Gratitude 2016.

This year has been a seminal one, both for me personally, and for the Aunties. There are a lot of people to thank - people who were uber aunties, and people who made my job coordinating donations for first 2, and now 5, womens refuges, much easier.

Thanks first and foremost to the people who said yes to me this year.  

The Aunties Board: who I approached for that express purpose early in the year, who all said yes and showed such trust and faith in me, and what I want to do with The Aunties. We have a vision, we have a mission, and we are very close to being a registered charity. Just some dotting of i's and dotting of t's to come. Thank you: MIchéle, Jackson, Elaine, Paul, Julie, and Phil. Thank you for your support, love, grand ideas, generosity, laughter and for making me think.

Thanks to the people who went above and beyond this year. Who started out giving me stuff for the women and are now collecting stuff from their circles, coming up with great ideas, firmly attached to the ethos of The Aunties and what we stand for.

Thank you to : Sacha, for looking after H. To Phil for advocating for C when she needed it the most. To Heather for starting out on your own Aunties adventure in Christchurch. To Rochelle for getting onboard and helping out the Wellington Women's Boarding House, using the Aunties model.

Thank you Abbey Maree, Sherry, Alex, Rachel, Chantel, Alison, Paul, Diana, Jasmine, Tina, Hine, Kimi, Karen, Robyn, Sarah, Kyle, Rosie and Helene for being my shopping buddies this year.

Thank you, Ana, for spreading the word in a way that I couldn't previously have dreamed about.

Thank you Shona, Mel,  Abigail, Mary, Danusia, Vish, Penny, Lee, Pauline D, Diane, Margie, Pip, Lisette, Siouxsie, Kellie, Roz, Ange, Jane, Gloria, Ebony, Mereana, Selina, Becs, Vicky, Anusha, Dita, Suzanne, Miche, Vivvy, Hilary, Jo, Emma, Allison, Leonie, David, Rob, Barb, Marina, Ed, Nellie, Atarea, Johanna, Delaney, Allan, Muirie, Tove, Deva, Fleur, Paul, Susan, Jenni, Lorna, Sharon, Vic, and Karen for your financial generosity, and your STUFF this year. For collecting stuff for me, for having a heart for the women, for trusting I know what I'm doing and that I'll find a good home for anything you give to me. For taking stuff to the refuge because it was easier. For responding so quickly when I have told you about a need that one or some of the women may have. Above all for supporting this enterprise, that has expanded and become basically me sending you begging emails.

Thank you to Guardian Storage, and Ange in particular, for being so generous and so accommodating. Having a storage unit has made all the difference in the world. Speaking of which, thank you Mel for taking on the organisation of it. Most of the time, I dump and run, so I know it's a challenge!

Thank you to Kris, Karen, Louise, Trish, Bill, and Renee for allowing me to keep doing this. I know I'm part of the furniture now, but I thank you for your trust in me, and for letting me, and the Aunties, into your hearts.

Thank you to everyone on Twitter, and on the public facebook page who listens. Who hears what I have to say, and sends me private messages to just lend your support and love. Those people who share things far and wide, favourite or like everything, and are great cheerleaders. I see you.

Thanks to the women who have allowed me to share that brief period of their lives whilst they are in the refuge, and recognised that they are worth what I/we are giving them. Who have trusted me with their stories, and who have taught me so much about my own life lived in IPV, and who have been gracious and accepting of me. Who have recognised me as one of them. Thanks in particular to A*, H, C, C, J, M and D, who have let me into their lives, and hearts. Love you long time.

Thank you to Pinky, who designed our new logo, which is exactly right, and takes us into charity status very nicely.

What most people don't know is that we aren't really a team, as such. There are many, many Aunties, and for the most part, it's a cast of changing characters. We aren't ever all in the same place at the same time, and sometimes people choose to step out and then step back in later, or step out permanently. I've never "kicked" anyone out of the Aunties - it's not that sort of group. It's mainly me communicating with everyone online/via email, and then I see you all one on one. Except at Easter, and Christmas, and when we need bulk toiletries. If you were to draw a diagram of what the Aunties is, it would look a bit like our logo tree. Hearts all over the place, and I'm the old trunk. The hearts don't really see each other or even know each other exist but I connect them all. That was likely a crap analogy but oh well. I haven't met a lot of the Aunties, and often I don't actually know who they are. People choose to remain anonymous, mainly when giving money,  and I'm okay with that. Yet here we are. A group of people doing extraordinary things for other people. The number of people we are doing that with, and for, has increased but it was ever thus. Just getting it done.

Thanks so much to you all. I appreciate your contributions, love your work, and look forward to continuing to be stroppy together.

From my heart to yours.


A day in the (new) life of the Head Aunty

A Day Spent Auntying With The Aunty-In-Charge