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Mae Everett: Busy teen proudest of exploits in the gym

Flagstaff Team

Full schedule… Mae Everett has been recognised for the community work she juggles with three jobs and full-time study

Ever outspoken, Mae Everett decides to “put it out there” that the thing she is proudest of this year, even more than her newly minted AIMES award for Takapuna community work, is success in a gym challenge.

As someone who hadn’t exercised since school, Everett, 19, said coming fifth out of 70 entrants in an Ultimate Body Challenge involved losing weight and gaining muscle. Participants had to get up at 5am daily – a huge challenge. The key was hard work and resilience.

“[Resilience is] waking up in the morning and resisting going back to sleep, then training your best at the gym, even though you’re tired.

“When I do something, I put my head in the game and I just do it. It’s something that’s important for everyone to do, I think.”

Everett now works at the Ultimate Body gym in Wairau Valley, while also doing two hospitality jobs, studying business law fulltime, holding down a role as a youth adviser at youth innovation hub Shore Junction and starting a thesis on community work.

Juggling it all has been “really hard”, she admits.

“It has been all about organisation and keeping it together and, when I am stressed, focusing as much as I can.”

Everett, who lives at home in Forrest Hill, plans a career in arbitration, but she also wants to stay involved with Shore Junction.

“I think it’s a life-long thing. I just love Shore Junction and I have been with it from the start.”

Building has started on the youth centre on Takapuna’s Mary Poynton Drive, after a huge number of fundraising events and activities, led by Everett and others.

Seeing young people grow through their involvement has been incredibly rewarding, Everett says, and that will continue when the hub opens. The plan is to create a place for young people to develop and fulfil their goals, through courses, mentorship and networking.

While both her parents work for the Auckland Council, Everett says her own involvement, since 2014, with the work of the Takapuna North Community Trust was something she instigated.

From the age of 14, when she was at Westlake Girls, Everett supported community facilitators Rachel Bro and, subsequently, Sarah Thorne, to organise events, such as an ‘Amazing Race’ for school students on Takapuna Beach, annual intergenerational dialogues between young people and older people and Charlie’s Play Dates, inclusive play days at the Takapuna Beach playground.

Everett was also a member of the Devonport-Takapuna Local Youth Board and chaired the associated youth group YouNite, which helped organise the same community events, as well as a candidates meeting to help inform young people about the local body elections in 2016.

These activities have been recognised with an AIMES award for emerging talent, from North Harbour Club.

Judging chair Sue Stannaway says Everett showed sustained commitment to charitable and philanthropic work and looks set to continue. In addition, the North Harbour Club sees Shore Junction as a great space to assist youth.

Everett plans to spend the $7500 award on educational resources to support her thesis. She enjoys writing and says she has already written six books – on “all sorts of things” – that she has only shown her mother.

She tells of a “spirituality”, passed on from her mother, that is all about empathy and using that understanding to solve problems – something she intends to do more of in the future.

This article originally appeared in the 6 December of the Rangitoto Observer.