December 2015: "To help our whānau to have dreams and goals, to watch them as they put a plan in place and achieve those goals, it's inspiring", says Ms Watt, a mum to four and nanny to seven.
Over the years, Ms Watt has seen how important working as a team is, not just for physical health but for overall well-being. Ms Watt and her partner, Maurice, have been deeply involved in sport and have taken on both coaching and management roles. As a result, she has seen firsthand the benefit of working together, being on the same page and sharing similar goals and aspirations.
"Health and wellbeing play a huge role in our lives, we've passed the love of sport on to our whānau and love seeing when they achieve. It's showed me that the Tuakana Teina model works perfectly within the Whānau Ora space."
Laurie and Maurice are most proud of their children and mokopuna. Growing up they were active in a mix of school and sports. Touch and netball being their passions. Laurie's eldest son, a qualified builder, has been a NZ Touch Black player for the last 11 years, while her youngest son, a personal trainer, also represents New Zealand as a Touch Black and has done so for the past 5 years. Laurie's eldest daughter was also a high achiever in netball and touch, however an injury saw the need to choose a new direction, she went on to receive a diploma in Business Management majoring in Human Resources. Their youngest daughter plays netball and touch and is a current member of the BOP U15 Mixed representative team.
Seeing potential in our rangatahi led to my sons and their dad forming a team to help develop, mentor and encourage our young people to strive for the stars. The fact that they are leading by example and supporting others to reach their dreams is what we always wanted for them."
"To me these are all wonderful examples of Whānau Ora, supporting, encouraging, giving belief to others of their potential and helping them to achieve to the highest."
But for Laurie, it's not just enough to support whānau, the right kind of support is critical. Laurie believes that whānau deserve respect and that given the chance they know what is right for them and have the skills needed to become strong and resilient.
"It's important for me, to make sure that our whānau are not only heard but importantly helped by the right people, people who believe in them."
This Rotorua local has a colourful background which is rich in both education and work experiences. She has worked as a real estate agent, has been a postie and helped her partner as a courier driver.
"It was when I became an office administrator that I began to find a new path", says Ms Watt, "From there I moved on to positions as a funding officer, health promoter, special projects and event managed the Te Arawa Rangatahi Achievers and Sports Awards.
To better understand the health sector in which Ms Watt found herself, she also completed a certificate and diploma in Hauora Māori and most recently received a Certificate of Achievement in Child Protection Studies Programme.
"To see the look of hope on their faces, the smiles of appreciation, the belief that they can achieve whatever goals they set themselves... priceless."
About Korowai Aroha
Korowai Aroha is one of seven Māori providers that form the Te Arawa Whānau Ora Collective.