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The Staff and Long Service Awards 2023

The Staff and Long Service Awards 2023

The Staff and Long Service Awards 2023

On Friday 8 March 2024, we gathered for our annual Staff and Long Service Awards - an opportunity to acknowledge the outstanding service and contribution of our team members.

A room with a vaulted wooden ceiling and rows of people seated on chairs

The Staff Awards are a real highlight for our team as they recognise those who live our values – especially going above and beyond, and patient experience – and display a true commitment to our patients, community, staff, and wider organisation.

The Long Service Awards are presented to our team to acknowledge and celebrate their continued commitment to Wellington Free through a variety of lengths of service.

Meet our 2023 Staff Award winners:

Act with Kindness – Mel 

This award recognises demonstrating the value of manaakitanga (showing respect) and going the extra mile to make people feel valued and important.

Mel is known for going the extra mile to make people at Wellington Free, and those outside of the organisation, feel important. Paramedics who have joined us from overseas have said Mel supported and helped them every step of the way with their move over to Aotearoa New Zealand. They’ve said without her support and kindness, the process of moving to Aotearoa New Zealand would have been a lot harder. Because of Mel, new staff are starting their career with us feeling comfortable and welcome from their first shift.


Be Authentic, Original, True – Jesi 

This award reflects someone who brings their authentic self, honesty, and vulnerability to everything they do, while encouraging others to do the same. 

Jesi is a Senior Emergency Medical Call Taker and is always unapologetically themselves by creating an environment that is welcoming to all. Jesi is a bolt of energy and fun; they never fail to brighten up a room. They lighten the load of a very heavy job and lift others up. You can never do your best when you are not supported, and Jesi does just that.  



Keep Getting Better, Together – Cheryl 

This award recognises someone who has made an improvement, innovation or initiative which has a significant impact and positive contribution to the organisation.  

Cheryl shows such a passion for our organisation and community. She has gone above and beyond in our community to get as many people confident in CPR as possible as well as gaining support for our new Wairarapa Ambulance Station. Her dedication to Wellington Free is inspiring and doesn’t go unnoticed.



Lead by Example – Simon

This award recognises a passionate and supportive individual who shares their knowledge and expertise to ensure better outcomes for all. 

Team Manager Communications Simon is always there for others and contributes significantly to the ongoing success of the organisation. He has earned the respect of his peers by delivering a high quality and attentive management style - his team knows he will not let them down. Simon leads with a genuine and kind nature and considers others first and foremost.  



Chief's Commendation – Elle and Tim

This award recognises exceptional acts that contribute to people, families and whānau that go above and beyond the expectations of our service. These actions exemplify courage, commitment, determination and dedication to the health and wellbeing of our communities.

Elle and Tim were honoured with this award following their response to a serious incident that left two people with serious gunshot injuries. Elle and Tim were on the scene immediately as events unfolded and had to make a dynamic risk assessment, taking their personal safety and the needs of the patients into account. Because of the immediate medical care given by Elle and Tim and the courage they showed in an intense situation, both patients survived.  

Tim says “We were faced with an unusual situation which reflects what any ambulance crew could face at any time. We did our job".  Elle and Tim represent the incredible courage and skills under pressure shown by our frontline paramedics, and we’re so proud of them.

Dr Andy

We paid tribute to Dr Andy's incredible contribution as Medical Director at Wellington Free, as well as his clinical contribution to the entire region.

Dr Andy has been involved with ambulance services since 1985, leading the development of community paramedicine and flight paramedicine across our region. Just a selection of his community mahi includes contributing hugely to the establishment of the Wellington Hospital emergency department in 2001, establishing the Palmerston North Emergency Department and the Kenepuru Accident & Medical Centre, developing and introducing the Extended Care Paramedic role across Kāpiti Coast and Porirua, and playing an instrumental role in developing the flight paramedic service at Life Flight.

He also has a passion for teaching, research, and supporting and encouraging students to pursue clinical excellence.

It's impossible to calculate how many families and individuals have been impacted and how many lives have been saved by Dr Andy's emergency care.

Employees of the Year – Mel and Jenna

This award recognises staff members who are outstanding in all areas of their work. The winners show significant commitment, passion and energy while demonstrating the core values and behaviours of Wellington Free at every level. The winners consistently go the extra mile to make the organisation a better place for patients and staff alike.

It takes a great team and great team work to produce consistently outstanding results, which is why this year there were two employees of the year.  

Jenna and Mel have worked tirelessly together, going above and beyond, committed and concentrated on recruiting, training and supporting new staff to Wellington Free. 

Jenna says "What an experience to win Employee of the Year alongside the incredibly talented Mel! It’s been an absolute pleasure to work with Mel, she is incredible at what she does. I feel very proud to work for Wellington Free Ambulance – the work people do on both the frontline and behind the scenes is very admirable, and it’s an honour to be associated with such an extraordinary group of people."

Mel says "It was a real honour to win the recent Employee of the Year and Act with Kindness awards, an awesome way to celebrate 10 years with Wellington Free. Wellington Free is full of talented and dedicated people which makes it a really rewarding place to work.”

Long Service Awards

We celebrated the following team members for their ongoing dedication and commitment to Wellington Free - in total, they bring over 320 years of collective service!

10 years' service
  • Margaret 
  • Rachel 
  • Joanne 
  • Heather   
  • Cheryl 
  • Heidi     
  • Josie       
  • Laura 
  • Mel     
  • Natasha 
  • David 
  • Stefanie 
  • John 
  • Tatiana 
15 years' service
  • Stuart 
  • Chris 
  • Claire 
  • Lynda 
  • Wayne    
  • Rob 
20 years' service
  • Nigel   
  • Christine 
  • Jonathan 
  • Michelle     
  • Kate 
  • Sarah 
25 years' service
  • Sharon
30 years' service
  • Ross
35 years' service
  • Alan

A huge congratulations to all our long-service recipients, finalists, and award winners who were honoured this evening!



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