Sharing hope at community centre

Fresh face . . . Barbara Nustrini is feeling fortunate to be able to serve the community which welcomed her. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

On a trip around the South Island, Barbara Nustrini stopped at a random lake and fell in love with the view.

Fifteen years later she is firmly entrenched in the community.

While she had come back for holidays over the years, Nustrini and her son Samuele, now 12 years old, made the move to Tekapo three years ago.

As the new Mackenzie Community Development worker, she felt incredibly fortunate to serve the community which had welcomed them both.

‘‘I love it here.’’

Growing up in Italy, Nustrini moved to Auckland with her family as a 13-year-old.

She said after the initial cultural shock she quickly adopted New Zealand as her forever home.

Her 14-year-old dog Hope, a Cesky fousek, had made the move with them.

While the dog would run 10km a day when they first arrived, now Hope just plodded along.

It had been a change of pace for Nustrini too, as she had left her job of 17 years working as a firefighter.

In her former life there was ‘‘plenty of adrenaline’’.

‘‘People think it must be stressful, but there was no time to stress.

‘‘There was more time after the fact, thinking ‘that was a bit hairy’.’’

With no looming deadlines, and not being able to take work home with her, it allowed her to be very present at home.

‘‘You are always doing something worthwhile.’’ In her new role at the Community Rooms she would still be able to help people. She hoped people in the community would let her know if they needed of any kind of support, practical or emotional.

She promised confidentiality and — if she could not help — to point people in the direction of someone who could.

‘‘Anything from an idea for a community project or initiative; or if they had spotted a need not being met: come and have a chat and let’s see what resources we can tap into.’’

She said there was a lot the centre was providing which was underused, such as the book exchange and the community meeting room.

‘‘It has a beautiful view over the lake, it’s a shame they aren’t used more.’’

‘‘Come in and have a chat and a cuppa, and get some free pats and cuddles from Hope.’’

She would be in the Community Rooms at 8 Simpson Lane every Wednesday, 11am-1pm, and could be contacted at 021 350-700 any time.