Kapi-Mana News : May 17th 2011
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GST H4 T,G&V 3648480AD Inspiring and comedic contest By KAROLINE TUCKEY If past competitions are anything to go by, about 40 young speakers are working hard practising and putting the final touches on their words of inspiration for this Friday s regional Nga Manu Korero speech competition. The speech contest for secondary school students has been run since 1966, and gives students the opportunity to enter in Maori or English. This year s event will be held in Porirua. Paora Trim, head of Maori studies at Kapiti College and regional organiser for the Te Whanganui a Tara ki Otaki area, between Wellington and Otaki, said the competition had always been a good evening for spectators, with strong crowd support and outstanding talent on dis- play. It s very entertaining, Mr Trim said. You get a real wide range of types of speeches, from those who like to incor- porate a little bit of comedy, to those who have done a lot of research, to those who have drawn on the experience of history and are out to inspire. There s a lot of very inspiring young people amongst those speakers. Mr Trim said he was often struck by the wisdom of the young people who pres- ented their thoughts. The young people are quite often people who are not listened to, and this gives them a good forum to share their ideas and the depth of thought with the crowd. He said the experience of pres- enting their own words publicly could be life-changing, and has been a catalyst towards careers in politics, broadcasting and law for many young people. It provides a stage for them to express their thoughts, he said. Once they ve done it, then they know they can do it again. It just boosts their confidence hard-out. It gives them an opportunity to be creative and expressive, and they enjoy the whole package; it s hard work, and I think they enjoy when it s done and there s celebrations for the winner -- often haka and cheers and applause. The competition is on this Friday at Te Rauparaha Arena, from 9am till 5.30pm. Regional winners will compete at the national Nga Manu Korero competition in Tauranga in September. Quake link boosts call centre trade Connect Porirua: Connect Global co- director Serena Fiso says the tide is turning when it comes to businesses basing their calltakers offshore. Her company will always charge more than one in India or the Philippines, but that can be offset by providing quality service, she says. By KRIS DANDO A proudly Porirua call centre company faced their biggest ever challenge recently to aid victims of the Christchurch earthquake. Connect Global, based in the Cityfitness building, more than doubled its communications staff when it took up a contract with the Red Cross following the February 22 quake. New staff had to be swiftly trained to take calls for the hard- ship and bereavement grants as part of the appeal. Like everyone else, in the days afterwards you re thinking how can I help , Connect Global co- director Serena Fiso said. I got in touch with the Red Cross, thinking they might be struggling with a Missing Persons Line, telling them we have the space and capacity and could take on something very quickly. They were really appreciative andIgotacallbacktoask whether we could take calls on the grants. The hitch, however, was this was confirmed on Wednesday [March 2] and we went live on the Friday. It was a challenge but we were set up for it, did a few late nights and there was a bigger need -- this was about giving a community a lifeline. Calls, texts and even Facebook were used to contact casual and part-time workers, even friends and family, as they scrambled to be ready for the first calls. Ms Fiso describes the workload on March 4 as being like nothing you could believe , with Connect Global s call centre in Porirua receiving 50,000 calls. After that initial surge the numbers tailed off, but they still get 2000 calls on busy days. More than 55,000 grants, adding up to more than $40 million, have been organised through the call centre. It was exciting to be at the front of it, doing something so worthwhile, but there wasn t a lot of sleep in those few days, Ms Fiso said. The Red Cross contract takes up 80 per cent of the company s work, and they currently have a six-month contract. It has pro- vided 30 new jobs locally -- more than doubling their staff -- and is on top of the work Connect Global already do with Housing New Zea- land, Vehicle Testing NZ and others. Ms Fiso said it did affect some of their existing contracts, especially through March, but the excellent relationships they had with clients made it easier to manage, and those opening numbers have settled down now. Connect Global is run by Ms Fiso and husband Siuai. They set up in Palmerston North in 2003, moved to Wellington in 2006, and out to Porirua last year to take advantage of bigger office space. They have been nominated for a number of industry awards. The office we had [in Welling- ton] was very small and we had the opportunity to move out here. We took the leap and it s worked out. My husband is a Porirua boy and we have family in the city -- even when we moved back to Wellington, we would always come out to Porirua. It s a big part of who we are. Sometimes I feel like shaking Porirua and saying wake up -- there is so much potential here for business. Ms Fiso said they have ambitions to keep expanding, but are mindful of helping people realise their full potential at Con- nect Global. She said the loyalty and high staff retention rates, along with their professional approach, can only help.
May 24th 2011