Knowl­edge and net­works help wh¯anau

Selwyn and Ashburton Outlook - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS - ANNA PRICE

Hei Whakapiki Mauri, a Wha¯ nau Ora ini­tia­tive, is help­ing em­power peo­ple by bring­ing to­gether Ma¯ ori with dis­abil­i­ties and their wha¯ nau to awhi (help) each other to gain the con­fi­dence and knowl­edge to be Ma¯ ori first.

Ruth Jones and her hus­band Gary Williams, both Nga¯ ti Porou and both dis­abled, called a series of hui de­signed to em­power dis­abled Ma¯ori and their wha¯nau through knowl­edge and net­works.

‘‘It is first and fore­most about cel­e­brat­ing be­ing Ma¯ori and ex­plor­ing what that means for each in­di­vid­ual,’’ Ruth said.

‘‘We have a good life and for us, this is about pay­ing it for­ward.’’

The Christchurch cou­ple, who run Kanohi ki te Kanohi (Face to Face) Con­sul­tancy from home, saw a niche and sought fund­ing last year for a one year pi­lot pro­gram.

‘‘We were de­lighted to get Te Pu¯ tahi­tanga o Te Wai­pounamu sup­port and fund­ing,’’ Ruth said.

Te Pu¯tahi­tanga, the Wha¯nau Ora com­mis­sion­ing agency, will in­vest only in innovative ap­proaches to wha¯ nau trans­for­ma­tion which bring cred­i­ble out­comes.

He Whakapiki Mauri held its first Christchurch hui in Hal­swell in Septem­ber 2016, bring­ing to­gether dis­abled Ma¯ ori, wha¯ nau and sup­port peo­ple to korero (dis­cuss) what was im­por­tant to them.

The group can range from any­thing from five to 25-30 as aware­ness grows.

‘‘We’ve iden­ti­fied a real en­thu­si­asm for the project and what it might mean for some of our more iso­lated dis­abled wha¯ nau mem­bers.

‘‘We wanted to raise the mauri (a key com­po­nent to un­der­stand­ing wairu­atanga or Ma¯ ori spir­i­tu­al­ity) of Ma¯ ori with dis­abil­i­ties and bring them closer to­gether with their cul­ture and wha¯ nau,’’ Ruth said.

‘‘That’s why we chose the name.’’

The project was also about pay­ing it for­ward and giv­ing dis­abled Ma¯ori the knowl­edge and re­sources to be who they wanted to be, she said.

‘‘We want our dis­abled wha¯ nau to have great lives, to be strong, and to grow into lead­ers of oth­ers and in their own lives.

‘‘Hei Whakapiki Mauri is about re­sourc­ing wha¯nau to do this.’’

Whakawhanaun­gatanga (kin­ship, a sense of shared ex­pe­ri­ence and be­long­ing) was a key part of the Hal­swell hui.

‘‘At­ten­dees in­tro­duced them­selves and then ex­plored what was im­por­tant to them.

‘‘I’m not so con­cerned with ac­tiv­i­ties peo­ple do, but who they are and what they bring to the ta­ble,’’ Ruth said.

The other main strand along­side wha¯nau help­ing whanu is nav­i­ga­tor sup­port. Nav­i­ga­tor Waikura McGre­gor works in the field help­ing the dis­abled per­son nav­i­gate the sys­tem.

SUPPLIED

Some of the Hei Whakapiki Mauri team from left, nav­i­ga­tor Waikura McGre­gor, Kai­whaka­haere Ruth Jones, as­sis­tant Aimee Fowler and ad­min­is­tra­tor Shireen Spaull.

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