Kat Finlay is cut from the same ilk as her small but mighty grandmother, Patricia Power, who was her main influence growing up in rural Dannevirke, New Zealand.
Kat keeps a photo of Pat on her fridge as a reminder of the strength which runs in her blood.
“Nanny was always doing something for someone; she was tiny, but she was fierce, and if I could be half the woman, she was I’ll be happy,” she said.
Kat, 42, got her first taste of Beaudesert in 2003, working as a stable hand at Glenlogan Park Stud, and moved here in 2004 because it was a good place to raise kids.
Kat and her then husband had four children in tow – their firstborn, Elyssa, who was six months old and her sister-in-law’s small children, who they had fostered.
Before she even had kids, Kat volunteered at the Royal Children’s Hospital every Saturday.
As life turned out, she ended up with three girls of her own (Elyssa, 17, Pania, 14, and Danielle, 10) who’ve all been inpatients in children’s hospitals.
Kat became a single mother the same year she found out her youngest child had been born with a condition called craniosynostosis.
“You never knew how strong you are until you have to be strong,” she said.
“I had to accept help for the first time, finding somewhere for Elyssa and Pania to stay while I went to hospital with Danielle. Pania was diagnosed with diabetes in 2015 and that’s been ongoing.
“If it wasn’t for those things, I wouldn’t have the same depth of empathy or appreciation for health I have now. We all take things for granted but it’s only when you’re sitting in a children’s hospital, it puts things in perspective.”
Kat’s world is all the richer for focusing on the people around her.
She loves nothing more than supporting her daughters in gymnastics, singing, dancing and sport, she helps people rent or sell properties through her work at Stone Real Estate and she enjoys spending time with her partner, Brett, who also loves giving back.
Kat is studying a diploma of Child, Youth and Family Intervention, adding to the degree she attained in anthropology and Maori before she moved to Australia. She has just started volunteering with RizeUp, a charity which does work close to her heart, helping women and families displaced by domestic violence.
When Kat’s Nanny, who passed away aged 99, got sick with dementia in New Zealand and she couldn’t be there for her, she volunteered at Star Gardens to show residents the love she couldn’t give her beloved grandmother.
“Helping people is my oxygen – when you’re giving you are actually receiving,” she said.
“Nanny always said you don’t become poorer by giving, and that has been so true for me.”