In early 2018 in our Brisbane headquarters, we had a crazy idea to launch Orange Sky’s first international van on 10 October 2018 – exactly four years on from our first ever wash in Australia. We knew that homelessness had become a growing challenge in New Zealand and hoped that we could take some of our learnings from Australia and connect some of the 41,000 people we heard were doing it tough.

The road to launch as not a straight line and we needed a lot of help along the way. Legal loopholes, funding agreements, finding a ship, building the van, finding volunteers – it was what we were used to but everything was just that bit different, enough to second guess why we were doing this in the first place. Luckily enough we had local expertise and a growth mindset that allowed us to apply learnings and collaborate and feel confident our learnings from Australia were going to be transferable.

I first met Eddie when he came to Brisbane for our vehicle leaders summit in late August 2018. I had already heard a lot about him from Jo and Emma (our CEO and CFO at the time) and had a good feeling about him. Eddie is gentle, passionate, strong and his passion for helping our friends in New Zealand is beyond parallel.

I knew that we had made the right decision when he stood up in front of 30 relative strangers, shared a story (and a tear) and showed how vulnerable and meaningful he could be in talking to people about his future at Orange Sky and his vision for the future.

We now have two vans (Auckland and Wellington) and I have had a chance to visit a few times over the last two years. I will always remembered that first wash we did in Auckland and it has helped me continue my passion for helping people whether that is in Australia, New Zealand and…who knows where next.

What I know is that people all over the world are struggling with human connection and hygiene. Orange Sky has a blueprint that can really support people who are struggling. Nic and I never want to stop helping people and we will always make it a priority to find new ways to support as many people as possible.

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