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BNZ2BANK STATEMENT: Mary Wealleans, Richard Wade, Joshua Brannigan, James Thorburn-Wilson, Kenneth Wei, Louis Lin were among BNZ staff volunteering for the bank's Closed For Good community work at Gower Park. PHOTO: Cordwainer Bull

Bank gets credit for community work at Gower Park - 2014-09-21


BNZ's Hamilton staff gave a good account of themselves at Gower Park during the bank's recent annual "Closed For Good" community work day last week.

Melville United's home ground was one of the major benificiaries of the bank's annual Closed For Good initiative, under which it shuts its doors for one day so staff can work on community projects.

Sixteen bankers from Hamilton, Frankton and Te Rapa branches elected to spend the day shovelling dirt in preparation for new pitch perimeter paving work at Gower Park (which will be one of three training grounds for next year's Fifa U-20 world Cup).

It was one of about 70 projects undertaken in the Waikato under a bank initiative that has been going for five years. Nationally, BNZ estimates the work done by its 4000 staff over the one day would take one person 16 years to do.

Hamilton branch banking advisor James Thorburn-Wilson said the Gower Park working bee was a classic case of many hands making light work.

"The BNZ is all about making people be good with money - but it is also about community service and community spirit," he said. "And this work needed to be done.

"Every year the day seems to be growing. You've got to make sure you are choosing the jobs that benefit the community the most within a small amount of time given, and that suit the staff ability - but a bit of physical labour does not go astray with us bankers."

For Richard Wade, who doubles as BNZ Store manager at Frankton as well as Reserve team coach for Melville, the project was extra special.

"This project is very close to my heart because I enjoy coming down to Gower Park anyway," he said. "It is an environment where I feel very comfortable and it is great to feel like I can advance the facilities in conjunction with my workmates."

Rob Dunnigan, a Te Rapa branch advisor and mercurial winger with the Melville A team, said it was a fantastic way to build a relationship between the bank and the football club.

"It's nice for the club to know that the BNZ is hands-on with its support."

Meanwhile Melville United club captain Phil Wheatley - who mucked with the bankers on the day - said it was a productive and successful working bee even beyond preparing 100 square metres of paving.

"The material benefits are obvious," Wheatley said. "But we also hope BNZ staff will relate to the club better, follow our club fortunes more closely, and perhaps enjoy a greater sense of ownership at Gower Park the next time we go on one of our big Chatham Cup runs."