The Healthy Families Hutt Valley team and Strategic Leadership Group would like to share their fond farewells and acknowledgements to the contribution of Marcus Sherwood, Lucy Kingsbeer and George Lajpold.

In October we farewelled Marcus Sherwood, our longest standing Strategic Leadership Group member and head of our division in Hutt City Council.

Marcus Sherwood moved on from his 31-year career at Hutt City Council. Marcus was the man behind the mission and the reason Healthy Families Hutt Valley sits within Hutt City Council. Over the past seven years he has quietly led, opening doors, connecting kaupapa and supporting our team to grow, challenge, innovate and sometimes disrupt.

At his last Strategic Leadership Group meeting, the members acknowledged Marcus for his contribution to the cause and his unwavering commitment to the people of Te Awa Kairangi. As a team we had the opportunity to spend some time with Marcus before he left. We thanked him for showing us what great leadership looks like and wished him well for his next step at Habitat for Humanity.

Being part of Marcus’ team was like being part of a whānau, where connection is key and at the end of the day, we were all in it together.

He aha te mea nui o te ao? He tangata he tangata he tangata.

We’ve also said farewell to Lucy Kingsbeer who is moving with her whānau to Ōtautahi. Lucy has been a part of the team since 2017 and has led in our smokefree and alcohol systems. She has been a driving force behind our communications and engagement.

Lucy’s reflections capture her commitment to the mahi and her drive to make our spaces and places better for our health and wellbeing.

“I’ve reflected on the movement and collective achievement shifting the tobacco system. As a nation, we have passed tobacco control legislation to prevent smoking in cars carrying children, moved on the Smokefree Aotearoa 2025 Action Plan, increased our public places where people are unable to smoke and/or vape, supported many New Zealanders to quit smoking and helped raise a smokefree generation.”

“Locally, we have supported Local Government to create healthier communities through smokefree outdoor public places policies. We have captured our part in the journey by publishing the case study ‘Creating a Smokefree Hutt Valley’. This publication highlights the collective effort of community, partners and Local Government to make our spaces and places better for our health and wellbeing.”

“For me, the journey began fifteen years ago when alongside a system partner an approach was made to Upper Hutt City Council to introduce smokefree playgrounds. In 2006 they were the first Council across Aotearoa to introduce smokefree environments. The biggest achievement this year has been capturing the journey through the case study, it has been in the making for some time!”

“It is a good feeling to have captured the insights, lessons learned and knowledge on how collective effort supports systems change and the Government’s goal for a Smokefree Aotearoa 2025.”   

Lucy will be dearly missed by the team and our partners, our loss is Ōtautahi’s gain.

While Lucy is shifting islands, George is shifting a few desks to his new role as Manager Sport, Recreation and Play for Hutt City Council. George has been with us since August 2020 as part of a partnership with Hutt Valley District Health Board, picking up the smokefree environments kaupapa and leading the waiora and hauora approach to sport through his close partnership with Wellington Rugby League.

“My highlight has been the work I’ve done with Wellington Rugby League to embrace a hauora and waiora environment in their sport. The way in which this approach has been applied has influenced the relationships between people and the environment. We are seeing people becoming the priority, rather than the athlete. The voice of the people is influencing the way in which the sport is being administered and the sport is also focusing on the impact it can have on the environment in which the community come to watch and play the sport.”

“My key learning from this experience and partnership with Rugby League has been to ensure that the change that is introduced is most effective when it is interwoven into the fabric of what already exists, along with the willingness of people to listen to the stories that connect them emotionally to the change.”

While Marcus, Lucy and George are moving on to new endeavours we know that their strong connection to the people and the kaupapa remains.

He waka eke noa