Plenty of good advice was on hand for those attending

Wellbeing expo draws a crowd

by Mike Isle

Live your best life now and for the future — that was the challenge issued to the Burnham Military Camp community by nearly 50 stallholders at the inaugural Living Wise Living Well Expo last month.

Nearly 30 external agencies participated, and for some, it was the first time they’d had the opportunity to visit the camp and engage in person with personnel.

Veteran’s Affairs and the RSA were popular stops, alongside Families of our Fallen where people spent time hearing the stories of those who had passed.

A mouth painting display by Invictus athlete Grant Philip was also a highlight, with a selection of art on display from the inaugural NZ Army Art in Recovery exhibition held at Burnham late last year. Defence community facilitator at Burnham, Ms Kathryn Hodgkinson, was thrilled to see a broad mix of people coming through the door and engaging with each of the stalls.

“I was surprised that a couple of times throughout the day it was actually hard to move through the aisles due to the volume of people – a great problem to have for our first expo!”

Having only started in her role in October, Ms Hodgkinson’s initial priority was Christmas event planning, but her vision for the expo had been growing since day one.

“It was amazing to see the event finally come to fruition, and I’m grateful for the support of so many people around the camp and also the wider NZDF organisation to help bring it to life.

“I love building relationships and bringing people together for a common purpose, whether it’s to implement a new initiative, assist people through a challenging period, or just connecting the community through having fun.

We hope the expo will get bigger and better each year, adding new exhibitors who can help people live wise and live well.”

Attendees were impressed at the quality of the expo and are already looking forward to its return in 2020 when it is planned to coincide with Command Week in January — an orientation week for all units at Burnham Military Camp.