Communities of practice for supporting rangatahi

Published: July 22, 2021

A series of wānanga around the motu have brought together hundreds of kaimahi from community organisations working to support rangatahi leaving care or youth justice.

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Transition Workers - Maureen from Upper Hutt's Orongomai Marae (left) and Rosa from Palmerston North's Highbury Whānau Centre (right)

A network of support

Regional hui hosted with partner organisations have provided an opportunity to share ways of working and whanaungatanga between kaimahi in each rohe, and fostered a community of practice to impact rangatahi.

The Transition Support Service is delivered by experts in supporting rangatahi to identify and achieve their goals. Oranga Tamariki has grown the network of support for rangatahi with 62 providers to date around the motu that are walking alongside over 1200 rangatahi in their local communities.

Supportive accommodation options to provide a gradual and safe transition to adulthood is a key part of the service and accommodation providers also attended the wānanga.

A sacred time

With support from the Transition Support Service, Highbury Whānau Centre hosted the central region wānanga in Palmerston North and developed the two-day programme. A welcoming and inclusive space enabled the sharing of challenges and opportunities in supporting rangatahi at a critical time for their life outcomes.

One of the Centre’s Transition Workers (TWs), Reweti Arapere, said at the event that when rangatahi are transitioning, as a rite of passage into adulthood, it is a space of tapu.

“Like the tapu of the top of a building or house; it is a time that involves a lot of karakia, a lot of kai and wai.”

“It’s heavy work and there’s lots of work to be done... each of us here have our contribution to this kaupapa.”

The Transition Support Service is a real pathfinder of change and will make a real difference going forward.

Steve O’Conner, Challenge 2000

Connecting and learning

At the central region wānanga, participants took part in a ‘speed dating’ whanaungatanga activity, and absorbed information on types of custody orders as well as resources and support available under the Transition Support Service.

On day two, kaimahi heard from a panel of experts from the Transition Support Service team on topics including emergency housing, supported accommodation, remaining with, or returning to live with a trusted adult, supported employment, and across-agency mahi that supports a successful  transition to adulthood.

Café-style workshops were held to facilitate discussion on different aspects of the service such as best practice for planning for transition and the dedicated Transition Support Helpline at the National Contact Centre.

A wave of hope

One of the attendees, Steve O’Conner from Wellington Youth Development, Community and Family Social Work Agency Challenge 2000 said it was great to be at the hui to see people who have the passion and hope for rangatahi.

“One of the biggest challenges for us is to maintain hope for a better future. A wave of hope is what we need to have in this country, and we are part of this wave.”

“The Transition Support Service is a real pathfinder of change and will make a real difference going forward.”

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A group discussion at the Palmerston North wānanga