White Associates strengthens leadership structure to support growth 

At White Associates we are strengthening our leadership structure in order to develop our people and support the continued growth of our business into the future.

We are broadening our director base

Alongside Konrad Trankels, Graham White, Justin Maritz and Darin Bayer we are pleased to announce that Brett Zeiler has taken the opportunity offered to become a director of our business. A well-recognised leader within our business, Brett has been instrumental in helping us achieve much over recent years, and his directorship is well earned.


Says Brett: “It has always been my ambition to become a shareholder – director of a company, and particularly this company, where the whole team right through to the directors and shareholders work so well together. It has always felt like  such a natural fit for me within the White Associates team, and it is hugely rewarding for me to be invited into the ownership structure. I’m really looking forward to an exciting future working within a great team.”

We have created a new Associate level and appointed four Associates

As part of our succession planning and to provide more opportunities for our team, we have created an Associate level to provide opportunities for our emerging leaders to lead the management and delivery of our projects.

It is a natural progression to promote four of our senior QSs to being Associates, and our first four Associates are Muriel Gondipon, Weng Tan, Ian Chamberlain and Jesse-Paul Conradie, all of whom are well recognised in our team as exceptional people and leaders of client work.

Our four Associates are now the key operational managers of our client work, holding the day-to-day leadership role in managing our project delivery. Working closely with our directors and their own teams, they will cover at least two spectrums of work each:

  • Muriel – post-contract and advisory
  • Weng– post-contract and funding
  • Ian – post-contract and advisory
  • Jesse-Paul – funding and advisory

Our Associates will also work with our senior QSs, our intermediates and juniors to bring our cadets in and up through the business.

All White Associates clients will continue to have a director involved in their projects

This structural strengthening improves our ability to provide great service and adds to our quality oversight and control. It makes our service more resilient and demonstrates to our clients the trust and value we place on our key people, giving our clients greater access to our senior staff.

Konrad Trankels says: “This new structure sets White Associates up for the next step in our growth as a business. As our team has grown past 30 people, we needed to strengthen our structure and processes to deliver projects effectively for clients and to maintain the level of service we aim to deliver for our clients.

“As a maturing organisation, these changes will enable our directors to focus more on our business strategy and the future needs of our clients while providing experienced Associate leaders to manage projects. We want to build a strong, stable and rich working environment for our team as we grow, and enable our directors to work on the business as well as with our clients so we can develop and grow further still.”

Justin Maritz adds: “This is great news for our people because it opens up potential for everyone in the company to grow. We have always said that we are focused on building the company and leaders from within. We needed to create a step up between senior QS and Director to provide growth opportunities for our people. The Associate role creates a promotion pathway for people who are exceptional at managing clients and projects, and this new structure is a natural progress that adds value to the company and our clients.

“As we grow, we are still relentlessly keen to provide a great quality of service along with great quality control. Now we have the ability to acknowledge the skillsets of people delivering on projects and give our people a clear pathway to growth. It is an exciting time for our company, our people, our clients, and our prospects as a business.”

Sustainable Coastlines Planting Day

Tree Planting Day

The Sunday before New Zealand went into our second Level 4 lockdown the White Associates whānau and our friends at ASC Architects & Bluewater Project Management were lucky enough to be able to hold a tree planting day along the coastline of the Te Atatū Peninsula 🌱🍃🌲

We managed to plant over 400 native plants which will help protect, regenerate & maintain these areas for years to come!

A special thanks to Sustainable Coastlines for helping us to organise this special day !

INTRODUCING: Olivia de Rooy – From Queensland to Queenstown

White Associates is excited to welcome our latest Cadet, Olivia de Rooy who joined the Queenstown office in April this year.

Originally from Cairns, Olivia moved to the Gold Coast to study a Bachelor of Business, majoring in Marketing and International Business at Griffith University. After completing the three-year degree, she realised that as much as she enjoyed the study, she didn’t want to pursue a long-term career in marketing.

