Rae Timu is a receptionist at Hilda Ross House; a hospital hotel owned by the Waikato DHB, has lived and worked all over the country and travelled all over the world with her son, an up and coming rugby player.
I’m getting closer to retirement I think I’ll be doing a lot of travelling, I’ve got siblings in Australia. I’ll be doing a lot of travelling especially if my son makes it to the All Blacks. The year before last he made the under 20 all blacks junior team, they went to Japan for the cup, and I went too, it was amazing I was right outside my square.
I was born in Waipawa and I’m the oldest of 13, 6 boys and 7 girls. Then my Mum and Dad moved to Dannevirke where Mum was raised. One of the first things my Mum told me was, “you’re not leaving school to go out shearing.”
My first job was in Woolworths, I was there for about three years and then I went to Wellington and joined the post office when I was 18.
I worked in the post office for several years, most of it was down in Wellington, I went to Auckland and ended up in Invercargill and hated it down there, too far away from family and for racial issues, not that it bothered me too much but it was hard when I was homesick.
I came back up here in 1987 to look after my mother, she died in 1988 and that was the same year I got the job here at the hospital, what I wanted was the switchboard operating job but I missed out on that. Apparently I was a good interviewer and they rang me back and offered me a job in patient inquiries just as a fill in because one of the ladies was going off on maternity leave. I stayed there for eight years and in 1995 I moved across here to Hilda Ross.
Just lately I’ve been acting team leader, and I’d tell anyone coming into this job to make sure they know exactly what the job is and that they’re prepared for everything, it’s not just reception, we have to deal with domestics upstairs, we have to set the room up for the guest, some people don’t like doing that. As a team leader I’d tell the staff to be mindful of personality clashes because we have a lot of personality clashes here and to put ourselves in the guest’s shoes when they come here, I think sometimes we have rules and we can be too stiff with them instead of using them as a guideline.
To me I’m a receptionist first, there’s no gap between me and my staff. I have to fit in both jobs as best as I can, I have to make sure that when I’m doing my team leader work that the girls don’t moan that I’m not doing my other work as well.
I’d hate them to think that they have to carry too much more just because I’m doing the other work.
Mainly the team leader has to set a good example and I’ve always respected a boss who knows more than me and will work harder than me.
I used to be a peoples person, I guess it’s my age, as I get older I’m a stay at home person more now.
I know I want my grandson to be an All Black so I can follow him around when I retire.
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- The Waikato Independent is a project by journalism students of Media Arts, Waikato Institute of Technology.
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