Te Awe – a home, a special gift

Published: April 11, 2019

A new home in Lower Hutt is providing a safe place for tamariki from the Wellington area.

Te Awe room

Therapeutic care differently

The home, Te Awe, was co-designed by Te Ātiawa iwi and Oranga Tamariki, and provides short stay, emergency or planned respite care for tamariki.

It takes a te ao Māori approach to how we care for tamariki and rangatahi with a trauma informed lens.

The values of Te Ātiawa are honoured in the home, and tamariki experience a structured rhythm to their day with practices such as karakia, waiata, hui morning and night, and kai together.

Whānau can connect with their mokopuna at Te Awe, and there’s a strong focus supporting the tamariki to move on to stable, appropriate care as soon as possible.

Tamariki are supported to connect with their whakapapa, and special sensory features help to reduce anxiety.

Waiwhetu Marae resized web page
Celebrating the opening at Waiwhetu Marae

An exciting opportunity

Kura Moeahu, Chair of Te Runanganui o Te Ātiawa said at the opening of Te Awe it was a wonderful occasion.

“It’s a great start to an ongoing partnership - partnership starts with every small step.”

He said he was really excited about how the iwi is working with staff in home – providing ongoing training and guidance and helping to develop local knowledge resources.

“It’s about learning Te Ātiawa tikanga.”

This is the change that we need, for the children that need us here in New Zealand.

“I feel safe here”

Youth Worker in the home, Madison, says it’s the small changes in the tamariki who stay in the home that mean the most to her, like little improvements in self-care.

“The highlight so far though would be when the first young person in the home said to me – ‘I feel safe here’.”

The change we need

Te Āti Awa generously gifted Oranga Tamariki the name ‘Te Awe’.

In te reo Māori, Te Awe is the plume of the albatross, which holds special significance to the people of Te Ātiawa Taranaki Whānui: when the plumes of the albatross feathers were gathered together on Toroanui Marae and presented to the Parihaka prophet Te Whiti o Rongomai he acknowledged them as a raukura (a special gift).

Minister for Children Tracey Martin attended the opening and experienced the pōwhiri each child going into the home receives.

“These are not facilities,” she said. “These are homes – where children who are scared, who don’t know what will happen next get a sense of safety, of validation.”

“This is the change that we need, for the children that need us here in New Zealand.”