DIY face masks helping the community


How one Fonterra employee is sewing up to 100 face masks on her days off – all for a good cause.

Fonterra Senior Laboratory Technician, Shelley Herbert is not only an essential worker based at Fonterra’s Te Rapa site, she is also sewing cotton face masks on her days off.

When fashion designer Annah Stretton did a call out for sewers to volunteer on the Morrinsville community Facebook page, Shelley put her hand up to help.

Between work, sewing masks, and keeping her kids busy, Shelley says she doesn’t get much time to herself.

“It’s all a bit full on. I try to make between 50 and 100 masks on my two days off, then I spend time with the kids, keeping up with school work and keeping them busy.”

The work she’s doing is for a great cause. For every face mask pack purchased from Annah Stretton’s #TakeCoverNZ initiative, another will be delivered to registered aged care facilities around the country.

Shelley is one of around 15 other volunteers (most of whom she has never met) that are all united in their common goal of doing their bit to help the community.

I’m sure once lockdown is over, we’ll actually introduce ourselves face-to-face!

Shelley Herbert, Fonterra Senior Laboratory Technician

As well as being a keen sewer, Shelley works in the documentation and sampling side of the lab at Fonterra’s Te Rapa site, collecting the samples as they arrive, separating them, and sending them through to be tested, as well as answering any queries from the plant.  

She says things have been a bit different since lockdown, but her team is managing fine.

“I miss seeing everybody, but on our handovers via our notebook and over email we try and leave smiley faces for each other! 

Shelley isn’t the only essential worker in her bubble either, her husband is a Fonterra tanker driver at Waitoa.

Shelley’s kids, Archer (10) and Aurora (11) modelling the masks

To find out how to get your own cotton face mask (possibly crafted by Shelley), and for more information on #TakeCoverNZ, visit Annah Stretton’s website.