Whanau Orā News

Reunited with his love of carving


Carver, Ray Ngamotu hadn’t picked up a chisel in 20 years until he found help and support through Whānau Ora.

“I happened to be on this health and wellbeing course with Korowai Aroha. They were asking individual people, what do you want to do in the future to help your wellbeing,” he says.

“It was on that course that I met a wonderful man, Tracey Ormsby. It was him that put me onto [Whānau Ora Paearahi] Lorraine Hall because they were all in the same building.”

Ray (Te Arawa/ Ngāti Tuwharetoa) says it was his doctor that referred him to Korowai Aroha’s services.

“I’m diabetic, I have osteoarthritis in both feet. That’s what got me there. It was about health reasons to begin.

“But they’ve helped me move from what I used to be, not really anywhere, all my tools got stolen since then I’ve never carved until now through Whanau Ora.”

Having trained under Master Carver Tony Kapua at Ohinemutu for two decades, he taught at Awhina School in the 1980s.

“Then things fell apart,” Ray says.

“I had to get over the attitude of beating people up. I’m an old gangster, we’re hard men. “Meeting with Whānau Ora – you feel good when you have positive people around you.

They’ve helped me moving from what I used to be, not really anywhere, all my tools got stolen since and then I’ve never carved until now.”

Ray has been able to access carving tools and he says with commissioned work coming in and collaboration with the Coffin Club, he’s never been busier.

“Someone might come to me and say, ‘Our family wants a carving.’ I ask them to talk to me about their whānau, their  iwi, their hāpu. I can relate all that into the wood. They’re the storyteller, not me, I just relay it down,” he says.

“I was doing nothing for the last 20 years and all of the sudden things are moving. At that time, it was about the conversations I was having with Tracey Ormsby and and Lorraine Hall. I had none of this, without their help I wouldn’t be here,” Ray says.

“I’m happier now. I’m really happy to have met them. They support what I’m doing they come around and make sure I’m on the right track. That might sound negative to most people but that’s the inspiration I have needed to move forward.”

Why Te Arawa Whānau Ora Works

Te Arawa Whānau Ora has been successful because it ensures whānau are able to determine their own goals and are given positive support to achieve them. Te Arawa Whānau Ora will work with groups, whānau and individuals to support them to become successful.

Te Arawa Whānau Ora works because it puts whānau in the driver’s seat, they define their own goals and make their own decisions. Te Arawa Whānau Ora has helped thousands of whānau members over the last several years. If you would like to know more please contact us.

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