Sometimes when you don't know where to look, you find yourself guided towards something important, call it random or the gentle hand of your tupuna or a higher power, what it does, is gives you the awhi and kaha you need to push forward.
For the Downs whānau finding Te Arawa Whānau Ora was just like that.
Tania, a mum of 4, had moved to Rotorua with her partner, Tahu from Auckland and the whānau was finding it tough to settle in.
"We really struggled when we first got here", explains Tania. "The kids were unhappy and we felt isolated and alone".
Luckily a whānau member suggested to Tania to get support through Te Waiariki Purea Trust, a member of the Te Arawa Whānau Ora Collective, a group of 8 health and social service providers working within the Te Arawa rohe to help whānau dream and make plans to make those dreams a reality.
The goals the Downs whānau had were focused on providing stability for their children. Their daughter needed a job, Tahu did too, along with a drivers license. Importantly, they needed to get the kids settled into the community and into their schools.
When families begin their Te Arawa Whānau Ora journey, they are asked to dream and determine what their goals are.
Based on these dreams, the whānau work with their Paearahi to develop a visual map (like the graphic on the left) that details, the steps they need to take to achieve their goals.
Whānau are asked to reflect on what challenges or tensions that might prevent them from completing each step. Importantly they, are asked to think about the strengths they possess, the things that make them strong, and work out how best to use those skills to push forward and reach their goals.
This planning stage was completely new to Tania and her whānau. "We've never made a plan like this before. I remember ages ago a preacher talking about people needing a plan to move forward in life, but I've never done anything like this before."
After working with their Paearahi at Te Waiariki Purea Trust, the whānau began to make big changes in their lives, it wasn't easy, but it has been incredibly rewarding.
"Our whānau is happy!" exclaims Tania, "we are talking more. The girls have jobs, Tahu has a job. The boys are happy! Our whanau is just HAPPY. We have taken in a beautiful whāngai pepe which has been lovely for the family too".
The family is now looking beyond the day to day and hope to open their own recycling business in the future.
Te Arawa Whānau Ora has helped support over 1400 individual whānau members complete Whānau Ora plans. If you would like to find out more, please get in touch by calling 07 213 1995 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.