It was a year of highlights for Tararua REAP which were outlined in the chairman's report to the organisation's annual meeting.
Tararua REAP chairman Stephen Paewai said one of the main highlights was bringing the Dannevirke and Districts Home Budgeting Services under the umbrella of REAP.
"Last year saw the winding up of the Dannevirke and Districts Home Budgeting Services. This is now part of the REAP organisation. Although this wasn't part of the original intention of the board, I think both organisations will benefit from the merger. We are already seeing this with the support to budget service staff and with clients of both services having exposure to a number of extra services."
Paewai said another highlight was the hosting of the Hauhake hui a tau.
"Hauhake is the national organisation's response to its obligations under the Treaty of Waitangi and is a group set up to support Māori staff and board members. Haukake also provides advice to REAP Aotearoa from time to time on a range of issues impacting on Māori."
Nine of the 13 REAPs were represented and spent two days at Kaitoke marae discussing a range of issues and developing a Māori response framework.
"It was also an opportunity to take a tour of the district showing our visitors several sites of significance to the Rangitāne people."
Paewai said REAP had recorded another successful year, both financially, with a small surplus achieved, and in terms of its contractual obligations as it exceeded its contracted outcomes."
He thanked staff for their work and contribution to the organisation achieving its goals.
The Minister of Education has announced some proposed changes in the education sector, Paewai said in his report.
"This will provide both challenges and opportunities for the REAP organisation and the board will monitor developments with interest."
The year started with the board engaging Mick Wheeler to assist with the day-to-day management of the organisation leading up to the appointment of general manager Claire Chapman.
Chapman, who has spent many years farming in Tararua with her husband and family, came to REAP after 22 years with the Primary/Agriculture Industry Training Organisation.
In her annual report Chapman said it had been a great privilege to lead Tararua REAP.
"I accepted the role understanding REAPs did 'good stuff' but without knowing the depth of that good stuff. It has been fantastic to see the work in action and to be continually inspired by staff, board and management of the 13 REAPs throughout New Zealand."
She said any organisation's success and culture is the sum of all parts.
"I am grateful to the staff and board members, their commitment to the Tararua community and the way in which they patiently inducted me to the role of manager."
She said all tutors, facilitators and volunteers for Tararua REAP are an essential ingredient of successful supporting and empowering Tararua people, as was the collaboration with local organisations.
"Going over and above what is required is demonstrated daily and very much appreciated."
While presenting her report, Chapman said Dannevirke had always been her home but she said she wasn't aware of the level of deprivation that exists in the community.
"This won't change unless each and everyone of us does something to help. We can help change lives and that's a pretty cool world to be part of."
Chapman said already the budgetary advisers were making a huge difference, but collectively REAP could achieve so much more within the community.
"We are off to a strong start to 2019, enjoying working with, and for, our community to keep improving delivery of 'good stuff'."