January 2018: Being able to connect with whānau who may need extra support and understanding was one of the main reasons why Shona Charteris wanted to become a paeārahi.
With a rich and diverse work background that ranged from a nurse aid through to working with shearing gangs, Shona says her empathetic nature has helped in her role with Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Pikiao (TRONP).
My job involves building a support system while advocating for whānau. I believe that we all have strengths and aspirations to build on. Navigating whānau pathways while inspiring them to believe in their dreams and chase them while in pursuit of Mauri Ora.”
Shona (Ngāti Whakaue, Te Roro o Te Rangi, Ngāti Tahu, Ngāti Whaoa, Ngāti Pikiao, Ngāti Whare, Ngāti Raukawa) had previously worked with Family Violence Prevention Services following her graduation as a social worker in 2015.
“This was a great learning space for me and I am sure that the change to paeārahi/ social worker role at TRONP is an even better space lead by the power of wairua.
“Things happen for a reason and the exciting part is finding out what lessons I learn. Reflective practice is important for my professional development,” she says.
Shona draws strength from being part of the Te Arawa Whānau Ora Collective.
“I have connected to collective paeārahi who strengthen each other with an understanding of supportive systems and empowerment. It is such a warm inviting atmosphere which my children also embrace,” she says.
“I enjoy the whānau space where we are empowering our own whānau supporting their unique strengths and allowing them to dream big or small without discrimination and labels. I enjoy working alongside like-minded professionals who are culturally respectful and non-discriminating. This services is focussed on outcomes and reaching whānau potential as leaders and role models. We have amazing staff who are extremely talented in many ways.”
Shona says being a paeārahi is more than just a job as each one of them “live and breathe the kaupapa” in supporting whānau.
“My aspirations for the whānau I work with is to do the best you can and never give up! Believe in yourself.”