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Kiri Te Kanawa Kindness Award Winner

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Kiri Te Kanawa kindness award winner Von Biddle pictured with the colleagues who nominated her.
From left to right: Tracey Schumann, Pelvet Liava’a-Kavai, Von Biddle, Carol Kepa and Mere Kerekere.

To say Von Biddle was shocked when she won the Kiri Te Kanawa Kindness Award is a bit of an understatement.

“I was freaked out. I wanted to know why the boss wanted to speak to me at handover. I couldn’t think of anything I’d done wrong, and I wondered whether I had to pack my bags.’’

In fact Von, who has worked at the Gisborne village since 2013, had done everything right.

The winner of the village’s inaugural kindness award was praised by her colleagues for her consistently kind and caring approach to residents and staff alike.

“She made me feel welcome onto night shift and showed me the best way to get my work done,’’ wrote one.

“She is personable with all residents and makes them feel happy and comfortable whenever she is in contact with them.’’

Her secret to kindness is always being willing to show others that she cares.

“That’s kindness to me. If you don’t have kindness you have nothing, if you don’t give out kindness you won’t get it back.’’

Von says she loves working as a care assistant at the village because it is like having 60 grandparents at her disposal each day.

“I love the residents. They are just lovely. They’ve got stories to share and they’re always there for you. If I'm not having a real fantastic day they can tell and they cheer me up. They are great friends and great people.’’

She says she was surprised to win the award because she’d nominated someone else. There is plenty of kindness at the village, she says.

“Anyone can walk in off the street and someone will ask if they can help and give them a big smile. It is an awesome team. We couldn’t do what we do without great teamwork.’’