Southern Cross Healthcare staff team up for Matariki clean-up

Southern Cross Healthcare staff team up for Matariki clean-up

Southern Cross Healthcare staff team up for Matariki clean-up | Insurance Business New Zealand


Southern Cross Healthcare staff team up for Matariki clean-up

Initiative aims to promote environmental stability and cultural celebration


Roxanne Libatique

In celebration of Matariki, the Māori New Year, Southern Cross Healthcare employees across New Zealand will spend the winter weekend participating in volunteer rubbish clean-ups.

Staff members will visit various beaches and open spaces to collect and properly dispose of litter.

“Matariki remind us of our deep connection to te taiao/the natural world and highlights our responsibility as tāngata/people to care for the planet, so it only makes sense that the two are celebrated together,” she said. “We want to encourage our people at Southern Cross Healthcare to find celebration in both Matariki and the environment through them making a small, yet meaningful, impact for communities in Aotearoa.”

She noted that the stars of the Matariki cluster symbolise various aspects of health and environmental wellbeing.

“Each whetu/star within the Matariki cluster represent different aspects of wellbeing and environment. It’s also important to acknowledge that in parts of Aotearoa, Matariki cannot be viewed because of location. However, Matariki is still celebrated, and iwi look for Puanga/Puaka as signs of the arrival of the Māori New Year,” she said. “With some of our clean-ups taking part at beaches and waterways, we especially want to acknowledge how two of the stars of the Matariki cluster represent water. Waitī is the star associated with the health of freshwater bodies and Waitā is the star associated with the health of the ocean. Looking after the health of ocean and waterways is so important and this includes encouraging our people to do their best to prevent rubbish ending up in our oceans, lakes, rivers and streams, and in the end affecting all of us.”

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Reducing environmental footprint

Greg Nelson, head of ESG and responsible business at Southern Cross Healthcare, concurred that the clean-ups highlight the relationship between Matariki and environmental health. He said that the organisation is dedicated to reducing its environmental footprint.

“It’s ironic that in trying to keep humans healthy, the hospital system generates quite a bit of waste, so at all our locations we are trying to reduce this output and our resulting impact on the environment,” he said. “Every day, we’re working to recycle more plastics, repurpose single-use items, and reduce energy consumption at our wholly owned hospitals. We’re very aware that we need to play our part by taking care of our own environment and then see what we can do in partnership with all our people that’s effective beyond that.”

In May, Southern Cross Healthcare confirmed that its partnership Baxter Healthcare has given PVC IV bags a second life at all 10 of its hospitals in New Zealand. The initiative aims to reduce medical waste and repurpose plastics.

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