This story is one in a series profiling the eleven finalists in the inaugural E Tū Whānau Ann Dysart Kahukura Award 2022 which recognises and celebrates inspirational community leadership.
E Tū Whānau kahukura are those people who support, encourage and strengthen whānau by modelling values, behaviours and actions that are positive ‘footprints’ that can be followed.
Kotahitanga is at the heart of Ngā Iwi o Mōkai Pātea Services Trust. This small health and social services NGO has had an outsized impact on the close knit community of Taihape and its surrounding rohe since it was set up eight years ago as a partnership between four local rūnanga with strong connections and shared aspirations for whānau.
The four iwi represented by the rūnanga are Ngāti Whitikaupeka, Ngāti Tamakōpiri, Ngāi Te Ohuake and Ngāti Hauiti. Together they work to achieve autonomy and self-determination for whānau and hapū based upon the customary values and beliefs of their respective tūpuna. These include a remarkable series of twelve innovative and transformational E Tū Whānau-supported wānanga, each of which built on the creativity of kaimahi and feedback from participants.
Ngā Iwi o Mokai Patea Services Trust – wānanga leading change for whānau
In 2019, Mokai Patea Services ran a pilot wānanga in conjunction with Taupō-based E Tū Whānau practitioners, Te Kakano Consultants. It was a huge success. The following year, two kaimahi who went through that course attended the next series of wānanga. They learnt how to run their own wānanga and use the E Tū Whānau values and kaupapa to inform and enhance their everyday mahi. Building connections with whānau, listening to what they want and designing services to suit those specific needs became their hallmark. They now run their own wānanga which they call E Tū Mokai Patea.
These wānanga have helped whānau develop tools and strategies to understand outmoded and unhelpful patterns of behaviour and to heal intergenerational trauma. Importantly, they encourage whānau to embed actions that promote day to day lives free from all forms of violence that are transgressions of whakapapa.
Mokai Patea Services places a strong emphasis on the ongoing professional, personal, and cultural upskilling of its kaimahi. Theirs is a culture of unity and teamwork that ensures the intergenerational transfer of knowledge and skills. It embodies their moemoeā.
Their dream is to move their people out of “Te Pō and into Te Ao Marama”, to build esteem and worth, and to support whānau to become strong, resilient, and well-functioning. By welcoming E Tū Whānau actions into their marae, homes, and workplaces Mokai Patea kaimahi are turning this moemoeā into reality. They’re demonstrating to the hapū and whānau that they love and serve that they’re all in it together and that they’re there for as long as it takes to succeed.
Read about the learning journey of Kim Eriksen-Downes of Te Kakano Consultants.