Princess Alexandra kindness award winner Leanne Nukunuku pictured with the colleagues who nominated her.
From left to right: Tania Boyd, Leanne Nukunuku, Sharlene Meyrick and Angela O’Connor.
When Leanne Nukunuku goes home from her shift at Princess Alexandra Retirement Village each day, she likes to think she leaves behind a lot of happy residents.
What she hadn’t realised until recently was that she also left behind a lot of happy staff as well.
The caregiver joined the Princess Alexandra team in 2008 after spending two years driving past the gates thinking to herself that she’d work for Ryman one day.
She plucked up courage, walked in, landed a job and has never looked back.
Leanne’s mother was also a caregiver, but she took a slightly circuitous route through a few jobs before she took it up as a career.
“I love working with older people,’’ she says. “You never get two days the same and I love walking out of the gates knowing I’ve done everything and I’ve left the residents happy.’’ “I love getting up in the morning wondering what I’m in for today.’’
She was surprised to win the Kindness award – she’d nominated someone else who she thought deserved the prize.
Leanne was a popular nomination. Other staff at the village praised Leanne for her hard work, her listening skills and her empathy. She was also a great advocate for her residents and other staff, colleagues said.
“Leanne does and says a lot behind the scenes to help go that extra mile with residents and families to reassure them that things are; or will be ok. She always listens, expresses her opinions and is a voice for our residents and staff on duty and behind the scenes.’’
“I really admire Leanne and her approach, her willingness, her calmness, her friendliness, great smile and her overall work ethic. Leanne is an awesome role model to others and sets a great standard for others to follow. I think she's awesome and deserves it!’’
Leanne’s formula for Kindness is simple – and familiar.
“Kindness to me is treating others as you would be treated yourself. You have to respect their cultures – that’s really important to me. Kindness can be making eye contact, holding their hand or just taking an extra minute to listen.’’
Leanne is busy renovating her house with her partner and was planning to spend her Kindness voucher at the shops.
“It will be a good bit of woman’s therapy,’’ she says.