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Whanau Ora Minister launches new health and addition service

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

New kaupapa Māori mental health and addiction services being launched by the Minister for Whānau Ora in Rotorua is an aspirational and cultural approach to wellness.

Hon. Peeni Henare at Lake Ōkareka launched the Poutama Ora strategy where Te Arawa Whānau Ora will deliver two new programmes - Ngā Kaihautū and Mango Tū looking to connect directly with Whānau raising their individual and collective capacities.

Te Arawa Whānau Ora Chair, Hon. Te Ururoa Flavell, supports services that are about opening doors and growing leaders through reconnecting and revitalising cultural imperatives and a strong sense of identity. The services are grounded in kaupapa Māori principles and practices, Te Reo Māori, skilled in tikanga, Whakapapa recognition and steeped in Mātauranga Māori.

The Ngā Kaihautū programme is a specific approach that empowers tāne (men) to steer their own waka by finding solutions of strength to guide themselves through the waters of life. The group programme aims to support tāne by connecting them back to their Māoritanga and reclaiming their identity.

Complimentary to the Ngā Kaihautū programme, the Mango Tū programme for Rangatahi (youth) is to support them to create aspirations for a prosperous future, not only for themselves but their whānau as well.

Hon. Te Ururoa Flavell says that Whanau Ora staff and partners will support whānau with their health and wellness goals, encourage and motivate whānau to self-manage their health needs, and navigate them towards better health outcomes and to reach their potential - whatever that may look like.

"Health needs may include - but are not limited to - mental health, addictions, long-term conditions, nutrition, physical activity, pain management, health literacy, pregnancy, and quit smoking. These are all issues that can prevent whānau from taking care of their health and wellness, so it’s important for Te Arawa Whānau Ora to provide quality programmes, underpinned by mātauranga Māori to help enrich the lives of our people," says Hon. Te Ururoa Flavell.

Te Arawa Whānau Ora CEO, Paora Te Hurihanganui says that paeārahi will walk alongside whānau to develop aspirational plans, set visions and goals, and support them to achieve their intended outcomes, while ensuring an integrated approach across the wider network to provide appropriate support that responds to the needs of whānau.

He says "The programme also supports partnerships to integrate important therapies such as the Rongoā services, available through Korowai Aroha and TÅ«wharetoa Health, for all whānau free of charge. Rongoā is a crucial part of Māori understanding and practice of holistic wellbeing by reintroducing whānau to the potential of ‘knowing oneself on all levels".

Te Arawa Whānau Ora staff and partners are honoured to have Minister Henare launch this national strategy here in Te Arawa. Some lead up work to the launch has included a pilot men’s group. Lead by Te Arawa Whānau Ora senior health coach Kevin Pahina.

Kevin says that this particular pilot group of 11 tāne have grown together and improved more than he imagined and have been the catalyst to base the upcoming Nga Kaihautu and Mango Tū programmes upon.

One of the participating tāne, Sam Runga, has navigated his way through Te Arawa Whānau Ora's Manu Tāpiki and Whaimua respiratory rehabilitation programmes. Sam has benefited from his Whānau Ora journey.

"I enrolled in the men’s group to further my hauora hÄ«koi. I was especially keen to learn about Māoritanga and do traditional kowhaiwhai. It's a more calming and healthier alternative to help me deal with my deepest emotions and get through the day," Sam says.

Growing up in the Hawkes Bay in a gang-affiliated whānau, Sam was no stranger to violence. The effects of his traumatic upbringing continued to torment him throughout adulthood, where he battled with anger, addiction and depression.

By the time he met Te Arawa Whānau Ora paeārahi, Kevin Pahina, he was ready to turn his life around for the sake of his children. While Sam admits there are moments where he still struggles to control his anger, he is now equipped with strategies to help him calm down.

"I'm still unlearning the bad stuff I was brought up with, but the programme changes mindsets and habits. Passion from my younger days was reignited through waka and getting healthy and fit again. I know that no matter what life throws at me now, I can get through anything. My lessons in life need to be passed on. If I can help just one person, that's something isn't it?"

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