Trust founder brings mes­sage to Bel­gium

CHB Mail - - News -

Au­gust 14, 2000 will for­ever be etched in the hearts and minds of Kelly Makoare’s par­ents and wha¯ nau.

He was just 15 years old when he com­mit­ted suicide. And while the pain will never leave his par­ents Zack and Ge­orgina, they have chan­nelled their grief into of­fer­ing sup­port and help to those, who too are go­ing through dif­fi­cult times.

“I think the se­cret for us as a family, as op­posed to griev­ing for our son, was ac­tu­ally do­ing some­thing about it to sup­port oth­ers in that area of grief and help­less­ness,” Makoare said.

The softly spo­ken fa­ther re­mem­bers his son as a “bright eyed and so­cia­ble boy who was re­ally loved by his com­mu­nity”. Although, if he could change any­thing, Makoare says he would have taken the op­por­tu­nity to talk about his son’s feel­ings.

It is this which Makoare be­lieves is the key to pre­vent­ing suicide.

“Our com­mu­nity needs to be mo­bilised to sup­port one an­other, and young peo­ple needed to be taught to talk about, and man­age, their feel­ings. We need bet­ter for our grand­chil­dren and I think our son would be very proud know­ing that we’ve done that.”

In 2007 the cou­ple founded Te Taitimu Trust — Turn­ing the Tide. Over the years they have hosted many camps at Te Aute Col­lege for hun­dreds of Ma¯ ori and Paci­fika ran­gatahi in con­junc­tion with the Depart­ment of Con­ser­va­tion, Min­istry of Agri­cul­ture and Fish­eries, NZ Po­lice, Wa­ter Safety NZ, and the Univer­sity of Otago’s Depart­ment of Phys­i­cal Ed­u­ca­tion.

Later this month, Makoare will speak in Bel­gium at the 17 an­nual Euro­pean Sym­po­sium on Suicide and Sui­ci­dal Be­hav­iour — an im­por­tant step to un­der­stand­ing what other coun­tries do. He has been spon­sored by men­tal health cam­paigner Mike King, Nga¯ ti Kahun­gunu, Uni­son and Te Rau Mata­tini and will be joined by his wife and a trustee.

“The op­por­tu­nity to ex­plore, lis­ten to, talk about and to en­gage with no­tions of suicide at this par­tic­u­lar level, will be of im­mense ben­e­fit to me and the work that I am com­mit­ted to.

“There will be sig­nif­i­cant op­por­tu­ni­ties to ex­plore this phe­nom­ena from a sci­en­tific per­spec­tive, a clin­i­cal per­spec­tive, a cul­tural per­spec­tive, dig­i­tal in­no­va­tion per­spec­tive and many other con­texts that im­pact on us here in Aotearoa. It is my in­ten­tion to share our in­dige­nous [Ma¯ ori] story and make con­nec­tions to other peo­ples; mi­nori­ties, in­dige­nous and the op­pressed.”

Their model of health is based on Pro­fes­sor Ma­son Durie’s te whare tapa wha model of health.

“For our peo­ple we are purely fo­cused on well­ness as op­posed to un­well­ness and util­is­ing our en­vi­ron­ment, like the sea and bush as part of ther­apy.”

Te Taitimu’s first camp was in 2007. “It was just about be­ing there for the young ones and we re­alised ther­apy is Tan­garoa — the sea it­self. I reckon a lot of our kids who are in de­pres­sion need to be spend­ing time at the beach, spend­ing time in the sun, in the wind. Th­ese are the in­ter­ven­tions we should be do­ing.”

Be­fore head­ing over­seas, he will be speak­ing at this year’s LifeKeep­ers Award. Last year, he was recog­nised with the Supreme Na­tional LifeKeep­ers Award for Suicide Pre­ven­tion.

PHOTO / FILE

Te Taitimu Trust founder Zack Makoare will speak at the Euro­pean Sym­po­sium on Suicide and Sui­ci­dal Be­hav­iour in Bel­gium this month.

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