Mission to connect people still focus

Do you remember what you were doing in December 1999?

I was 18 years old and bright-eyed about starting scarfie life inthe new year.

A new millennium was looming and Y2K had everyone pondering, a certain Prince song was onhigh rotation, and Hilux’s new advertising campaign saw Crumpy replaced by Hercules the swearing dog. At the same time here in Gore, a group of community stakeholders was brainstorming about what Eastern Southland needed to be better connected.

In May 2000 a public meeting was called to hear the community’s wants and needs.

The idea was floated to create an umbrella organisation to facilitate these — the Community Networking Trust.

The vision was, and still is, for Eastern Southland to be a healthy, connected and resilient community.

The Community Networking Trust aimed to bring needed services to our rohe (district) to reduce rural isolation as a barrier for accessing support, lead networking and collaboration across the social and community sector, and provide a community house to support the kaupapa (plan).

In October 2000 the first premises were leased and housed both staff and tenant agencies, and the Community Connections Centre was established.

In 2010 it moved to 1 Charlton Lane, Gore, our current premises.

For our 21st we rebranded the centre as Connected Eastern Southland; the kaupapa remains the same. We are proud of our values: whanaungatanga (connection), manaakitanga (care), collaboration and empowerment.

We are here to work with others, so our community has access to the supports it needs, and we are here to reduce barriers.

Connected Eastern Southland offers a friendly and accommodating place to look at the job boards, get a new CV, complete job applications, connect to community groups, access government and non-government services and information, and support from people who are passionate about this special piece of the motu — free of charge.