Niki Mason, who last Friday finished five-and-a-half years as coordinator of Queenstown’s Happiness House, says she’s seen progressively more people struggling over that time.
“It’s extremely hard out there when most of your money goes on rent,” she says.
Mason’s left the community support centre to be local coordinator for Jigsaw Central Lakes’ Strengthening Families service.
She says working with people is her passion.
“I am completely humbled every time I meet someone and hear their story and understand where they come from and what they’ve been through.”
Mason’s successor is Bec Conway, who’s been working for Happiness House since January.
Before then she was working as a local community support worker helping people with mental health issues.
Originally from Ireland, where she studied social science, Conway expects in her new role she’ll be advocating for people in times of crisis.
“There are so few places like this left, we need to keep it here as long as we can.”