I had better not say it too loudly in front of kaimahi, but getting out of the office and meeting kanohi ki te kanohi with the wide network of Whānau Ora partners across Te Waipounamu is one of my favourite parts of this job.

I wish I could do it more. It is one thing to ‘talk’ over email, read outcomes reports and organise contracts, and another to be there and hear with my own ears about the impact each partner is making in their rohe.

This week, I navigated the weather and Ka Tiritiri-o-te-Moana to meet with partners in Te Tai Poutini and Te Tauihu. On the journey home, which is always a chance to collate my notes and collect my thoughts, I thought about how much each of the now 154-strong network of Whānau Ora Navigators throughout Te Waipounamu are doing in their communities. I have always known and appreciated that their work runs deep as they navigate the myriad of issues for whānau and in a way that allows whānau to keep their mana intact.

But I want to acknowledge that on top of what we see in reporting (as we continue to have to do to prove our worth to successive governments), Whānau Ora Navigators do so much more, and this often goes unseen. To hear the stories at the source brings home the importance of also acknowledging that Whānau Ora is not – and will never – fit tidily into a box.

I feel immensely proud of this support network that has been created together over almost a decade. The 70 partners that lie at the heart of Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu are also a lifeforce in their own communities. Next week, I look forward to meeting with our partners in Te Tai Tonga. In the meantime, I’d like to remind partners that my door is always open if ever they are in Ōtautahi. Come in for a kōrero, the kettle is always on.

When I returned to the office, I realised that being there was pretty good, too. A card and flowers from kaimahi celebrating my one-year anniversary as Pouārahi was touching, and a reminder that whether it is a Whānau Ora Navigator, whānau, or colleagues, it is always nice to have someone lookout for you.


Connecting kaumātua

Over a decade ago, Te Puna Oranga initiated Kaumātua Lunches, with a genuine desire to support and foster connections among our beloved kaumātua who may have been experiencing isolation in the aftermath of the Christchurch earthquakes.

Today, these lunches have become the much-anticipated social highlight for kaumātua living in Ōtautahi, providing a great opportunity to mingle with others over delicious kai and music. Read more about this heartwarming kaupapa here.

Nau mai, Lizzie

A warm welcome to Lizzie Cook, who started in the Mana Ora team this week as a Reporting and Policy Assistant. Lizzie brings with her extensive experience and knowledge. Prior to her most recent role teaching at secondary school level, Lizzie worked for Statistics New Zealand and before that at Te Whare Wānanga o Waitaha. Lizzie is also an accomplished singer and songwriter, which will be helpful when we are learning new waiata! Nau mai, Lizzie, we are looking forward to working with you and getting to know you.

Aroā screening event

Head to our website to register your interest for the next Aroā cervical screening event, to be held in Ōtautahi on Saturday, September 2. The Aroā events are free of charge and are designed to host wāhine and tangata Māori in a welcoming and non-judgemental space. The Expressions of Interest form is here and must be completed by August 28, 2023. Be in quick as spaces will be limited.

Mokopuna Ora wānanga

Last week, Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu had the pleasure of hosting a two-day wānanga for Mokopuna Ora Connectors. Thirteen connectors from across Te Waipounamu came together to share, look at new strategies and tools, and learn from one another.

The first day focused on new and traditional hauora modalities, with the Connectors hearing from Associate Director of Midwifery at Christchurch Women’s Hospital, Kathleen Maki, and osteopaths specialising in Māmā and pēpi. Emma Fairs, the co-programme lead at Ara, and Amanda Veidma-Dodds, a private midwifery practitoner also presented in the morning. The afternoon saw Māori midwives, Amellia Kapa and Dr Kelly Tikao, discuss how to support hapū Māmā and pēpi hauora using the traditional Māori practice of mirimiri and oriori.  Amellia introduced the Connectors to a pilot programme she is running at Te Arateatea for hapū Māmā (see more on that below). The first day ended with a mindfulness session with Erica Veidma, Director of Mindfulness in Schools, Ōtautahi.

Day two saw the Connectors strenghthening their knowledge of the First 2000 days for Pēpi and the STOP services programme, which supports kaimahi, teachers and community practioners through the provision of  sexual violence awareness training.

It was a really valuable wānanga and we would like to once again thank all the Mokopuna Ora Connectors and Whānau Ora partners for their time and willingness to share and learn.

Opportunity for hāpū Māmā

Rātā Foundation is supporting Te Arateatea Whare Hauora to tautoko around 45 young wāhine and their whānau with rongoā Māori, at no cost as part of its Oriori Programme: Rongoā Māori – Hapūtanga & Post-Birth. Romiromi/mirimiri treatment will commence at 28 weeks’ gestation, increasing in frequency to support Māmā and pēpi as they prepare for birth. The journey is then resumed around six weeks post-birth to facilitate healing, recovery, and supporting the tinana to return to a state of noa. Note that criteria do apply. For further details see the flyer or email oriori@tearateatea.com