Nanette Nathoo is a fourth generation Kiwi-Indian mum, grand-mum, business owner, enthusiastic community volunteer, and above all a community safety crusader.
She is Law and Order Chair of the New Zealand Indian Central Association – the oldest and the largest community association of Indian-New Zealanders.
She is a familiar and probably one of the most smiling faces present in almost every important community gathering on safety and law and order issues.
Safety and security of the fellow community members are one of the issues that Ms Nathhoo is deeply passionate about.
“I am a firm believer of the fact that crime prevention starts with us,” Mrs Nathoo told The Indian Weekender.
“I am committed to creating awareness among our fellow community members that we need to take responsibility for our safety and that of our loved ones around us,” Mrs Nathoo said.
It is in pursuit of this passion that Mrs Nathoo has been working in different guises, especially as the Law and Order Chair for NZICA, and coordinating closely with the New Zealand Police, in creating appropriate messaging for creating awareness and remaining safe.
The latest in this endeavour is the NZICA and NZ Police desktop calendar for 2018, with a special theme every month on crime prevention.
In this endeavour, Mrs Nathoo had worked closely with Jessica Phuang of Auckland Central Police, especially targeting the elders in the migrant communities, who still rely on desktop calendars and less on digital tools.
“The idea behind this initiative is to serve as much information to the people about what they should be doing to prevent crime,” Mrs Nathoo said.
“Sometimes people refrain from simple things like calling to police in the event of any crisis.
“This could be for many reasons including previous socio-cultural experiences from their respective countries of origin,” Mrs Nathoo further adds.
“This has to change, and the best way of bringing such a change is by sharing information.
“I believe that knowledge is power, and more information we share with those people more we are empowering them,” Mrs Nathoo asserts.
The calendar has theme messages for every month around issues such as road safety, reporting a crime, personal safety, property crime, financial crime etc. and provides basic tips for everyone to follow.
“These issues are deceptively simple, however, potentially can make a huge difference in keeping the community safe,” Mrs Nathoo said.
A themed message under the financial crime section advises people that government agencies will not call you directly demanding money.
It is important to note that in recent times there have been many instances where Indian families have been duped thousands of dollars by callers posing as immigration officials.
“Telling families in advance that the government agencies will not ask for money or their account pin number could be very helpful,” Mrs Nathoo argues.
Mrs Nathoo has also been actively involved in the Crime Prevention Group and was the part of 15-member delegation that met with a group of ministers in the new government last December requesting tougher laws and more effective policing on the streets.
Creating awareness through social media videos
Mrs Nathoo is also known for her ingenuity in creating crime prevention videos of her own, with the prized help of many other equally passionate community-members and NZ police.
The videos were able to create compelling visual imagery of how petty crimes like mugging, mobile snatching, bag snatching, besides others, unfolds in real life circumstances.
“The idea was to create visual images of how our own inattentive behaviour in day-to-day lives prompts opportunist criminals to take advantage,” Mrs Nathoo said explaining the purpose of such videos.
“Sometimes people can relate better with the videos depicting known faces in real life situation and could realise the importance of safety messages,” Mrs Nathoo said.
The links of all of these videos are posted on the website of NZICA for anyone to see and share around.
The Indian Weekender acknowledges Nanette Nathoo’s passion and commitment for an issue that is so important for the Kiwi-Indian community.