Having arrived in Queenstown with her Kiwi partner three weeks prior to last year’s lockdown, Olivia was introduced to quantity surveying by a family friend.

“This conversation sparked something in me. I’m now in my third semester studying a Diploma in Construction Management, majoring in Quantity Surveying through Open Polytechnic. I love the numbers and factual side of quantity surveying and feel I’ve finally found my niche.”

Olivia was introduced to Elliot Smith who leads the White Associates Queenstown office.

“We were looking to grow the team and introduce a cadet into the local business,” says Elliot,

“Olivia has hit the ground running! She brings a high-level of attention to detail and is enthusiastically supporting us on the wide variety of projects that we are working on within Queenstown and across the South Island.”

Having enjoyed her first four months, Olivia’s impression of White Associates is an organisation that is close knit, supportive and helpful.

“It’s fantastic to be part of a small local team but still feel so connected to the wider business.

“The work to date has been really interesting. It’s analytical and I love the challenge of understanding the detail and finding ways to make positive change that helps the client and overall project outcomes.”

Currently she is providing support for the team working on the Queenstown projects in Jacks Point including North Villas, Clubhouse Lane and Willow Pond. Olivia is absorbing the onsite learning, adapting her previous experience in retail management to hone her communication skills and build strong relationships with clients across the South Island.

Muriel Gondipon, Senior Quantity Surveyor at White Associates, who leads the cadet and mentoring programme for White Associates says:

“Over the 24-month cadet programme Olivia will be introduced to different disciplines and competencies of a quantity surveyor consultant via five key milestones. These provide a learning opportunity and overview of the skills required to help her progress within the industry and organisation. Additionally, we touch base fortnightly to discuss topics and any issues to ensure she feels supported both personally and professionally.”

Read more about our Cadetship Programme here 

Pink Shirt Day

Pink Shirt Day

Kōrero Mai, Kōrero Atu, Mauri Tū, Mauri Ora – Speak Up, Stand Together, Stop Bullying!

Celebrated annually around the globe, Pink Shirt Day began in Canada in 2007 when two students took a stand against homophobic bullying, after a new student was harassed and threatened for wearing pink. The next day hundreds of students turned up to school in pink, some from head to toe, to stand together against bullying.

Pink Shirt Day is now a global movement, and is celebrated by schools, workplaces and communities around Aotearoa each year.

In support of the movement, on 21st May, White Associates proudly wore pink and ran a fun raffle which raised $250 for the Mental Health Foundation. These funds will help to continue to raise awareness about bullying prevention and provide resources that promote inclusive workplaces, schools and communities nationwide.


Pink Shirt Day 2


Give A Little Month

Give A Little Month

2020 has been a crazy year (so far!)

Covid-19 has affected all parts of our society and sadly had a huge impact on the ability of charities, NGOs and not-for-profit organisations to generate income.

Funding is an essential for these organisations to continue to do the good work that they do but now unable to rely on traditional fundraising methods (e.g. face-to-face work, donations, and volunteering) it is difficult for them to raise the much-needed funds to keep them going.

At White Associates we wanted to do our small part and set out to raise $1,500 in the month of September in what we called “Give A Little Month”.

To add some spice and extra community spirit, we held 5 different events over 5 weeks in the office.

These “Give A Little” events included:

  • Commit Your Commute – we encouraged staff to donate the money they saved on their commute over lockdown
  • Bacon & Egg Brekkie Rolls – on World Suicide Prevention Day – Friday, 10th September – we started our day with a bacon and egg roll and some open conversations about mental health and wellbeing
  • Packed Lunches – we encouraged the staff to make their own lunch and donate what they would have paid for a takeaway to charity instead
  • High Tea Party – the management team competed in a bake off which was judged at a high tea party in the office
  • Raffle – we auctioned off some great prizes inhouse.

