September 2014: Like so many with young families she had little experience of how to run a household. For a while, she made the best of it but decided what she needed most was to go home and surround herself and her tamariki with supportive and loving whānau.
It was the strength Marama gained from returning home that gave her the motivation to make serious changes in her life, saying "I needed to change, get real, and be responsible. My dream has always been to be the best role model, best mother for my children."
Marama had heard of Whānau Ora and having grown up surrounded by tikanga Māori knew that Whānau Ora was something she could connect and relate to.
One of the first steps in the Te Arawa Whānau Ora journey is to dream and Marama took time to do just that. She mapped out her goals for creating a better future for her babies and they were, to get financially stable so she could get a home for her and her children and enroll in a full time course while getting active and fit.
Being able to see her goals on paper made them seem not so big, importantly she took time to work out what might get in the way of those goals and how to overcome any potential hurdles.
"I started walking through the Redwoods 3 times a week, drew up a healthy eating plan and changed the shopping list, doing Zumba in my sister’s lounge and playing volleyball on Mondays was awesome too!"
To date Marama has become fitter and now lost over 15kgs, but her health wasn't the only thing that changed, Marama soon began her course and now just loves thinking about what the future holds, explaining, "it's helped to give me confidence that I could achieve the goals I was setting for myself."
Key to Marama's journey has been the guidance her paeārahi (navigator) gave in walking with her through her whānau plan and helping her work out the best way to work towards her goals. "Developing my Whānau Ora plan was just so important, it meant I could see what I needed to do, work out my strengths and how to use those skills move forward".
"I'm just so much happier, my babies are happier, I just love this journey."