Raewyn Bhana receives a QSM for helping communities

By Te Kuru o te Marama Dewes

Raewyn Bhana (Ngāpuhi, Indian) has received a Queen's Service Medal for her contribution for services to the community of South Auckland. Bhana is a member of Safer Aotearoa Family Violence Prevention Network (SAFVPN), an organisation based in South Auckland that provides social services, healthcare and advocates for some of the most at risk and vulnerable families in the Auckland area.

Bhana told Te Kāea, "I've been raised to serve all my life by my parents it's just part of who I am. So I don't actually think I deserve it because I think we should all just get out and give."

She started the Manurewa Community Christmas Lunch day four years ago which now serves more than 400 people.

"I heard some really sad whānau who said they haven't got anyone or they didn't have kai, I think in the communities things need to change if we all help each other then the need wouldn't be there."

Bhana is a community worker who helps families deal with domestic violence.

"If whānau who they are and where they come from you certainly wouldn't be operating at such a level of abuse, an abusive level for the whānau. Because people know who you are you know you treat our babies like taonga, our wahine like taonga and it's about our partners, husband-wife actually working together in unity."

She says community changes are in urgent need of transformation.

"It's about addiction, reshaping, reframing how people look at things today."

She encourages communities to pay it forward.