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A ripple effect in Southland

Nga Kete Matauranga Pounamu is one of our partner organisations in Southland. They are nurturing wellbeing and independence for tamariki and whānau through a wide-range of kaupapa-Māori health and social services. 

Published on
30 Oct 2019
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Left-to-right: Tracey Wright-Tawha with Kaiawhina, Di Brown, and Manager, Kerstin Kummerer

Nurturing wellbeing and independence

“If you drop a pebble in a puddle, it ripples out, and so do my staff when we work alongside whānau.”

Nga Kete Matauranga Pounamu Chief Executive Tracey Wright-Tawha uses this metaphor to describe the positive impact her organisation is having within the Southland community.

Based in Invercargill, her team of 60 staff delivers more than 70,000 interventions every year through their health and social services.

This includes a stop smoking program and other addiction services, whānau support, a general practice and social work in schools.

They have also recently set-up a supported living home for rangatahi transitioning out of care.

“Our mission is to connect them with resources, ideas and energy for their wellbeing and independence,” Tracey says.

Pictured above: (Left-to-right) Tracey Wright-Tawha with Kaiawhina, Di Brown, and Manager, Kerstin Kummerer

Igniting the flame for change

Tracey was strongly influenced by Puao-te-ata-tu and set up Nga Kete Matauranga Pounamu in 2000 to provide improved access to care for Māori. 

“I was concerned for the wellbeing of our people,” she says. 

Whānau ora is at the heart of their way of working. 

“We believe whānau can be the masters of their own destiny, and our job is to help them realise their potential and ignite the flame for change.

“We demonstrate love and caring through the way we meet and greet whānau, the mihi process and how we take time to listen and respond to them.”

"We believe whānau can be the masters of their own destiny, and our job is to help them realise their potential and ignite the flame for change."

Tracey Wright-Tawha

Leading the way towards wellbeing

Their dream is ‘Arahina ki te Ao, ki te Ora’ – to lead the way towards wellbeing.

“It’s a belief in devolution to Māori, encompassing a by Māori for Māori approach which is inclusive of others. 

“This is an expression of Tino Rangatiratanga – our ability to lead out.”

Tracey is encouraged that Māori and NGO providers are taking on a greater role in designing and delivering services for whānau in New Zealand.

“As community providers, we don’t face the same barriers as government agencies. We can provide a different type of support and manaakitanga with whānau at the centre.

“I look forward to further opportunities to enable local Māori leadership in our communities.”

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