Through these various events we managed raise over our $1,500 target and have decided to divvy the funds across four different charities chosen by the entire team:

  1.  Auckland City Mission
  2. MATES in Construction
  3. Mental Health Awareness Foundation NZ
  4. Life Community

More about the charities:

Auckland City Mission

The Mission, a longstanding client of White Associates, provides integrated social services to anyone seeking assistance such as the isolated elderly, rough sleepers, people living in cars and inappropriate housing. Others are battling addictions, living with mental health issues, or struggling to feed their families over a period of unexpected crisis.

MATES in construction logo

MATES in Construction has 3 key focus areas to work towards their vision of significantly improving mental wellness and reducing suicide in the construction industry:

  1. To advance mental health and social services in New Zealand by promoting the prevention and control of mental illness for people engaged in the construction industry.
  2. Providing leadership for our people to gain better access to mental health services.
  3. Building a stronger more resilient workforce.

The Mental Health Foundation NZ provide free information and training, and advocate for policies and services that support people with experience of mental illness, and also their families/whānau and friends.

Life Community

Life Community provides practical help to the community through many initiatives including

  • Soup Kitchens
  • Christmas boxes
  • Community Support Networks

and much much more…

Staff Headshot

Gabi Rayneau: championing the Broader Outcomes at White Associates

Long ago, in the dim and distant days before Covid, White Associates took an evolutionary leap forward as a company. Inspired by the announcement of the Wellbeing Budget in 2018, and realising the importance of the opportunities offered by the Construction Accord and Broader Outcomes, we created a framework to deliver on these documents and help us start an altogether new journey as a business.

This decision was grounded in the company’s desire to contribute to the potential of New Zealand, not be a drain on it, says Michelle Pou, White Associates’ Business Manager.

“At White Associates, we know that the work we do, and the way we do it as a team of people, contribute to the sustainability of the economic, social, environmental and cultural world we inhabit in New Zealand.


“We understand that we enable projects to take place through identifying risks and dependable costs through the lifecycle of each asset we’re involved withwhich can last for many decades. We’retherefore not overstepping the mark by acknowledging that we play a role in the stewardship of the health, safety and environment of the people around us.

This means, she says, that it became obvious to the team that it was necessary to change White Associates’ game in this area, consigning the old CSR plan to history and taking a new approach.

We wanted to create a new structure to help us identify and deliver initiatives that can benefit the people and world around us.


Wtherefore spent time creating and debating a framework to guide our actions in the office and on projects – a simple structure to deliver tangible benefits for our communities as we go about our business.”

Activating our own Broader Outcomes approach in delivery 

All positive so far. However, it then became clear that this important project also offered an opportunity to put the Broader Outcomes into practice by developing the skills of White Associates’ own people in its implementation 

Staff Headshot

As Education is one of the key values of the company, it seemed a perfect fit to involve Gabi Rayneau, a member of the White Associates team who is also in her third year of Bachelor of Business degree at AUT, majoring in Sustainable Enterprise and Management. Working alongside Michelle to deliver the project, it has become a powerful training and development opportunity at the same time as delivering tangible value to the company. 

As part of the course, students are required to undertake a nine-week, full-time work placement in an environment directly related to their major. Described as ‘co-operative education’, the placement is designed to help graduates to hit the ground running with workplace experience in their chosen field. 

Fleshing out a framework 

Gabi is using this placement to flesh out White Associates’ framework under the social, sustainable, economic and cultural headings, and to develop KPIs to measure the company’s activity and performance as a sustainable enterprise.

“Sustainable Enterprise is about business of the future,”

she says.

“It focuses on the role of business and organisations in supporting both social and environmental sustainability. We learn to strategize, engage, and negotiate with a wide range of stakeholders, including community, retailers, suppliers, consumers, and NGOs. Sustainable enterprise informs consumer choices, provides community services, drives environmental projects, and transforms organisational strategies and practices.”

