‘Judge [X] looked at the young man from the bench and said “I have been seeing you come before me for years and although I said that you would be looking at yet another jail term, I can see from the planning that you have done with Whānau Ora, that you have changed some things”.’

Last month, Rehua Marae was rocking with mass laughter, stories to bring a tear or two, presentations, waiata, and the buzz of busy minds as the team of Whānau Ora navigators from across Te Waipounamu came together for a two-day wānanga.

The navigator phenomenon is a relatively new concept in the work of Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu. We started with zero navigators in June 2015 and are now reaching up to 41 fulltime equivalents, with the July transfer of the five Rū Whenua kaitoko whānau moving from Te Puni Kōkiri to Whānau Ora. Another recent innovation has been Navigators-Tinana with a particular emphasis on fitness, sport, cultural activity and what might be generally called ‘healthy lifestyle’.

More often than not, whānau members actively seek the support of navigators where a point of crisis has already been reached within their whānau. These crisis points are frequently not the result of any one issue alone, but a point at which a confluence of issues has reached breaking point. Issues which commonly converge and snowball from one into another span health, justice, financial management, nutrition, social connectedness, smoking, drug abuse, whānau relationships, and housing.

More generally, these particular forms of support have developed the capabilities within whānau through:

  • On-going mentoring and advocacy
  • Building resilience of individuals with flow-on effects to the rest of the whānau
  • Inter-generational engagement, where whānau are supported to navigate the multiplicity of issues which span three generations of whānau members
  • Supporting whānau to articulate for themselves what their needs are and plan a pathway towards achieving their whānau goals.

The Whānau Ora navigators cover from Awarua and Hokonui in the South, to Motueka in the North; from within the embrace of Ngāti Waewae and Makaawhio in the West across to Koukourārata and Arowhenua in the East. For details about the navigator workforce, contact our Navigator Co-ordinator, Maire Kipa on [email protected] or phone 021 901 965.

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