Thank you for voting for your Westfield Local Hero

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Thank you for voting for your Westfield Local Hero

We congratulate all of our finalists and recognise the important contribution they make to the local community. The successful Westfield Local Heroes will be announced on 27 October.

Westfield Local Heroes is a community recognition and grants program, connecting and enriching local communities.

Westfield Local Heroes are nominated and voted for by their communities, with the outcome of the public vote determining the three successful 2020 nominees for every Westfield centre. Each of the affiliated organisations of the successful heroes will be awarded a $10,000 grant to support their work to thrive. Westfield will award 126 grants across Australia and New Zealand – totalling $1.26 million.


Your finalists for Westfield Riccarton are:

Bariz Shah

University of Canterbury Muslim Students Association
Passionate. Unstoppable. Selfless

Bariz Shah is determined to embrace negative energy and use it as fuel for positive change. The leader of the University of Canterbury Muslim Students Association stepped up after the tragedy of March 15th to advocate against division, organise events to enhance understanding and stand firm on spreading a positive narrative. Bariz co-founded a project called fiftyone. Where he travelled to Afghanistan with his wife and established 51 micro-businesses in honour of the 51 lives lost. "This uplifted 51 families out of poverty by allowing them to earn for themselves while holding onto their mana (power)," he says. Bariz and his wife filmed their journey and plan to release a film titled fiftyone later this year to inspire and empower young people of Aotearoa, to serve their communities.

Westfield Local Heroes are nominated and voted for by their communities, with the three top finalists per Westfield centre each awarded a $10,000 grant for their affiliated organisation. If Bariz is successful the University of Canterbury Muslim Student Association will use its grant to showcase the film fiftyone in Christchurch schools and host workshops for youth focused around the power of negative energy


Senior Constable Bruce Ward

Blue Light Christchurch
Empathetic. Passionate. Dedicated

Police officer Bruce Ward has spent years making a difference in the lives of youth from disadvantaged backgrounds. Through Blue Light, he organises camps, mentoring and fun activities to guide young people onto a more positive path. Bruce is also dedicated to supporting Muslim youth traumatised by the 2019 mosque attacks. His interventions include camps, mentoring, drug and alcohol courses and adventures like rock climbing. “Over the years many participants have contacted me to tell me the difference Blue Light made in their life,” says Bruce.

Westfield Local Heroes are nominated and voted for by their communities, with the three top finalists per Westfield centre each awarded a $10,000 grant for their affiliated organisation. If Bruce is successful, Blue Light Christchurch will use its grant to arrange additional camps, including one for the Muslim girls traumatised by the 2019 attack on their community.


Daniel Eastwood

SJOG Hauora Trust, Waipuna and Te Rangatahi Tumanako Trust
Caring. Consistent. Ethical

Support worker Dan Eastwood goes above and beyond to help young men within the Corrections system. He works for the St John of God Waipuna, which in partnership with Department of Corrections provides rehabilitation and reintegration programs for young men in prison and in the community. Six years ago, Dan came up with the idea of an ongoing, weekly support group, enlisting the help of a fellow support worker. By building relationships with the men, they encourage them to face their challenges, often through activities such as a bike race. “People thought it would never work, that the men would never come. But they have,” Dan says.

Westfield Local Heroes are nominated and voted for by their communities, with the three top finalists per Westfield centre each awarded a $10,000 grant for their affiliated organisation. If Dan is successful, the St John of God Haurora and Te Rangatahi Tumanako trusts will use the grant to fund food and activities for men who attend the support group.


Jan Nottingham

Ronald McDonald House South Island
Empathetic. Encouraging. Strong

Landing a job as night supervisor at Ronald McDonald House South Island in 2012 was a silver lining for Jan Nottingham after the earthquake in 2011 destroyed her home. She has been giving back ever since; as a caring listener, a shoulder to cry on and a guaranteed hug for any of the 8,500 families who have passed through the doors. Families from all over New Zealand stay at the house while their child is in hospital. Jan cherishes her interactions with the families. "I'm doing work I love, which means to me it's not work at all," says Jan.

Westfield Local Heroes are nominated and voted for by their communities, with the three top finalists per Westfield centre each awarded a $10,000 grant for their affiliated organisation. If Jan is successful, Ronald McDonald House South Island will use its grant to repaint and refurnish its education room.


Matt Brown

She Is Not Your Rehab
Passionate. Compassionate. Dedicated

Matt Brown is working hard to end the cycle of domestic and family violence. He started She Is Not Your Rehab, a movement to encourage men to deal with their own experiences of childhood abuse instead of taking it out on their wives and girlfriends. "The movement is simply an invitation for men to acknowledge their own childhood trauma and to take responsibility for their healing instead of transmitting it on those around them," Matt says. The number of men seeking help has increased since She Is Not Your Rehab started taking off on social media. "Our communities are crying out for help, support and tools to see these cycles of abuse and trauma come to an end," Matt says.

Westfield Local Heroes are nominated and voted for by their communities, with the three top finalists per Westfield centre each awarded a $10,000 grant for their affiliated organisation. If Matt is successful, She Is Not Your Rehab will use its grant to run more local group therapy sessions for men.


If you need support, please phone Lifeline: 13 11 14

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View all of the nominees and their organisations

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