Community, News

Taitamariki wellbeing a priority

A project led by the Whangārei South healthcare locality, one of six localities being set up by HPF member Mahitahi Hauora across Te Tai Tokerau, is getting out in the community to help young people develop and be mentally well.

Whakapiki ake Taitamariki’s first community event for this year was held at the Onerahi Community Gardens on 10 February to help strengthen services and support for local young people. Around 30 Onerahi locals joined in the event, including whānau, young people, community group representatives, teachers, and nannies with their mokopuna.

Whakapiki ake Taitamariki Coordinator Sapi Iuliano said the project team wanted to connect with the community in their own space, especially whānau and young people, to build and strengthen relationships.

“We chilled over kai together and talked about our services and opportunities to collaborate with other stakeholders working to support local young people. We also got some of the local taitamariki involved in a youth group to mentor others and help organise events and activities by and for young people.”

Mahitahi Hauora Portfolio and Locality Lead Bernie Hetaraka said the Whakapiki ake Taitamariki project emerged from hui held in 2019 with communities in Raumanga, Onerahi, Bream Bay and Dargaville.

“Our communities told us our first priority should be to support the development of our taitamariki. They wanted more youth workers, support for young people to set goals and achieve milestones such as getting a driver’s licence, improved access to healthcare services for young people, and more recreational events and activities for young people,” she said.

“The collaborative way of working in a healthcare locality made Whakapiki ake Taitamariki possible. Localities bring healthcare practices and providers, community and social services, and local community and whānau together to deliver health and social care in partnership. Our projects are guided by the priorities of the community.”

Following on from agreement about what Whakapiki ake Taitamariki needed to focus on, Mahitahi Hauora worked with stakeholders to build a plan to start introducing some of those things, pulling the team together to make it happen and securing funding. The project then went to the Mahitahi Hauora Board for approval, which it received in March 2020.

In the Whangārei South locality, primary health entity Mahitahi Hauora is working in partnership with Whangārei Youth Space, healthcare providers, community groups and whānau on the Whakapiki ake Taitamariki project. 

Whakapiki ake Taitamariki is introducing youth workers to mentor young people and organise activities and events.

Further community events will be held approximately once a fortnight, and people can follow Whangārei Youth Space’s Facebook page for information about future events.

Banner photo from left: Allan Tipene, Senior Youth Worker at Whangārei Youth Space; Chaston Kay, member of the WAT (Whakapiki ake Taitamariki) youth group; Stormy Kay, Youth Development Worker at Whangārei Youth Space.