January 2015: We wanted to take time to look at one powerful Whānau Ora journey we shared in 2014 to examine both achievements and challenges, in the hope that we might learn how to make the changes we most want in our lives and in the lives of our whānau.
One of the most shared stories we posted on our Facebook page detailed the journey of Hotorene Brown (Ngāti Pikiao, Ngāti Whakaue) who at the age of 37 was told that if he didn't change his lifestyle his three young sons would grow up without him. That very real possibility had a dramatic affect on Hotorene's life and put him on a path that would see him challenged, exhausted but ultimately empowered and healthier then he's ever been in his life.
Hotorene developed his Whānau Ora plan with the support of Te Arawa Whānau Ora after realising that he could no longer ignore his health issues.
Hotorene has now come full circle, is off all his medication and has become an inspiration not only to his friends but to his partner and sons. Importantly, he and his partner have set a foundation for their sons based on eating healthy foods and exercising regularly - values that will no doubt stay with them throughout their lives.
Hotorene now is focused on powerlifting and just recently competed. He is also focused on doing Crossfit and completed a Crossfit competition over the weekend.
"I'm totally focused on a complete Whānau Ora lifestyle" explains Hotorene. "I'll be 40 next year and want to register for IronMāori and take on a variety of sporting kaupapa."
What we can see from this powerful story is that it required Hotorene to reflect on his life to determine what changes needed to happen. Developing his Whānau Ora plan helped do this. It helped him determine for himself the steps needed to change his situation, changes that have had a huge impact on his life and the life of his whānau.