2018 LifeKeepers Award recipients

Brian Lowe - LifeKeepers 2018 supreme award winner

Congratulations to Brian Lowe, recipient of the 2018 LifeKeepers supreme award.

Brian has over 10 years' experience working on the helplines and he now manages Youthline Otago. Brian is responsible for ensuring the Youthline helpline is staffed by highly trained helpline counsellors, triage staff and for volunteer development, encouraging helpline counsellors to build transferable life skills which enable them to support people in their own communities and change lives. They also provide affordable, accessible, face-to-face counselling in Dunedin and Waitaki and facilitate the delivery of community education supporting youth development in areas such as destigmatising mental distress and peer to peer support skills.

Brian Lowe, LifeKeepers 2018 supreme award winner.

Dr. Chris Bowden

Chris is a lecturer in the Faculty of Education at Victoria University of Wellington. The loss of close friends to suicide drove Chris to conduct research on adolescent suicide and young men’s experiences of suicide bereavement. This research has helped inform understanding of how we can better support young men after suicide.

Jase Te Patu

Jase is a wellness warrior, passionate about promoting the benefits of a holistic attitude towards wellbeing. Jase is an advocate for mental health, mindfulness and a champion for Youthline, promoting the work they do to support rangatahi in aid of preventing suicide.

Patricia T Ofa

Patricia is the coordinator of the Talk To Me Community Support Group Trust, she also works full-time as a support worker and spends her spare time sharing and talking about suicide prevention. Patricia's aims to make a positive impact on others, encouraging them to continue to love life as she walks alongside them, ensuring they get the support they need.

Piki Taiaroa

Piki has been the Operations manager for Taumaranui Community Kokiri Trust since November 2013. Providing comprehensive health, education, justice and social services  within a Whānau Ora integrated model of care. Piki has been working as the organisations portfolio Manager for suicide prevention since 2016, develping different community action plans for suicide prevention and post-vention. Her overall aim is to ensure that rangatahi, whānau and community have access to support with the right person, in the right place at the right time so that we can achieve Whānau Ora. 

Rose Allan

Rose is a counsellor at ACROSS Te Kotahitanga O Te Wairua, she facilitates the Manawatu bereaved by suicide group and she is a member of the Suicide prevention/post-vention response team at Mid-Central DHB. Her work as the group facilitator spans back to 2001 when the group was first formed to this present day. Rose has also been working with the DHB over the past few years to organise an annual Candle Light Gathering, a community event for people affected by suicide. She most recently has been involved with the Mental Health Foundation who invited her to contribute to a resource that's about supporting people who are wanting to set up support groups following a suicide.

Supporting Families in Mental Illness Canterbury

This organisation supports families and whānau to provide the best possible quality of life and recovery to their loved one who has a mental illness and to their own self care. They do this by providing free support, education and information for family and whānau; offering mutual support, the sharing of experiences through participation in support groups; and promoting the rights and needs of individuals and families affected by mental illness.

Asian Family Services

AFS was established in 1998, providing counselling and public health education support to all Asians in New Zealand. There mission is "working with Asian Families and Communities to be healthy and resilient". They also run Asian public health events and participate in Asian Community events to provide resources and information.

Tara Moala

Tara is a community development practitioner based in Auckland. Her work aims to develop tuakana and young leaders in her local community. She established a social enterprise called Rākau Tautoko at the end of 2016, with the aim of developing a different way of working alongside communities to build engagement and empowerment. Now, Rākau Tautoko has eight community development practitioners, all working part time on different community projects in Auckland.

Gavin Gibbens

Gavin currently works as a Probation officer but is also the Chief fire officer in Runanga and has worked for the fire service for 32 years. Gavin's interest in suicide prevention started following a cluster of suicides that occured between 2013-2016, wanting to become more proactive and raise awareness, Gavin formed a group of concerned people in the community. This group also involved CASA and Community Public Health, all of whom worked together to create hope in the town.

Linda Tiatoa

Linda is a founding member of H.Y.P.E (Helping Young People Evolve), a youth advisory group in Kaikohe. The majority of Linda's time is dedicated to youth suicide prevention, having co-led projects and collaborated on many community solutions specific to suicide prevention. Her most recent work is heavily involved in a virtual suicide prevention frontline response (FR) initiative in Kaikohe, managed by the local response group, FUSION. 

Natasha Kemp

Natasha is the CEO of Te Kaha O Te Rangatahi Trust, a Maori Youth health and wellbeing provider located in South Auckland. She is also one of three CEO's who are part of the Kotahitanga Whānau Ora Collective. Natasha has 18 years experience in the health sector and has also worked in Māori health funding and planning roles.

About the awards

Communities play a vital role in reducing suicide, and we know there are many individuals and organisations who work very hard to be a part of the solution, to support those at risk of suicide to get the help they need. They're ordinary people doing extra-ordinary things - creating communities of care to prevent suicide.

As such, we wanted to recognise this hard work through an annual awards ceremony, highlighting those already championing suicide prevention and the incredible work that these individuals and organisations have been doing throughout Aotearoa New Zealand. 

We asked regional suicide prevention coordinators within District Health Boards across Aotearoa New Zealand to nominate individuals or organisations who have been making an outstanding contribution to preventing suicide in their local community.

For 2018 we are grateful to Clinical Advisory Services Aotearoa (CASA) for being the sole sponsor for the awards. Check out their website to read more about their work in suicide prevention, postvention and wellbeing.