Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Ministry for children partners with mana whenua in Moeraki

Oranga Tamariki this year partnered with Te Hā o Maru to provide social services for the local community in Moeraki, Oamaru, and say they are starting to see positive results from their work together.

Te Hā o Maru is a health and social service in Moeraki, Oamaru. It was established as an organisation in October 2022. The service is owned by Te Rūnanga o Moeraki.

The Te Hā o Maru team reached out to Oranga Tamariki and had conversations with Services for Children and Families regional manager, Kellie Blyth.

Through these conversations, the two sides identified a unique opportunity to work together and enrich local services.

Teams from Te Hā o Maru and Oranga Tamariki work together on cases in the area. For example, if Oranga Tamariki receives a report of concern about a tamariki Māori, they will consult with Te Hā o Maru. Both sides are then included in the conversations and the process of making decisions.

Staff from both organisations are co-located at a site in Oamaru. Oranga Tamariki has funded a Social Worker and seconded a Kairaranga-a-whānau (a specialist Māori role) to support Te Hā o Maru. There is a focus on early intervention and prevention – meaning that families can stay together, with support from their communities. There have already been successful cases where tamariki or rangatahi have not needed to come into care, said MS Blyth.

“Empowering partners to join us at the decision-making table is a key part of our direction of travel at Oranga Tamariki. We know it leads to good outcomes for tamariki, rangatahi and their whānau,” she said.

“Our partners’ reach into our communities supports engagement and healing and can mean that whānau don’t need to be involved with statutory care and protection and youth justice services.

“We were delighted to be approached and have the opportunity to develop a new way of working with Te Hā o Maru. We look forward to continuing to develop our whanaungatanga and kotahitanga (unity) through this partnership.”

Executive Officer at Te Hā o Maru, Mani Malloy-Sharplin says the partnership was an opporunity to work with government in a unique way as mana whenua.

“Naturally there’s been some bumps to smooth out as we navigate the partnership and new way of working together, but overall it has been really positive,” he said.

“It’s taken us roughly four years from when Moeraki first set out to create this health and social service, due to the delays of the pandemic. We’re a new service, but it’s great to see how fast we’ve established the kaupapa and are providing integral services and offering solutions and connection to our whānau on the fringes.

“We will support anyone in our community, but our focus is on whānau Māori and Pacific. So this partnership means that when one of these whānau comes to the attention of Oranga Tamariki, we’re at the table straight away as equal partners and decision makers.”

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