Westpac and Duffy Books in Homes donate 1,000 books to hospital staff who worked through Covid-19

Jessica Satherley
Westpac and Duffy Books in Homes donate 1,000 books to hospital staff who worked through Covid-19
Photographed right to left: Talavale Timo, William Inthavong, Bonson Setephano, Mamta Mudaliar, Nalini Sharma

Behind every hospital’s frontline staff of doctors and nurses there are dozens of other critical workers such as cleaners and orderlies. 

These behind-the-scenes staff have been essential workers during the Covid-19 pandemic, so Westpac and Duffy Books in Homes have donated 1,000 children’s books to them to say thanks. 

The books are being given to non-clinical essential workers at Middlemore Hospital who had children at home while they worked through the pandemic. 

Middlemore Hospital’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr Peter Watson, highlighted the absolute need for these workers. 

Photo of Duffy Books

The books are being given to non-clinical essential workers at Middlemore Hospital

“A lot attention goes to the frontline staff, the doctors and nurses, but the non-clinical support like our cleaners and orderly workers are critical, so that we’re in a good place to look after patients,” Dr Watson said. 

“They are essential to what we do and there’s a whole team behind our frontline who are working just as hard.   

“We are very pleased to be on the other side of the pandemic now,” he said. 

Middlemore Hospital in Auckland treated 12 patients with Covid-19 and all of them have now recovered. 

The cleaners and orderly workers said that they didn’t feel worried about their health while working during the pandemic, but they did spend a lot more time preparing for work. 

“There was a lot of prep work with using PPE gear and showering after each shift at Middlemore, but the hospital was great and provided shower facilities before we went home,” mother-of-two Talavale Timo, who is an orderly in the emergency ward, said.  

“I was very cautious with hygiene after work, especially with kids at home,” Talavale says. 

Nalini Sharma, who is a cleaner of ward six at Middlemore, has two children aged seven and 18. 

“My 18-year-old son has been reading Duffy books since he was eight and it taught him to love reading. 

“He just started his first year at university and still loves to read, so now I’m giving my seven-year-old the Duffy books,” she said. 

Westpac is one of the major sponsors of Duffy Books in Homes and supports the charitable organisation’s mission to inspire a love of books and reading in all New Zealand’s children. 

Duffy Books in Homes targets low decile schools and preschool communities nationwide.  Since 1994 more than 13 million books have been distributed to children and whānau across New Zealand.


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