Over the past few years, we have heard the phrase “abundance of caution” used frequently, joining terms like “unprecedented times” and “social distancing” on the list of words popularised by the pandemic.
At the time, it seemed that we heard these words so often that we forgot the meaning behind them – the realities of making difficult choices and taking proactive steps to protect our communities.
It was an abundance of caution that allowed our country to endure the COVID-19 and Delta outbreaks without the huge death tolls experienced elsewhere. It was an abundance of caution that enabled us to keep the virus from spreading into our communities until we had very high levels of vaccination. And it was an abundance of caution that led Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu to implement our split workforce at the beginning of Omicron – since then, our kaimahi have been divided into two teams, alternating between working from home and working from the office each week.
This approach has served us well. Although many of our kaimahi have needed to self-isolate over the past few months, we have managed to keep transmission to a minimum. This has enabled our healthy staff to keep paddling the waka while those who are māuiui take the time they need to get better. Our core business has continued uninterrupted, and we are grateful for the abundance of caution that has allowed us to continue serving whānau throughout Te Waipounamu.
This has been especially important because a huge focus has been implementing and delivering new programmes as part of our ongoing response to COVID-19. The pandemic brought to the fore some of the many inequities that whānau Māori have faced for years. We are proud to be working on two kaupapa that will support whānau to overcome these challenges.
Project Mauri Hiko works to combat the rising cost of electricity, by helping whānau find ways to reduce the usage in their whare. A core group of Whānau Ora Navigators have been identified as Mauri Hiko champions, and are sharing resources and knowledge that can help whānau keep their houses warm, and their power bills down.
Our Uruora kaupapa is focused on addressing inequities when it comes to connectivity and access to health services. In partnership with Spark, we are working with whānau across Te Waipounamu to ensure they have access to the devices and connectivity required to use telehealth services. Telehealth is fast becoming a preferred option for many clinics, allowing them to expand their reach and support whānau who may find it more difficult to come and see them kanohi ki te kanohi.
With winter officially upon us, our kaimahi are more committed than ever to support our amazing team of Whānau Ora Navigators and Whānau Ora partners, so that together we can help whānau stay warm and healthy during the colder months.
Telehealth is fast becoming a preferred option for many clinics, allowing them to expand their reach and support whānau who may find it more difficult to come and see them kanohi ki te kanohi.
This week we welcomed 10 Mokopuna Ora entities from across Te Waipounamu into the event space at Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu for our Mokopuna Ora Wānanga 2022! This wānanga focussed on capability training, mātauranga, and whanaungatanga as the team plans for the new financial year and begin preparations for an additional focus on responding to family and sexual harm. We were also able to launch the beautiful new logo for Mokopuna Ora that captures the essence of this kaupapa in supporting, nurturing, and empowering whānau/mātua to nurture and care for their tamariki and mokopuna.
The design represents growth, development, and nurture. This is shown with the use of the koru. The koru symbolises its form of growth and with the right support environment it will grow in an empowering way. The designs represent the pā harakeke and how the harakeke develops its whānau system. The outer shoots of the plant are the mature plants that protect the inner new shoots to develop and grow. Once the baby shoots develop and mature it creates space for the next generation.
Mokopuna Ora were fortunate to have expert speakers throughout this wānanga including Te Korimako Legal Education, Te Puna Oranga, Stop Services, Tūpuna Parenting, and Tākai, sharing their mātauranga and approaches to parenting and supporting whānau with tamariki aged 0-5 years. This wānanga was also amazing for allowing Mokopuna Ora entities to connect with each other, and in understanding the impact and influence they have as a collective across Te Waipounamu. We are so grateful to the Mokopuna Ora team for all of the challenging and selfless mahi they do for whānau raising pēpi and young tamariki, and we are excited to see how this kaupapa will continue to grow over the next year.
Last weekend our resilience kaimahi were in Te Taurapa o Te Waka for a wānanga on cultural report writing. The rōpū were welcomed to the hub and the rohe of Te Taurapa o te Waka with a whakatau by Matua Ned Wepiha, supported by daughter Ebony Webster and moko Reina Webster.
Led by Pouwhakataki, Vanessa Whangapirita and supported by Eileen Wolland and Kahutane Whaanga, this wānanga focused on developing and enhancing skills around this unique type of writing. Māori models of wellbeing were explored and unpacked, as exemplars of frameworks for cultural reports.
The wānanga was held in the beautiful Te Hoeroa space in Remarkables Park in Queenstown. This recently opened space is a hub for rangatahi Māori, aiming to connect them with their culture and provide them with a safe place to meet.
The wānanga was also an opportunity for the Whānau Resilience team to wrap up their mahi and handover to the incredible whānau they have been working with. A big mihi to Vanessa, Eileen and Kahutane for their dedication to the Whānau Resilience kaupapa, we wish them well in the next leg of their journey.
At the end of May, the Mauri Ora team headed to Waikawa Marae for a hui with some of our beautiful Whānau Ora Navigators from Te Tauihu. It was a great day of whanaungatanga, building connections and sharing kai, as well as enjoying the beautiful Waikawa environment.