Vene’s younger brother, Musika Glenn Manutai who tragically passed away due to sucide in 2014. To continue to spread his kindness that he was known for, Musika’s Gift delivers free food parcels to all around the Waikato to families going through hardship but mostly those affected by suicide loss. Run completely on donations, they have grown the parcels from 10 in their first year to 300 parcels last year, showing those going through hardship that their community is there for them. 

"Di and Vene run this charity purely through donations, hard mahi, and their own money… Diana is genuinely one of the most caring and kind people I have ever met and she loves her community so much. Di is always there if you need someone to talk to and her manaakitanga is widely felt."

- Maggie, Diana’s nominator pal 

Diana has chosen for her donation to go directly into buying $5,000 worth of Pak n Save vouchers for 50 Musika’s Gift  hampers. To help them continue to raise donations for Musika’s Gift, Diana will be using her $5,000 reward to produce merchandise that can be sold and profits go directly back to the charity.

When lockdown hit the small Waikato town of Meremere, Ben Brown and a team of local volunteers at Meremere Community Development Committee sprung into action to help vulnerable families struggling to make ends meet. Within a few days, Ben had begun finding suppliers and donations to help deliver over 2,000 food and sanitation packs to their community. 

“This lockdown alone, he has single handedly distributed 30 tons of produce throughout North Waikato on his Hino truck which he bought to assist with his work in the community. He is truly a fantastic member of our community.” 

- Catherine, Ben’s nominator pal 

Ben has continued to deliver over 30 truck loads to local food banks that support the wider Waikato community, juggling his time with his signwriting business and commuting up to Auckland weekly. 

Ben has chosen for his donation to go directly towards funding the Meremere food bank to purchase supplies to pack 150 food parcels.  As for his own reward,  he’ll be going green, using his donation to install solar panels at his home.