The opportunity to carry out the placement was a big part of Gabi’s attraction to White Associates.

When I originally applied for a job at White Associates, they talked about what they were doing in the world of sustainability. I thought it would be a great challenge; a really good opportunity to understand how a business of this type works, while developing activities and approaches in this important area.”

Surveying White Associates’ goals and activities 

Using the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a framework to benchmark performance, Gabi is undertaking a survey of the goals that White Associates people are interested in achieving, and across which social performance areas. She will also examine the company’s delivery efforts to date, using the framework to evaluate performance against the SDGs, before presenting her findings to the management team. Once over these hurdlesGabi will then create a series of new policies and delivery plans.


UN Sustainable Business Goals

“By using these goals as general guidance for the targets we set for our business,

she says,

aim to connect the activities we are already doing to the SDGs, measure performance, and then find aspects of sustainability to focus on that are of use to everyone. It’s all about strengthening the efforts that are already in place, and developing new goals and initiatives for our business to implement and integrate over the course of three years. It is a tremendous opportunity for me to understand how sustainability fits within the world of quantity surveying, so I can help the team as they go out onto site.

Alongside this, Gabi will also look into the psychology side of change, trying to understand and acknowledge the psychological barriers that ultimately enable or stop change from happening. 

It is important for me to understand the people I’m working around,” she saysI will work to understand what motivates people around change – and why people might feel that they can’t do new things. Luckily, the guys are already doing things in this space. I know people here are interested and passionate about this topic, and it is good to have a great team supporting me. It’s all about starting the conversation, seeing what people are doing, finding the gaps, and figuring out how we can implement change.

With commitment given by the leadership team to this approach and framework, setting up a focus group to identify and implement initiatives – and then report to the board every month on actions that deliver on the strategy – White Associates is taking strong new steps forward in this new area. Expect future reports. 

Auckland City Mission: HomeGround

Pioneering. Groundbreaking. Leading edge. These are often-overused words in the world of construction. However, in the case of Auckland City Mission HomeGround, they are not just an accurate, fair description of ambition in action, but they are the starting point for a truly impressive accomplishment emerging in the centre of Auckland.

All the way back in 2007, well before the dark days of the global financial crisis, the Auckland City Mission ran a design competition to create a new complex on its central-city Hobson Street site. Won by Stevens Lawson Architects, a vision was born for not just a new multi-storey facility that would provide integrated wraparound services and accommodation for some of the city’s most vulnerable people, but for a structure that would be built in an entirely more sustainable manner.

Fast-forward thirteen years and the dream is now becoming reality. Work is well underway on site to build the nine-storey Auckland City Mission HomeGround, the tallest building to use cross-laminated timber for its core structural strength in New Zealand.

Since the earliest stages, White Associates has been intimately involved in this project that will house 80 apartments to provide safe, permanent shelter for people, a place where the Mission can support, share and connect with those who need it most. It will also offer low-cost medical treatment and prepare wholesome meals for visitors to its community centre. The new medical centre and pharmacy, being created as part of the project, will include a state-of-the-art 25-bed social and medical detox unit in conjunction with Auckland and Waitemata District Health Boards, increasing the service in central Auckland by 50% with space for 250 admissions and 1825 additional bed stays.

The project has involved a wide range of White Associates skillsets, from the estimating detail skills applied by Konrad Trankels and Justin Maritz, to the bank funding and pre-condition reports reviews undertaken by Darin Bayer, and the post-contract skills now being applied daily by Brett Zeiler and John Hugo McGrath. In short, it’s a full-court press as the team works to help the Mission to deliver this landmark project within an evolving, fundraising-driven budget.

Ambition = QS challenges x3

As so often happens, with pioneering ambition comes complexity and challenge – and this project is not short of any of them. So, what are the biggest challenges here?

Brett Zeiler, who leads the post-contract quantity surveying work for White Associates on the project, says that they come in three main flavours: firsts, fire and funding.


