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Fifty long years of Wairarapa’s Consumer Advice Bureau

April 5, 2024 April 2024 No Comments

A spirited introduction by Masterton Intermediate School’s Kapa Haka group signaled an impassioned start to the 50-year celebrations of the Masterton-based WaiCAB.

As John Bunny, MC for the occasion, said: “These children represent the New Zealand of tomorrow. If their parents or caregivers need support from the CAB and can gain assistance, then New Zealand will be a better place.”

Gary Caffell Mayor of Masterton, Mike Butterwick MP for Wairarapa, and Kerry Dalton the Chief Executive of The Citizens Advice Bureau New Zealand were warmly welcomed.

Judy Evans, chair of the Masterton Branch, commented on the major contribution of the volunteers who gladly give four hours of their time every week to helping others.

She recalled the inaugural opening of the CAB in 1974 where they began with just two volunteers. Today 28 Masterton volunteers provide a weekly service from Monday to Friday, 9.00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m.

WaiCAB is based in the Masonic United Lodge Rooms at 43 Perry Street.

Special recognition was given to Mandy Mc Kay who has worked for the CAB for 22 years – a very significant commitment to helping others.

Kerry Dalton, CEO of CABNZ congratulated Masterton on its 50 years of providing free, independent, confidential and impartial advice to anyone seeking assistance.

“One of the greatest contributions is that the volunteers provide the advice with empathy and caring. Listening is a crucial part of the role. The volunteers’ role is to help people understand their rights and responsibilities,” he said.

Because the CAB is a national organisation every visit is recorded. The nature of the support requested is logged onto a national database. This has been critical for seeking funding for the service, as well as providing a good indication where government support is most needed. 

“One of the trends we are seeing,” said Kelly, “is that more young people are seeking help through the service, particularly regarding employment issues and rental accommodation. As a result, we have just launched a new website for youth.”

Reasons for approaching the CAB are numerous. It could be because of purchasing faulty consumer goods, employment issues related to hours of work or pay, family relationships, separation, abuse, assistance with paying bills, rental accommodation issues, tax and banking assistance, how to read your new smart electricity meter _ to mention just a few. The list is comprehensive. Where needed the client is linked up with the appropriate government service.

One of the benefits of the system is being able to walk into the Masterton Branch to talk face-to-face. Should you live in a remote area the CAB may be contacted through the National CAB number 0800 367 222 or accessed online where a Chat system can help to talk you through the problem. The service is totally free.


Caption: Impassioned opening by Masterton Intermediate’s Kapa Haka group to celebrating 50 years of Wairarapa Citizens Advice Bureau efforts.

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