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Lavinia Steps Up

A smiling woman wearing a light blue non-clinical support uniform.

Meet Lavinia Paparoa, a cleaner at Greenlane Hospital. She’s been teaching us about the impact COVID-19 has had on the lives of our cleaners, as part of a development programme called Step Up.

Step Up helps our people gain the confidence to progress their career at Te Toka Tumai.

A cleaner with us for the past seven years, Lavinia had completed an earlier course where she was required to do a group presentation. But there was a surprise in store when she joined Step Up. “You had to show you’d stepped up, so you had to do the presentation on your own in front of managers and peers,” she says. “That was kind of… yeah, mindblowing.”

Adele Thomas, Organisation Development Practice Lead, says that Lavinia really shone as a speaker. “Participants were asked to choose a topic to research – something that would help Te Toka Tumai see things from a different perspective,” says Adele. “Lavinia chose something close to her heart – the impact that COVID-19 had on her cleaning whānau. Her honesty and clarity touched a chord.”

A woman presenting at a podium. A Powerpoint slide is in the background. The slide reads COVID-19Lavinia told of how strange it was those first few days of the level 4 lockdown. “You came in to work with the other girls and you knew something was up, but none of us knew what it was,” she says. “Then we realised it was COVID-19 and if you got it you died from it. People were being asked to stay home due to age or health, but we cannot afford not to come into work.”

Our value of Tūhono (togetherness) really stands out for Lavinia. “We were thinking of each other, and our doctors and nurses along the way,” she recalls. “It drew us to where we needed to be; supporting each other!”

Lavinia learnt how to use a Chromebook to research and build her presentation. "The cool part is, they get to keep it,” says Adele. “In many cases, the participant takes their computer home, meaning it benefits their whole whānau.”

 Lavinia wants Step Up to continue on to the next generation. “Step Up has given me the confidence to think about other roles within the organisation,” she says. “I’ve been offered opportunities I wouldn’t have had – like providing administrator cover in the staff residence. If you put yourself out there, there’s someone willing to help you.”

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