Mornings used to be madness in the Weingarth household.
Janelle and Mark Weingarth would have to wake their two boys at 6am to get them fed, dressed, out the door and dropped off to daycare before they started work. But that all changed when 19-year-old Samira Haas joined the family as their German au pair.
“Samira fitted into our lives so easily - it's like we'd always known her. She was part of our family, our friend and importantly part of our parenting team," Janelle says.
The couple was so impressed with how she cared for Cooper, 4 and Fletcher, 21 months, that they nominated her for the Au Pair of the Year Competition run by PORSE partner company, Au Pair Link.
There were tears all around when they found out Samira had won. “I was so surprised and really pleased," Samira says.
Samira was awarded a STA travel voucher worth $1,000 and a Certificate of Excellence. She used the voucher to upgrade her accommodation on her trip to Samoa on her way home.
Au Pair Link General Manager, Casey Muraahi, says entries were judged based on their passion, the differences made to the lives of the children and parents, and the evident bond developed between the au pair and the family.
The Weingarths compiled a video of Samira having fun with the boys, in which Cooper holds up signs saying: "I love my Samira," and "She is caring, kind, fun and beautiful".
Cooper idolised Samira, Janelle says. The boys couldn't wait to read stories and climb all over her.
Samira also encouraged the boys’ development, writing out the alphabet with corresponding pictures.
“It’s the little things like this that make Samira not only an au pair but a nurturer and educator," Janelle says.
She described Samira as an “angel” from Germany, taking the stress out of mornings.
Having Samira living with the family, Mark and Janelle could kiss the children goodbye each morning while the boys were still sitting at the table happily eating breakfast with Samira.
“Samira is kind, caring and patient. It made it much easier to leave for work in the morning knowing that the boys would be well cared for,” Janelle says.
As the boys no longer had to get up as early, they could stay up an hour later at the end of the day giving the Weingarths more precious time with their children.
Samira loved her time with the family, developing a deep bond with the boys and their parents. She also made the most of her days off travelling to different parts of the country, walking the Tongariro Crossing and trying white water rafting.
A partnership between PORSE and Au Pair Link enables au pairs to work in more New Zealand communities. Find out how we provide more flexible childcare solutions for Kiwi families.