“Firstly, this project is one of the tallest timber building in New Zealand. It is revolutionary in its use of Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) on such a large scale. CLT is undoubtedly the answer to building sustainably, adding value to a natural, renewable resource through technology – as well as fast, safe, economical and good for the planet. However, as anyone who has been on a construction site knows, when a new material or method is introduced to site it adds dimensions of uncertainty and risk. All of these can add time and cost to a project.


“It is true that the timber product, which is being supplied by XLam, has been used on numerous smaller projects around New Zealand, but it has never been used in a project of this size or in this part of the city. Because the structure above Level 2 is being made out of timber, the team has had to put some serious time and effort into understanding it, with many meetings with XLam to gain specialist knowledge of the system and the construction methodology.”


“Now, however, as the build progresses the team are getting to know the product and the system, we are beginning to understand it and become more comfortable with it. It is good to watch the installation team getting into their rhythm on site, it is becoming clear that they too are becoming confident with the methodology involved. That has been a real highlight of the project for me; being exposed to it, how it works, how it affects different elements of design, architecture, and seeing how the consultancy team have dealt with all of the new systems involved.”

CLT designed buildings have been at the forefront of design in recent years across Australia however New Zealand’s unique Volcanic landscape has meant that a more cautious approach has been taken hence the landmark status of this project. The understanding of the seismic requirements in a timber structure of this size in a country with a known earthquake risk has meant that the engineers have had to pioneer their way to a solution.


Fire rating requirements were a related challenge, says John-Hugo McGrath, who works daily on the project.

“One of the major elements was gaining an understanding of how the key requirements for the timber structure differed from the conventional steel and concrete, a part of this involved understanding how Council was treating the fire design and the implications their calculations had on the design and in turn cost.


“To address the challenge, we went through the design options and reviewed the acceptable solutions, we then carried out a cost analysis on the viable options and presented the most cost-effective options to the team. Knowing the options we had to work with allowed the consultancy team and the contractor to identify which option presented the most favourable methodology thus resulting in a solution that was the most cost and time effective for the client”.

The process involved considerable interaction with the Fire engineers and the Architects, he says.

“We worked through numerous options and gained valuable insight into the inner workings of the fire requirements with a CLT system, we reached the right solution with the team and have overcome what was definitely a hurdle at one stage.”

Funding and Project cashflow

One of the continual challenges on a project that continues to involve significant public fundraising is cashflow funding, says Brett. 

“The Mission has undertaken fundraising for different aspect of the project from the general public and grants from DHBs, council and government. This means that from a QS perspective we need to isolate costs from the medical/detox floors and relate them back to grants for specific works.


“There’s no doubt that it has been more complicated with multiple sources of funding, as we need to show that funds are being used for their intended purposes. We have therefore been through a process to work alongside the contractor, so as we get prices in for trades, we can split out the required levels of cost. This has involved significant collaboration with the contractor to extrapolate the required information and present it clearly. Our bank funding team has been extremely helpful in all of this work, which has run since the estimating phase through to now.”

John Hugo adds that the unique nature in which the Mission relies heavily on public donations to fund the project has meant that the team has had to work closely with the Mission to inform them frequently on their cashflow forecasting.

“By doing this we have been able to ensure the Mission is in a position to understand their donation targets and push donation drives to guarantee they have the capital to cover for upcoming payments as and when they are due”.


The procurement process has been another key process within this project, adds John Hugo.

“To gain an early start we tendered a P&G Margin contract to get a contractor on board, and then tendered trade packages until we had a 60% lump sum before commencing on site. This was a fairly unique process but was used out of necessity. Since then we have been working on an open book basis to procure the remaining 40% of trades as and when the design has progressed”


The open book basis has allowed us to ensure the contractor has obtained competitive market pricing on each trade through the tender process. “The number of moving parts involved in this process has meant that we have had to reassure the client and provide them with confidence of an accurate forecast cost as we progress through the trades”.

