November 2016: Over the year we have seen whānau overcome challenges with amazing success. These transformative experiences have revealed new paths, affirmed existing strengths and enhanced the positive and collective nature of these journeys. E ngā whānau katoa, kei te mihi , kei te mihi.
In particular we have seen the power of planning and the effect that has had on our rangatahi.
In early February 2016, we met Rawiri who lived with his large whānau near the Pā at Otukawa. For Rawiri, matauranga was the key which was driving him to complete his Masters Degree.
“My whānau, hapū, iwi and marae mean everything to me. They have shaped who I am and who I want to be."
For Rawiri, knowing the whakapapa and kōrero of the lands his ancestors walked on was critical to the successful development of his whānau, hapū and marae. Rawiri was able to make a plan which involved getting his license while preparing for his PhD.
In March we shared the story of Sherina, a mum to 5 young tamariki. Sherina was facing the challenge of finding a new place to live while living in a new city. Sherina was able to make a plan, understand her skills and how to use them to complete key goals, one of which was about being strong and independent.
“My dreams for my whānau are for us to become financially independent and not reliant on government assistance. I’ve already begun my journey to becoming a Social Worker."
Autumn arrives when we next came across Taratahi and Kahukowhai who were being supported and cared for by their Nanny Kirikowhai. The girls have been studying hard and working towards the goal of working in the agriculture sector. Te Arawa Whānau Ora helped them make a plan so they could find the right pathway to making that happen.
The following month we met Awhina who had moved to Rotorua to start a new life for her precious tamariki. After years of abuse Awhina made the brave decision to leave. With a plan in hand, Awhina was able to create actionable goals she could achieve.
With help and counseling Awhina was able to draw support from her paearahi who gave her a friendly person to talk to. Awhina's goal is to be independent and she is working on her dream of opening a beauty salon and is now studying to make her dream a reality.
Next we met Karanga who was 24 and still living at home. She wanted to become independent and moving out of home was an important goal. Karanga also wanted to work with young people.
After developing a detailed plan, Karanga with the support of her paearahi was able to move out of home and began work as a netball coach for a well-respected sports academy.
In September we were introduced to Aroha and Travis, who were struggling to care for their 3 tamariki all under the age of four. Aroha was exhausted and finding it difficult to breastfeed so many pēpē. With the support of Te Arawa Whānau Ora, Aroha and Travis were able to make a simple plan of what they needed and how they were going to achieve those goals.
As a result, Aroha was able to source a breast pump allowing Travis to help with the feedings.
“The simple act of being able to use a pump was huge”, explains Aroha. “It meant that I could have more then a few hours of sleep because now Travis could help feed our babies.”
Clearly the sense of relief the couple felt has been profound, these small changes helped give them the strength they needed to continue to care for their tamariki and importantly look to the future.
Since making a plan and getting the tautoko they needed, Travis has been able to get on a trade training course and is hoping to work in the construction industry.
Last month we met Amanda whose journey with Te Arawa Whānau Ora journey began after she found the power to leave a violent 7-year relationship and return home to New Zealand.
“I wanted better for my children, I wanted a place to keep them safe, so came home to start again, but it was so much harder than I expected”, explained 28 year old Amanda, who looked to find stability in a small rural community.
Things began to unravel, living far from the nearest town the family struggled to pay their bills, and there was little left over for essentials.
“The support we got helped our family get over a hurdle and even better it gave us the skills we will need to get over the next bump in the road when it comes. It gave us faith in ourselves. We will be forever thankful for this small token of hope.”
What is clear from these stories, is that given support and given the tools to plan for the future, whānau, despite significant challenges are able to achieve their goals. What seems different is that these goals are self-developed, it's whānau who determine what they want. What the providers within the Te Arawa Whānau Ora Collective do is give whānau the expert guidance they want and need.