Thursday November 23, 2017
Countdown’s top manager reflects on decades of dedication By Jamie Adams
Almost three decades of loyalty to a national supermarket brand has paid off for Paul Berney, who has been named Countdown Store Manager for 2017. Paul, 48, was named winner against managers from 183 other stores nationwide. He was recently promoted to manage Countdown Newtown after more than a year running the Cable Car Lane store, for which he won his award. Born in Porirua and bred in Lower Hutt, Paul’s love for Wellington has seen him work in nearly every Countdown in the region over the past 30 years. Paul was not even 16 when he left school in the late 1980s to start a butchery apprenticeship at Wainuiomata Woolworths, as it was then known as. After a stint playing rugby over-
Paul Berney has been named Countdown Store Manager of the Year for his role in the Cable Car Lane outlet. PHOTO: Jamie Adams
seas, Paul resumed his butchery role upon return but was soon encouraged to take on a managing role. “I did a deputy manager development course for four months then did a deputy role in Tawa and was only there for three months before moving to Upper Hutt.” He had also managed Lower Hutt and Johnsonville Countdowns before hitting the big time at the new store in central Wellington. “The [Cable Car Lane] store is doing extremely well. The foot traffic is huge - 3500 people walk past that store every hour,” he says. “It’s only 800 square metres in size but it’s popular with people wanting to get lunch or snacks.” Having already been named best manager in the lower North Island, Paul won his award after facing off against the winners of the three other zones through a
Student gets big grant for research into Pacific remedies A PhD student from Victoria University of Wellington has been awarded $345,156 to research the chemical and biological properties of plants found in the Pacific that are traditionally used for medicinal purposes. Helen Woolner, who will graduate with a PhD in Chemistry next month, received the funding through the Health Research Council’s Pacific Health Research Postdoctoral Fellowship programme. She will undertake the research over the next three years at the university’s Chemical Genetics Laboratory and with Dr Rob Keyzers and Dr Andrew Munkacsi as her supervisors. Helen hopes her research will help Maori and Pasifika people harness the full potential of their long-held natural health practices. Helen, who is of Cook Island Maori descent, remembers her
mother and grandmother using traditional plant-based medicines to treat minor ailments when she was a child. “But only when I started studying science 12 years ago, did I gain an understanding and an appreciation for my mum and grandma’s use of medicinal plants.” As a starting point, she will draw on research by 2016 Victoria PhD graduate Dr Seeseei Molimau-Samasoni, who used biological and chemical tools to identify the iron-chelator compound in a Samoan plant that is traditionally used for its anti-inflammatory activity— like a natural ibuprofen. Helen will then look for novel compounds that may produce healing properties in other selected plants from Samoa, the Cook Islands and New Zealand. “These results will provide insight into the chemistry and biology of traditional medicine in the Pacific,” she says.
series of interviews with Countdown’s various general managers at its Auckland head office. Apart from a five-year period in which he worked at Mitre 10 in New Plymouth, Paul has dedicated most of his career to Countdown and is unfazed about the potential ridicule of being known as a “supermarket worker” when introducing himself. “I’d probably be the highest-paid member of the group.” He puts his success down to working hard, taking any opportunity thrown his way and always aiming to be the best he can be – something he believes no qualification can substitute. “Our managing director Dave Chambers started off as a trolley boy. He’s a living example of what’s possible.” Paul is hosting a meet and greet with customers at Countdown Newtown today at 11am.
New committee elected for Berhampore group By Jamie Adams
Victoria University PhD chemistry student Helen Woolner. PHOTO: Supplied
Seeseei says the chemical biology of Maori and Pasifika traditional medicine is poorly understood, especially when compared to traditional medicine in other parts of the world. “Helen’s research could identify the compounds that have potential to be pharmaceutical drugs.” Rob says Helen’s research
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feeds into the growing need for new medicines, “We need to recognise that 80 percent of the world’s population rely on herbal [traditional] medicines. So understanding how these work, how efficacious the treatments are, and what unforeseen effects they may have, is of great importance.”
The budding Berhampore Community Association marked its first annual general meeting on Saturday with the formation of a new committee. New members were voted in at the Berhampore Community Centre, following a public meeting with candidates for the southern ward city council by-election. One of those new members is also a candidate - Berhampore resident Thomas Morgan. Fellow committee member Liz Springford says it’s an exciting time to get involved in the association, with all the by-election candidates promising to listen to the concerns raised by the Berhampore community, among others. Yesterday marked one year since the association formed, comprising of six members and a dog. It has grown to about 70 members and Liz is keen for more people who live or work in the area to attend its monthly meetings. Type its name in Facebook to find out more information.
Cook Strait News 23-11-17