A collaborative approach with the contractor has meant the team has had the ability to engage with the trades and provide a more in-depth oversight throughout the entire process to ensure the trade prices are in line with expectations and represent a value for money.

Value first

Speaking of value, Brett adds, Value engineering has also played a significant part of White Associates’ role.

“Understanding the purpose of the building and nature of the client – being a charity organisation, it made sense that the design was fit for purpose. Given we are dealing with public money and donations, we have worked on a real value engineering drive, focusing on targeting a level of spec in the building that is appropriate for its intended uses, prioritising durability, longevity, things that will last, always being cost-conscious. That said, we don’t want to be penny-wise, pound foolish; we have been targeting the right cost for the right design life.”

The procurement nature of the project has allowed us insight into the design at a stage where we have been able to review and provide cost conscious alternatives to the client and engage in active talks with the Contractor as to how to better the buildability which ultimately results in cost savings.

This cost-focused and innovative approach to design, materials, procurement, methodology and funding has required a solid and collaborative team, he adds.

“The team has been really good. Everyone from the architects to the engineers understands what we are working on and why it is important. This has kept the Mission and the project’s outcome at the forefront of every meeting. We can all see that coming through in the way people are working, ultimately focused on the benefit this project will bring to the people who will live there as well as the Mission’s staff and volunteers.”

Focused on the future

The team is now working cohesively towards the end goal, with everyone focused on the same objectives, says Brett.

“Morale is great, and we applaud the Auckland City Mission for being the first to take the sustainable path forward. They are paving the way, providing lessons to be learnt so other people can follow. It is great that they have taken the initiative, and it is great to be part of the process.”

John-Hugo agrees.

“The design is pretty amazing. Knowing that it is made out of a pioneering technology gives us all a strong feel-good factor, knowing we are contributing to something that will serve people, and that they will be grateful for it. The project will make a truly meaningful impact; it’s not a tiny house, it’s a nine-storey building. It will make a big difference.”

Find out more about HomeGround here >>


INTRODUCING: Corize Olivier

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We offer a warm welcome to our latest cadet, Corize Olivier, who joined us at the end of last year.

Arriving into New Zealand from South Africa two and a half years ago, Corize has numbers running through her blood; both her parents are also quantity surveyors.

After studying a year of urban planning at Auckland University, Corize says that she realised that it was not the topic for her. “I sat down with my parents and they said, ‘why not study quantity surveying’? I realised that I have been surrounded by it all my life, and I have seen first-hand how my parents have influenced and contributed to so many projects through the discipline. So I switched to studying the subject at Massey, and I loved it: it was a great decision. Then I decided I wanted to get a job as a cadet in the industry.”

Discovering White Associates as her father was in contact with the company, Corize is now studying and working at the same time. And, although she wasn’t sure she wanted to consult initially, she now really enjoys it, she says. “In particular I enjoy the way the company is structured and how job processes are handled; I have found it all to be very open and welcoming. Since starting, I have not been scared once to ask people a question, and even if I feel nervous people are so helpful, transparent and open here, which I appreciate.”

Working currently with the team on the Auckland City Mission Homeground redevelopment project and driven by a love of structure and ‘how you can influence it’, she says that seeing the frame being bolted into place on the tallest timber-framed building in Auckland is an impressive process. “When I started here I just saw plans for the project, so to see it rise from them is remarkable. It is going to be a beautiful building.”

Now she’s getting her feet under the table, Corize says that she is most enjoying influencing how to make a process more efficient, and saving money while helping people. “It’s all very important to me. It’s about helping the client and contractor, helping them all to have the same end goal: after all, we all want the building to succeed.”

Director Justin Maritz says:

At White Associates we have seen great success with our Cadetship programme as it gives the next generation of Quantity Surveyors the opportunity to get practical experience while completing their Tertiary Education.  It is very rewarding being involved in facilitating the growth of our employees while we work together in planning their career path.  Our team has really responded well to us facilitating internal growth from within the company, giving everyone the opportunity for growth within the organisation.



