Last month The Southern Primary Health Organisation were running a ‘Working To Health’ Award Scheme – And we received a Gold award… wooohooooooo!

The aim of the award scheme is to promote health and wellbeing in rural Otago, to raise awareness of the value of health and health promotion in the workplace.

There were seven categories in all and we got five out of seven!

We met the criteria for the award under Physical Activity, Healthy Eating, Mental Health, Sun Protection and of course Environmental Awareness!

This means we qualify for a Gold Award!!!
We are not yet officially a Smokefree workplace or breastfeeding friendly so that is the 2 places we fell down on.

Saying that, if any mother wanted to breastfeed their child in privacy, we would go out of our way to find them somewhere comfortable and private to do so.

Now, after working at Wanaka Wastebusters for nearly 2 1/2 years, I have to say that aside from the fact we are all pretty mental, Enviro-MENTAL, it is a real pleasure to recieve some recognition for the fact we like to encourage mental wellbeing and general happiness amongst the staff. The award really does make you think about your workplace environment, and to look at what areas we can improve on.

So, what do we do???

Scotty and Pete with some of the kids

Hmmm, lets start with sport. Scotty, our Operations Manager coordinates the local annual ripper rugby tournament with the help from Pete, our metals guy and a few of the boys out back. They have been involved with the competition for the last 4 years, training and coaching.

Other sporting activities : We have had our own indoor lawn bowls team playing throughout the winter, last summer we had a Wanaka Wastebusters Golf team. Involvement in local sports clubs and events is encouraged by management and totally embraced by staff. We promote any local sporting events for anyone interested in taking part. We encourage staff to cycle to work, providing work bikes for those that don’t have their own.

three of our indoor lawn bowls team.

Sophie and Rob get down with healthy eating

Healthy Eating: We encourage staff to eat healthily. Within the building we promote growing your own food, buying locally, farmers markets, and also have a foraging map on display encouraging people to pick fresh healthy fruit nuts and berries. We have a plethera of amazing gardeners and cooks among us and our lunch table is always a colourful and creative feasting place.


Protection from the sun: Living in NZ where the sun can be so fierce we are very conscious of the effect of the sun on our workers. We keep our workers in the shade where possible, provide sun hats and light summer clothes with cover for the skin. We have a smoking area away from the building with sun umbrellas, we also provide suncream for constant protection when workers are faced with being in direct sunlight.

We have a blackboard in our smoko room where everyone can write whatever they want, any issues, funny thoughts etc. It is a great outlet for any issues, good or bad to be brought to the fore.

Our thoughts and ideas board

The work at Wanaka Wastebusters can be very physical, it can get hot and smelly in the summer, cold and wet in the winter, but due to a good working environment, with staff and management alike being sensitive to each others needs, we have a good vibe here all the time. People are always buzzing around with a story to tell, keeping each other refreshed with hot and cold drinks, funny stories and anecdotes, and taking the time to make sure that people know their opinions and problems matter. We are all in this together and a good working environment makes for a happy life.

Way to go Wanaka Wastebusters... I am proud to be part of such a healthy happy team!

The next thing coming up is National Mental Health Awareness week, 10-16 October.
“GET IN THE GAME. Training For Happiness” is the theme of New Zealand’s Mental Health Awareness Week this year.

I’ve been told one of the things that will be happening is a free laughter yoga session at the St. John’s Rooms, Link Way, on Wednesday 12th October at 5-5.45pm.

hahahahahahahahahahah I think this may be something we follow up on, I’m all for laughter to release all the happy endorphins whilst giving us a physical workout.