Community Spirit in Action: Aotea Army Lends a Hand in Okupu

In a remarkable display of community spirit and solidarity, the newly-formed Aotea Army, a group of Barrier locals dedicated to helping those in need, recently took on some mahi at the home of Ngaire and Ken Cloughs in Okupu. Organized by Leon Foster, the initiative saw the team of volunteers come together to accomplish a week’s worth of work in just over four hours, embodying the essence of kindness and mutual support that defines our community.

The Aotea Army’s efforts included painting parts of the house, cutting down trees, stacking firewood, mulching fern litter, weeding gardens, and dusting high shelves, making life that little bit easier for the Cloughs. The team comprised Dayne and Ann Marie, Fraser, Karen Lombard, Janice Higgins, Marlena, Big Ren, Lozz and Rex, B.J., Tash Wood, Jade Webster, and Michele Benson, all of whom volunteered their time and skills to make a tangible difference.

Leon Foster shared the outcome of the day, expressing his gratitude towards the volunteers: “We smashed a week’s work in 4 plus hours. Big thanks to everyone involved. ‘Kindness is the best gift you can give.’ Thank you, Army. Ngaire and Ken are so grateful. Ngaire had tears of joy.”

The gesture not only brought tears of joy to Ngaire’s eyes but also highlighted the powerful sense of community on Great Barrier Island. This event comes shortly after the community rallied to support Leon himself, raising over $5,000 to assist with his travel to the South Island for his father’s funeral.

Those keen to join the efforts or follow Aotea Army’s journey of community transformation, can connect with Leon’s Aotea Army on Facebook.

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