Taupō based Te Hāpori Ora – The Village of Wellbeing is an innovative, te ao Māori model of personal and community development. Its kaupapa is to nurture the potential in everyone who comes within its orbit.
Te Hāpori Ora members are indigenous practitioners of wellbeing. They’re determined to ‘be the change’ they want to see in their whānau and communities. Violence of any kind, be it physical, spiritual, psychological, or social, is a violation of whakapapa and, as such, is simply unacceptable to them.
Most came to the kaupapa via their own journeys of change. These involved healing personal and cultural trauma, and deep immersion in tikanga, kōrero and wairua.
Te Hāpori Ora chair, Manaia Cuthbert, was looking at a prison sentence when he first encountered the kaupapa seven years ago.
“There was a lot of family history that I didn’t know. Learning about it explained some of the anger inside me and helped me to heal while acknowledging that what happened is still a part of me.”Manaia Cuthbert
Many Te Hāpori Ora members have, like Manaia, graduated from Tāne Ora and Wāhine Ora wānanga designed and facilitated by Brendon and Kim Eriksen-Downs.
“Our people are committed to living their best lives. They’re on the move and they’re bringing others with them,” says Kim.
She and Brendon are experienced indigenous practitioners working in the fields of family harm, whānau and hapū development and co-design with communities. To support this mahi, Kim recently completed He Waka Hiringa (Master of Applied Indigenous Knowledge) through Te Wānanga o Aotearoa.
Other members of the group are whānau Tūwharetoa who have seen for themselves the positive effect the kaupapa is having on their communities. There’s a rangatahi forum too. It’s called Taumata Hiringa, or Heightened States of Consciousness, and its members work hard to live up to its powerful name.
Together they are growing a kaupapa based on kotahitanga, manaakitanga and piringa (shelter) that uses wānanga and whanaungatanga – natural healthy human relationships – to influence and support those around them.
Te Hāpori Ora is supported by the E Tū Whānau team at the Ministry of Social Development and its iwi counterpart, Tūwharetoa Maranga Ra, or Making a Stand within Tūwharetoa.
Read how Kim Eriksen-Downs developed Te Hapori Ora while Kim studied He Waka Hiringa (Master of Applied Indigenous Knowledge)