Mana whenua recently led a karakia to whakanoa te whenua, to prepare the land ahead of construction of a new kind of Oranga Tamariki care home.
When complete, the four-bedroom house in Manurewa will be the first home built of its kind by Oranga Tamariki through the Whakaruruhau (Specialist Group Homes) project.
General Manager Residential and High Needs Services, Audrey Bancroft, says the milestone is an important step towards improving outcomes for tamariki in the care of Oranga Tamariki.
“Specialist group homes provide specialist, stable support for tamariki with complex needs – for as long as they need it,” says Audrey.
“We work with mana whenua and care-experienced tamariki to create a model that looks and feels like a regular home and that supports tamariki, rangatahi and their whānau.”
The Government committed $65 million of funding in its 2019 Budget to help meet a shortage of suitable long-term and stable placement options for tamariki with complex needs.
The Whakaruruhau project will help meet this gap by supporting small groups of tamariki in a home environment with 24/7 care from specialist kaimahi.
Tamariki who live in specialist group homes are generally not able to live with whānau or other caregivers, and may have experienced several placement breakdowns.
The homes will aim to connect tamariki to mana whenua and the wider community. They will also provide the opportunity for tamariki Māori to connect with their iwi, hapū and whānau.