Broader Outcomes driving a new approach to our legacy

At White Associates we’re setting out on a major new journey in our approach to how we do business. Inspired by the Broader Outcomes put in place by the Government as it seeks to drive better outcomes for more people in New Zealand, we have been digging into the core principles of our business – what we do, how we do it, why we do it, and what we want to leave behind us.

“When we started to think about it, many of the principals that underpin the Broader Outcomes also feature centrally in our approach as a business,” says Michelle Pou. “We were using outdated language around it, but the fundamental concepts of kaitiaki or custodianship are critically important to us. We see them not only in the work we do to help clients develop and build projects that will stand the test of time, but also in the approach we take to how we work; sharing knowledge, building our whanau and improving our wellbeing as individuals and as a team.

“When we really started to drill into the four outcomes that the Broader Outcomes seek to make reality, we realised that there are four areas in which we make a genuine difference as a team and in our work with our clients:

  1. Socially – providing skills and training, not only to our people but more widely through the cadetships and partnerships we already offer, increasing our reach out into the communities that surround us and increasing wellbeing and safety
  2. Environmentally – already a motivator for our people as they increasingly seek out environmental initiatives for company involvement, we are also working to help our clients consider and cost sustainable materials and designs into their projects
  3. Culturally – as a multi-cultural business we have so many opportunities to share and develop knowledge that improves us all as a whole. Having already begun a cultural Māori world view awareness programme within our team, we look forward to stepping forwards on this journey
  4. Economically – not only do we contribute centrally to New Zealand Inc.’s success through supporting reliable projects budgets and dependable project outcomes, but we have the opportunity to influence procurement processes to manage cost and increase participation in the industry.

What’s next? Having identified the core categories and workstreams that underpin our approach to the legacy we want to leave, we are now working to identify initiatives to add to our existing work. Expect news and stories as we progress along this important pathway.

Resilience on retreat!

Every second year we have a company retreat, in order to take time away from our day-to-day responsibilities and focus on bigger-picture topics that matter to us as individuals and as a company.

Always themed, our retreat focus this year was on Health and Wellbeing, a topic that is dominating conversations all around the country at the moment.

On our agenda was a half-day session with Brad Hook from The Resilience Institute, which was extremely well liked by all. His information was simple, and his Toolkit and Tricks – which we are reliably informed are backed by science – resonated with all of us. And then, not to make you laugh, we also did an hour’s Laughing Yoga session the following day! Sadly, there doesn’t seem to be a photo of that for some reason…

At the end of the retreat we had a surprise team challenge: to build an innovative putt-putt golf hole. Through a series of quiz questions and tasks the team won ‘purchase power’ that enabled them to buy products from our ‘shop’: the theory being that the more items you purchased the better the hole became. In the end, after good team competition, a crazy hole was devised and we donated nearly 200 food items to Auckland City Mission.

White Associates Business Manager Michelle Pou said, “We’re big fans of the Auckland City Mission. Not only are we working to help the Mission redevelop its campus, but we enjoy every opportunity we get to get involved personally too.

“With Christmas coming up our focus turns to giving, and especially to those who are struggling in our society. So, to try to pull our weight with the Auckland City Mission, we’ve done a few small things to help. A number of our team, plus some friends and family, recently volunteered at the Auckland City Mission Distribution Centre, packing up a total of 157 emergency food parcels in three hours. We also ran a can drive in the office, with our staff donating about $200 worth of canned goods. And we all enjoyed the challenge on our retreat.

“We know these are mere drops in the bucket of support that the Mission needs, so we encourage you to see how you too can help them create and distribute the family food parcels that more and more people need each year.”

Please visit https://www.aucklandcitymission.org.nz/fundraising/food-parcels/ to see how you can get involved too.