Around the offices: July 2022 round-up

Welcome to our Around the Offices round-up! It’s the first edition of periodic updates celebrating staff achievements and community involvement across our eight New Zealand offices.

Time to read: 6 mins

Wellington office helps change lives through 10km 'Walk With Me'

Participants in Walk With Me 2021

Participants in Walk With Me 2021

Most everyone experiences at least one rough patch in their life and in those times, a sympathetic ear is invaluable. Samaritans provide just that, with a helpline that is free of charge to those who need it.

This is where Baker Tilly Staples Rodway Wellington comes in: It’s the proud sponsor of Wellington Samaritans’ annual Walk with Me 10km fun walk, which raises awareness of the helpline and helps cover its costs.

This will be the third time that Baker Tilly Staples Rodway Wellington has been involved and this year it will match the money raised by walkers, dollar for dollar, up to the value of $2000, says audit and assurance services partner Chrissie Murray.

“With this sponsorship, we’re hoping to leverage Walk With Me to become a bigger event, raising more money to fund the helpline,” she says. “We’re thrilled to have another opportunity to support Wellington Samaritans in their life-changing and life-saving work.”

Chrissie, who has also been a Samaritans trustee for three years and phone volunteer for eight years, says Walk With Me participants will be given a fundraising webpage to garner support, then they’ll stride a total of 10 kilometres (outdoors or on a treadmill) across the weekend of 17-18 September.

For more details or to register, email or call 021 1978 002. Read more at and Or if you’re in need, call the helpline on 0800 72 66 66.

Hawke’s Bay team in pink condition

Hawkes Bay team dressed up for Pink Shirt Day

Hawke's Bay team dressed up for Pink Shirt Day

Members of our Hawke’s Bay office proudly wore pink clothing and came armed with a gold coin donation during an annual stand against bullying.

They were honouring Pink Shirt Day, which promotes working together to prevent bullying, and helping everyone feel safe, valued and respected in their workplace, school, whānau and community.

The Hawke’s Bay team raised $143 and the directors matched it, bringing the total to $286, says Business Advisory Services director Michelle Valler.

In New Zealand, Pink Shirt Day raises funds for the Mental Health Foundation, which provides workshops and resources to help reduce bullying.

“The Foundation says that as we get to know each other as whole people, not just work colleagues, we develop respect and trust,” says Michelle. “This can help create a mentally healthy workplace culture. We are passionate about establishing a shared understanding of what positive wellbeing means for our employees. People bloom in the right environment. If we have wellbeing, we bloom ─ and we come to fruition in ourselves and in our work.”

Click here to donate.

From the mountains to farmland – Simon relishes southern slog

Simon Smith on his journey down the South Island

Simon Smith on his journey down the South Island

Many of us like the thought of getting away from our phone, social media and endless stories about COVID-19. So did our Wellington Audit Manager Simon Smith, but he took that thought further – much further – by walking the 1300-kilometre South Island leg of Te Araroa trail.

He strode through bush, along roads, over farmland, across beaches and over mountains for up to 14 hours a day, toting a backpack as heavy as 16kg during longer sections when he needed more food and water.

From the manicured tracks of the Marlborough Sounds to the “atrocious mud pits of Southland”, Simon describes the 55 days of summer walking (with 11 days of rest) as challenging and incredible.

“My mind turns first to how epic and diverse New Zealand’s scenery is, especially in the South Island. It really has it all, and walking it means you really take it in and appreciate it.”

Even views like that can be normalised and Simon didn’t realise he’d become adjusted to them until a friend joined him for a few days and was astounded by the Canterbury Plains scenery. But he was mostly alone, although he carries fond (and occasionally strange) memories of the people he encountered – everyone from a retired dentist to young nomads.

It was his first hiking trip, but he had his personal locator beacon, knew how to navigate and was comfortable with the fact he could fail spectacularly. The biggest challenge was keeping himself in one piece because it was physically demanding, especially at the start.

He also learned he had a habit of overdoing it ─ “destroying” his body by racing through sections in pursuit of a record time and some Fish ‘n’ Chips on the next main street. He realised those bursts of speed were working against him, then slowed down and started taking everything in a bit more.

The other standout was the payoff that came with deprivation. “When you walk 30-40 kilometres a day for five days in a row in the wilderness, eating only dehydrated food, not washing, and roughing it in huts or a tent, you emerge feeling a bit sub-human to put it mildly.

“Some of the best moments were getting into a town, sitting in a pub by myself with two mains and four Speights and a dessert, having a hot shower and sleeping in a bed with linen! Simple things in everyday life.”

Tauranga celebrates Karen, for she’s a jolly good fellow

Karen Brock with her certificate

Karen Brock with her certificate

Baker Tilly Staples Rodway Tauranga recently celebrated its Business Advisory Services associate Karen Brock advancing to Fellowship with CAANZ (Chartered Accountants of Australia and New Zealand).

Fellowship is a wonderful achievement – it recognises members for outstanding career achievements and contributions to the profession.

Karen received the nomination for her involvement and contribution to CAANZ, but was also acknowledged for her involvement in the community with Girl Guides NZ.

Well done, Karen. Thank you for all your hard work and dedication to your profession and community.

Auckland staff avid to know how to make their money work smarter

Dozens of our Auckland office members recently jumped at the chance to attend two staff training sessions on investment. The first focused on modern choices such as cryptocurrency and Sharesies. The second, presented by FANZ Private Wealth, covered traditional options.

Baker Tilly Staples Rodway Auckland directors Tracy Hickman and Jo-Anne Randall were thrilled about the turnout, with roughly 75 staff at the first session and 85 at the second, both in-person and remotely. Tracy says a key takeaway was that putting in small amounts of money can be surprisingly beneficial when starting your investment journey.

The sessions were inspired by the “It Starts with Action” campaign run by Financial Services Council New Zealand. This aims to help increase women’s financial wellbeing, but the Auckland training sessions were for all staff. See for more details.

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