March 2015 Sometimes the time comes when you have to allow the kindness you have shared with others to be returned to you in a way that respects your values and tikanga.
Rewa and Tamehana have spent a lifetime giving tautoko to others and recently returned home after 40 years outside the rohe.
Coming back also meant starting anew. The couple knew they needed tautoko but they weren't sure what Whānau Ora was, and couldn't see how it might be able to help.
The couple was connected with Te Arawa Whānau Ora Collective, a group of 8 health and social service providers working within the Te Arawa rohe to help whānau create detailed plans which will help families achieve the goals they set for themselves.
This way of doing things appealed to Rewa and Tamehana who have always been staunchly independent, they didn't want a handout, what they wanted, was a better way to take care of themselves.
How Te Arawa Whānau Ora Works
Explaining how Te Arawa Whānau Ora works became the first step. Their Paearahi (expert support navigator) explained that Whānau Ora wasn't a benefit, it was a way to help whānau become resilient, strong and work to their strengths.
Importantly, Te Arawa Whānau Ora doesn't work by telling people what to do, it works by having each whānau determine for themselves what is important and decide what changes they want to make in their lives.
"We knew we had the answers, we knew what we wanted to achieve, we just needed some tautoko to get there. Te Arawa Whānau Ora worked for us because they respected our opinions and decisions", says Rewa.
The couple, who just recently celebrated their 53rd wedding anniversary, have raised six children and are now proud grandparents to 13 mokopuna, 3 mokopuna tuarua and 2 mokopuna tuatoru. Throughout that time, they have always taken care of their own.
"We've worked hard all our lives", explains Rewa, "we've owned our own businesses and have worked for others, but most importantly, we've always looked after ourselves, our children and our mokopuna."
Whānau Determining their own Goals
Rewa and Tamehana soon began to work with their Paearahi to examine their goals.
- Tamehana had recently begun to really feel the cold and the fact that their whare was only partially insulated didn't help matters. As a result ensuring that their whare was warm and dry before winter became a major priority.
- The couple also wanted to find a way to keep Tamehana active in a way that allowed him to contribute meaningfully to the household, a goal which was particularly important to him.
- Because Rewa is adamant that Tamehana shouldn't go into care, a sentiment that he too shares, she has committed herself to getting fitter and to focus on her health, to ensure she can continue to care for Tamehana.
Raising to the Challenge
The first step was to get their house insulated. Te Arawa Whānau Ora has strong links to the community and through a local community scheme was able to get the house fully insulated for no cost. To ensure the couple stay warm, a load of firewood which will last the winter was delivered to the house too.
"As soon as the insulation went in we felt the whole house dry up, no more damp! We're looking forward to staying warm and dry over the winter", says Rewa.
Finding a way to keep Tamehana active was the next objective. The couple identified their large section as an area which he could attend to. If Tamehana could have the means to care for their section, this would allow him to keep active, contribute to the household and save the considerable putea. The couple was presented with a sturdy lawn mower and essential gardening tools.
Most importantly, Rewa has been put in touch with support which can assist her to reach her health goals to ensure she remains strong and active.
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 worked for Rewa and Tamehana because it put them in the driver's seat, they defined their own goals and made their own decisions. As a result, they will be warmer, healthier and less stressed while facing future challenges with greater strength and resilience.
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.