December 2015: The focus of Tāne Takitu Ake is about Māori men supporting Māori men with high health and social needs to reach their potential. Korowai Aroha, which delivers the programme, believes the answer lies in a return to cherishing, honouring and sheltering the whānau unit.
Lester came to the programme after hearing from his doctor, that he possibly only had a short time left to live, words that changed his life's path forever.
"After the specialist spoke to me, I came home and had a kōrero with my wife, we knew we had to make a change, and it had to be now", explains Lester, a father and Rotorua local. Thankfully he was put in touch with Korowai Aroha, one of seven Māori organisations working within the Te Arawa Whānau Ora Collective, and began this new journey.
The aim of the programme Lester joined is about supporting tāne to strengthen four key aspects of their health; whānau (family health), tinana (physical health), hinengaro (mental health) and wairua (spiritual health), so that they may realise and solidify their role in their whānau and in the greater community.
We learned so much in such a short time. We got advice on how to stay healthy, what foods helped give us strength and what to avoid. The workshops didn't take long and it was easy to fit them into your day."
Focus is on health and fitness but a key part of the programme is about planning and helping tāne set goals and create a plan to achieve them.
"We created our Whānau Ora plan, which was set over 5 years. We then broke it down into smaller, easier to achieve steps. What was great about the programme is they don't push you, they don't whakaiti you, they encourage you to change your old habits and venture out."
A lack of confidence and whakamā is something that Lester points out can be the greatest challenge.
"It's easy to get stuck in a rut and sit on the couch all day. Not having the confidence to make real change can be the biggest hurdle, being stubborn doesn't help either."
Tim Ryan who helps run this innovative initiative paid tribute to Lester saying "we had the poroporoaki recently and his wife could not speak more highly of him… he was quite shy to begin with and was dealing with multiple issues which he is currently working on. He was the first participant to complete 100% of the sessions throughout the 10 weeks and for his effort, was given a special award".
Today, Lester is a transformed man, his diet has changed, "I used to eat meat and potatoes every day, now it's salads, veges, all of it". His fitness has also taken centre stage, "I'm at the gym almost everyday now, I love it, another great thing about the programme is you get a short-term gym membership after you finish - that's me, I'm renewing mine!"
Tāne Takitu Ake at a Glance
- 86 tāne have entered the programme
- 51% of tāne after the ten weeks, had improvements in their waist circumference measurement. An indication of significant health outcomes.
- 43% of the tāne had lost weight
- 46% had improved their diabetes status.
- 81% of the tāne had prepared a Pathway Plan
- 43% of the tāne went onto have referrals completed to other organisations, at the end of the programme.
About Korowai Aroha
Korowai Aroha is one of seven Māori Providers that form the Te Arawa Whānau Ora Collective. They are a kaupapa Māori Health Provider and offer both medical and community services.
- For more information please contact Tracey Ormsby at 07 348 8454 Ext: 222
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 over 1500 individual whānau members over the last year. If you would like to know more please contact us.