So, with help from friend Emily Hill, Chia organised the Orakei Family Fair as a fun way to encourage her neighbours to think about their wellbeing and to remember loved ones lost by suicide.
“It’s a topic that people struggle to find the time to focus on. As always, people are so time short, so I was happy to spend my own time on this to help others,” the 33-year-old says.
The first-time event was held on 25 June as a fundraiser for the Mental Health Foundation (MHF).
Held at the new Orakei Bay Village, many local businesses supported her and got involved. 100% per cent of the proceeds were donated to the MHF – a massive $6,500.
“I really wanted to raise money for a charity I am passionate about. This charity hits home for a lot of us. A few of my friends have lost loved ones to suicide, and I have family members who live with mental illness, but not everyone feels comfortable talking about it.
“As soon as I told the local businesses I was raising money for mental health, they all said yes straight away,” Chia says.
While she has always given back to her community and donated to charities, she’s never done anything to this magnitude before.
Former All Blacks coach Graham Henry and former Silver Ferns captain Anna Stanley were at the event signing rugby balls and netballs, and there was a balloon clown, a weekend getaway prize, an online auction, bake stalls, coffee by Farro Fresh and face painting for the kids.
Chia has two young boys herself, aged two and four, so she wanted the event to be super family-orientated.
“So many fundraisers – breakfasts or charity auctions – aren’t suitable for kids. I wanted to make sure this was family friendly.”
A born and bred New Zealander, Chia’s parents are refugees from Vietnam and she was brought up in Manurewa. Now she lives in the Eastern Bays with her boys and husband and loves it.
She hopes to continue the family day in 2018.
“It took plenty of time and effort but I enjoyed every single minute of it.”