June 2017: “I thought this would be a good opportunity to succession plan people into learning about how paeārahi (Whānau Ora workers) can help,” Leanne says, a paeārahi herself.
“We inducted around that first, around the manaakitanga, looking after the mana of the whānau. I didn’t advertise, I knew whānau I was able to work with”, explains Leanne.
Leanne chose four women, Tuia Pedersen, Sasha Karauna, Rhonda Speers and Queenie Martin. All were young mothers who shared the traits which were needed for the job.
“They had to be professional and keep things confidential. They had to be knowledgeable of the whānau who live here, have some connection to them, to be mature with the ability to make their own judgements on how to approach whānau.”
For Tuia it’s been an enjoyable change from her former work.
“It’s different to what I’m used to. I’ve been working in hospitality for most of my life but since I’ve been back home I’ve been working at the school and kōhanga,” she says.
The flexibility around their tamariki was important to Leanne as well as Whānau Ora.
“It’s horrible to see so many of our whānau live in damp, cold homes. When we approach them they’re so thankful, even though we haven’t done anything yet. But for me personally, I like helping people. The well-being of our kaumātua is as important as that of our babies,” Rhonda says.
“It’s been amazing working for my community”, she says, humbled by the opportunity.