[Note : As always, this post about this remarkable person is long overdue. Thanks to Ms Didith Tayawa-Figuracion, Ms Meia Lopez, and of course Ms Anita Mansell for the allowing the reposting of this article and Mr Craig Phillips for graciously allowing use of the photo. Please visit the latest issue of KABAYAN Magazine (where the original article was published), the only newsmagazine of the Wellington Filipino community, at http://www.pinoystop.org/kabayan/, advance Merry Christmas to everyone! ]
THIRTY-ONE YEARS ago, we can’t be 100% sure, but Anita Nadera arrived in Wellington New Zealand on a typically windy, overcast day. The migrant in her conditioned her to prepare for anything and everything, and it would be her constant source of strength for years and years. It helped her adjust to the vastly alien life of being a new New Zealander, but it also helped her to be strong for her brethren, other new migrants.
Thirty-one years later, on another typically windy, overcast Wellington day, Anita Mansell (she has been happily married since then) she looks back with much introspection on half a lifetime of service and volunteerism.
She refuses to choose highlights in her career as a volunteer, and we believe her because she doesn’t even want to be called such, only someone who has been there for others. She wasn’t a pioneer with the Mabuhay Filipino Association, but she might as well have been. She joined a year after the Society was conceived, and she has not stopped helping newcomers, refugees and migrants first get settled in (physically and figuratively), then finding out her wards’ particular area of difficulty in adjusting. Whether it would be the language barrier, getting around or finding a job, Anita would be there, and she didn’t limit herself to helping kabayan only. Southeast Asians, South Asians, Middle Easterns, it didn’t matter to Anita as long as you needed help.