Crochet hat and socks


Superheroes and their sidekicks often possess a wide array of superpowers. Some can fly, some are strong, some are fast, and some can even talk to fish. While all of those are pretty neat, we reckon that the best superpower of all is kindness.

Enter Annette; she’s a Mercury legend and a proud sidekick to all the brave little superheroes in Starship. An absolute whizz with a pair of knitting needles and a sewing machine, Annette has combined her crafting talents with her biggest superpower, kindness, to help provide warm and cosy blankets and baby clothes to hundreds of Starship families over the years.

Part of the Mercury family for almost a decade, Annette has been a pillar of our community, and has played a leading role in our Mercury Knitters group. We sat down to ask her what Starship means to her, and why she believes our continued support of NZ’s national children’s hospital is so incredibly important.

How did you first get involved with knitting for Starship?
“I joined the Mercury team in 2013 and was introduced to the budding Mercury Knitters group shortly after. As a Mum of three, and a Grandmother of six, I was instantly drawn to the work the group was doing; supporting Starship by knitting and crocheting invaluable items such as blankets, singlets, hats and cardigans for NICU (Starship’s Newborn Intensive Care Unit).

The group was originally founded by our late-colleague, Barbara, in order to support one of our team members whose child was born prematurely. As there were not many garments readily available for a baby of that size, the Knitters took it upon ourselves to help the family out and make some for them. Over time this naturally evolved into supporting other Starship families in need.”

How much knitting do you do for Starship?
“Knitting is one of my favourite hobbies; I was taught how to knit when I was four years old and growing up would often race against my family to see who could finish their row or garment first. This hobby has carried into adulthood, and I knit most nights, with around 90% of what I create going to Starship. I have lost count of the number of individual items I have made over the last nine years!

One of my favourite times to sew for Starship is around Christmas. Myself along with my colleagues Huo-Yien, Bev, Valerie and Jo-Anne, challenge ourselves to make as many Christmas Stockings as we can, so that Santa can have an easier time delivering presents to all the children spending the holidays at the hospital. Over the last few years, we’ve made over 120 stockings to give to the children as a treat.”


Annette and her knitting


What does Starship mean to you?
“As a Grandmother, I’ve seen first-hand just how important Starship is to Kiwi families across the country. Two of my own grandchildren have spent time being treated at Starship, and they receive continued support from the fantastic team at the Outpatients clinic. The hospital is full of dedicated staff who have gone above and beyond to help my family, and many other families when we have needed help.

Starship has some of the best medical knowledge and equipment in the world but needs our community’s support in order to keep providing our children with the kind of care and treatment they need. I feel proud knowing that through my knitting, I’m able to make a difference and help young Kiwis in need”.

Throughout the last few months, Annette and the team have been working hard and prepping early to make sure that there’s enough cosy blankets and clothes to support Starship’s littlest heroes during the upcoming change of season. Their latest batch saw them drop off two whole car-loads of supplies to the very grateful Starship team.

“It’s always so humbling to receive the beautifully knitted and crafted baby blankets, cardigans, beanies and booties for our Starship mums and their babies.  There are lots of ‘ooo’s’ and ‘ahh’s’ and ‘so cute’ comments when your boxes are delivered to the wards.  While you may never know who receives these gifts, please rest assured that the NICU Nursing team and mums are always so grateful”, says Dawn Borovich, Starship Foundation People and Culture Co-ordinator.

 Although not all of us are as skilled at knitting and sewing as Annette and the Mercury Knitters, we can each make a massive difference to the lives of Starship’s little superheroes. A monthly donation as little as just $4.00 from each of us would make a world of difference, helping fund countless projects to enrich the lives of Kiwi kids across the country.

Become a Starship sidekick and make a real difference today.


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The information provided in this article is of a general nature and not intended to be a substitute for personalised, professional advice. Mercury recommends that you always seek appropriate advice from a qualified professional to suit your individual circumstances. Links to external, non-Mercury websites are provided as a reference only, and do not imply a partnership or endorsement of their content.