Hero photograph
Whaea Diana Peita and Matua Waata in front of the Marae

Working Together To Achieve Better Health Outcomes

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Ehara I taku toa te toa takitahi, engari he toa takitini ke’ My strength is not the strength of one, but the strength of many!

The Lower North Island Synod manages a building in Waitangirua, Porirua East that is tenanted by Maraeroa Marae Health Clinic. The organisation renewed their tenancy in December 2022 and along with the signed lease agreement, Clinic CEO Simon Phillips sent a message that says, “Thank you for your ongoing support with the work that we are providing to our families and communities in Porirua. Our Covid-19 Vaccination Clinic dispensed over 7,500 doses of vaccines from our marae. This has been achieved through the support of services like yours. We could not have done this on our own so thank you.” We report on a rental agreement that is proving to be beneficial for the local community and the Synod.

The building, known as Whare Hauora, Tuarua, is located next door to the Maraeroa Marae, Ukaipoa Hiato ki Nga hau e wha, and is used as a clinic to offer a range of services to the community. Ian Harris, Property Secretary for the Lower North Island Synod says, “Although this is not directly a Methodist enterprise, as Simon notes, we are facilitating the work that they do in the high needs area of Porirua East.”

Simon says, “The Hauora has had a lot of opportunities to form formal and informal relationships with many service providers and agencies across Porirua. Te Whare Hauora, Tuarua, has enabled us to awhi, manaaki, tautoko and facilitate some important hui that enable services to come together to strengthen the whaiora, their whanau and their hapori. I learnt early on in my tenure at this Hauora that the whaiora and whanau that we awhi, manaaki, and tautoko need more than we have to offer. We need to work together as a hapori / community if we want to make a difference.”

The health services mission statement is “Ka ora te whanau, ka ora te Iwi - strengthening our whanau / strengthening our community”. Simon says, “Our funding is targeted to high needs’ populations, primarily Maori and Pasifika, however, we include all peoples. Most whaiora and whanau who access our services are of mixed ethnicity. This is the approach we insisted with the MOH and the DHB for our Covid-19 vaccination clinic and approximately 75 percent of the people that received the vaccine at our marae were non-Maori and Pacific.

Services provided out of Whare Tuarua are aimed at people of all ages and range from GP outreach, to well-child clinics, mental health and addiction assessment and intervention, and health promotion and literacy. Other services including traditional Maori healing (Miri Miri), acupuncture, sleep therapies, and breast feeding peer support training for mothers were running prior to the Covid-19 vaccination clinic and will be reinstated when circumstances permit.

“Whare Tuarua has become a multifunctional facility because of the location, design and amenities. It is the main centre for most of our traditional Maori practices such as our daily morning karakia, staff briefings and meetings, staff training, powhiri and hui with support services personnel, health and council officials,” Simon says. “The upstairs space is used by the health promotion, education and literacy, peer support and nursing navigation services.”

“Hauora Tuarua has enabled us to integrate both Maori tikanga, kaupapa and western medicine practices more spontaneously. I think that non-Maori have found this environment stimulating and safe, and are embracing the opportunities to practise Maori tikanga on a marae. I see the confidence and skills increasing in the staff and whaiora, whanau and hapori. As the health sector is being reformed, there is a strong focus on greater Maori leadership and participation to address Maori inequalities. This is a positive direction for Maori whanau and Maori services going forward.”