Born and raised in Tonga, Resource Coordinator Crystal Ake is known for her great communication skills, phone manner and helpfulness at Pacific Homecare. We catch up with her for a quick Q & A as Employee of the Month for April
Tell us a little bit about your background:
I come from a family of six from Kolomotu’a, Tonga. Our family has a long line of people who were in healthcare in one form or another. My Great Grand Aunt was a nurse in Australia, and her sister was a traditional healer. My late father was a General Practitioner in Tonga so growing up I was predestined to end up in the field someday – I just didn’t know how.
At the age of 19 I moved to the United States before returning to Tonga almost a decade later to return to school.
After that, I moved to New Zealand until my father was diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer. I packed my things and returned to Tonga to help out and see my father through his last days, and after his passing I returned to New Zealand again.
I planned to pack my things and finally root myself in Tonga for the rest of my life but things didn’t quite go as planned. One evening I was visiting a cousin and she urged me to apply for a role at Pacific Homecare that was advertised. To my surprise I was called back for an interview… When they say that “man plans and God laughs” I never really quite experienced it until that moment.
Since being employed with Pacific Homecare, I’m well on my way to creating the proverbial dream that I have always been chasing.
What sorts of things do you do in your job?
I am a Resource Coordinator and I split my responsibilities with my colleague Tifi Samau. Together we tackle the management of Pacific Homecare resources. We handle referrals that come through from funders, phone calls, messages and visits from clients and Support Workers to the office.
Our role is diverse and together as the Services Team we work hand in hand with the Field Coordinators. We were once referred to as the “communication hub” as we receive information and disseminate it accordingly through the day in parallel to other responsibilities.
Tell us about a normal day in your job?
I start my day early in the morning to capture voicemails that are left after office hours. Support Workers that are unable to work are taken off of their rosters and I then generate a report for the Field Coordinators to coordinate for a reliever. The most integral part of my role is monitoring Support Worker attendance and matching their timesheets – no one day is the same which is great for me.
What training have you completed at Pacific Homecare?
I am currently doing Everyday Leadership training which I am thoroughly enjoying. I have also taken up Level 2 New Zealand Qualifications in Health and Wellbeing and am also participating in Level 3. I’ve also done first aid training which I thoroughly enjoyed and I have a genuine thirst to learn new things with every opportunity.
What do you like most about working at Pacific Homecare?
I absolutely love the working environment; it’s like a beehive with the daily activities, and everyone is very much enveloped in their work and before you know it the day comes to an end. I wake up every morning looking forward to a new day because my colleagues are very amicable people.
Who inspires you?
I am inspired by my late father, to aspire to the height he reached when he was still with us. He never missed a day at work unless he was physically unable to get out of bed; even to his last days it was like pulling teeth with him to give up work. He even worked on his days off and had a renewed vigour and passion for his calling.
I look at my colleagues and they too are the same way. Everyone around me inspires me to reach my goals, and hopefully I can impart a bit of happiness to others while on my self-seeking journey.
At the end of your working day, what do you like to do?
I like to spend time with my family which is important to me; it is therapeutic to be able to unwind and catch up with my loved ones back at home.
Lately I have picked up a hiking trail which my family and I are walking when I’m done for the day in the office. It teaches me great lessons about my strengths and weaknesses; it makes me appreciate nature and develop a deeper relationship with God.
QUICK FIRE QUESTIONS
Favourite type of music?
What languages do you speak?
Tongan and English
What are your hobbies?
Crocheting, nail art, makeup, amateur photography, sewing and cooking
What’s your favourite childhood memory?
My brother is a year younger than I am; we grew up like twins rather than siblings. Every weekend in the wee hours of the morning I would wake up because something warm was by my foot…I’d realise my father had slipped my brother and I a warm mince and cheese pie that had been flown over from New Zealand to the Rotary Club (which he was a member of in Tonga). It was delightful treat as we were the only ones that were privy to this little secret.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
I have had a lifelong passion for all things historical and cultural. When I was a child I fell in love with ancient civilizations such as the Ancient Egyptians, the Mayans, the Aztecs, the Mesopotamians to name a few. As a child I had always fantasized about being an Archaeologist or an Anthropologist.
If you weren’t doing this job what would you be doing?
That is a mystery unto itself; I have dabbled in various fields from fashion to health care. If I were not part of the Pacific Homecare team I may have very well been sitting by the side of the road selling handmade souvenirs to tourists that would come onto the shores of Tonga or quite possibly have settled down and made a Tongan lad a very lucky man.