Connection to whakapapa

Published: February 15, 2019

A sense of belonging and a connection with whānau can be crucial for a child in care. That’s how Jodie Treanor, in the position of Kairaranga-a-whānau in Greymouth Oranga Tamariki, knows the difference she is making is positive, tangible, and long-term.

Jodie Treanor


Kairaranga-a-whānau is a role that looks intensively into a child’s background and whakapapa, researching family links for suitable caregivers for a young person that cannot stay at home.

Jodie began as one of the first in this type of position. She researches family trees, tracking down distant whānau in the hope of forging new family connections.

“Our tamariki deserve loving stable homes, and within the family, whānau, hapu or iwi, we can make sure that any care placement is in the best interest of the child,” says Jodie.

It's important children have a sense of belonging

Louise Heke, Upper South region, Kairaranga (Senior Advisor)

Change through dedication

Jodie says she feels very lucky to do what she does. 

“The Kairaranga-a-whānau role represents a shift in the organisation, recognising our past ways of working didn't speak to Māori Tikanga.

"There's still some stuff that needs to change, but the change is tangible. It's really encouraging and exciting."

“Whānau support is more crucial than ever, says Chief Social Worker Grant Bennett.

"Mentors might move away or change jobs, but whānau is for life,” he said.

"A common theme for children who do well in care and have good outcomes in life is there's one person who really has their back. If we can find that amongst whānau, that relationship has longevity."
 Extracts from this story originally appeared on