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Devonport and Takapuna sites now Mates accredited

Written by Maryvonne Gray
on October 04, 2023

Ryman Healthcare’s oldest and newest construction teams in Auckland recently joined forces to celebrate getting their Mates in Construction accreditation.

The Devonport team, which began construction on William Sanders Retirement Village in 2017, gathered with the Takapuna crew at their new office to see their Project Managers Kris Perkins and Will Drennan receive their Mates’ plaques.

It’s proof that the teams have met the required ratios of Site Connectors and evidence that they take the mental health and wellbeing of their colleagues seriously, said Field Officer Damian Tuiloma.


“Everyone now knows this place supports the mental health and wellbeing of everyone,” said Damian, as he held the plaque aloft.

“This is just a symbol of all that hard work. It takes a lot of work, what we ask of you to do is give up time and when you look at a project it’s very hard to set that time aside.

“I know that other sites and other organisations and companies find it very hard to give up that time, but it never seems to be a problem when I’m visiting you guys.

“That’s massive from our perspective because that’s time spent looking into that space of moving forward and mental health to help support our workers.”

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Mates' Field Officer Damian Tuiloma explains the importance of the work that the Devonport and Takapuna teams have undertaken.

The Mates in Construction programme began in Australia with the purpose of reducing the high numbers of suicide in the construction industry.

In New Zealand, construction workers are six times more likely to die from suicide than from an accident at work.

Mates’ field officers are sent out to sites to support and enable an environment that encourages positive wellbeing.

The Mates team engages with workers through on-site training and through Site Connectors, who can connect those at risk with support from officers trained in suicide intervention skills.

Ryman Healthcare is a Mates in Construction premium partner, having invested considerably in the programme.

While Takapuna was still at the beginning of the construction journey, Devonport was in the final throes of completing the last apartment block and carrying out some final touches to landscaping on the main site.

But Damian said the training was vital wherever the project was at.

“For Devonport, how many challenges have you guys faced and look at where you are now?

“It doesn’t matter if the project is nearly complete or just coming out of the ground, there’s always time to have that intention that safety is important for everyone.”

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Some of the team members who have made the commitment to the Mates programme.

Virtually the whole team at Devonport has undertaken their Connector training plus three contractors who work closely on site too.

They are Pele Vaaga, Raghad Asmaro, Jim Otimi, Kris Perkins and Peter Allport, who also works at Takapuna, and contractors Siaosi Manu, Pesailili Faupula and Lealofi Ah Fook.

Kris said it was a great way to bring the team together: "I believe in the Mates in Construction cause and appreciate all that they do."

At Takapuna, of the nine-strong team, QA Coordinator Thalia Gunn and Health & Safety Coordinator Journey Van der Velde have completed their Connector training with three others carrying out their basic Mates training.

Fellow Mates Field Officer Ronnie Tuano presented Will with the Takapuna team’s plaque.

“It’s always awesome to see a site getting that effort and taking that time to do this,” he said.

Will said it had been an honour to host the Mates Accreditation awards said he appreciated the programme’s efforts to create a thoughtful society within the workplace.

“Ryman proudly embraces the Mates in Construction message and our Takapuna team hosts two Mates Connectors, Thalia Gunn and Journey van der Velde,” he said.

“Receiving this accreditation from Mates that acknowledged the commitment and genuine care exhibited through our team toward all the workers on site was an esteemed moment for the Ryman Takapuna team.”

To celebrate, the team shared a BBQ together courtesy of the Placemakers team.

About Ryman Healthcare:

Ryman was founded in 1984 and has become one of New Zealand’s largest listed companies. The company owns and operates 45 retirement villages in New Zealand and Australia which are home to more than 13,900 residents and the company employs 6,800 team members.

Media advisory: For further information, photos, interviews or comment please contact Group Corporate Affairs Manager Silke Marsh on +64 27 294 3609 or Communications Advisor Maryvonne Gray on 027 552 0767.

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