A desire to better support whānau experiencing violence and reduce whānau harm is behind a new rohe-specific Police approach to dealing with family harm in Hawke’s Bay.
Te Kura is a Ngāti Kahungunu approach to Whāngaia Ngā Pā Harakeke, which is a New Zealand Police initiative that encourages collaboration with iwi and other agencies to reduce family harm within Māori communities.
More than two years of work has gone into developing Te Kura. The concept is based on the famous oriori (traditional chant) of the area, Pinepine te Kura, with the intent of using traditional whānau values to reduce whānau harm.
Hawke’s Bay deals with an average of 170 family harm incidents a week, which increases during the festive season, Police said.
Hawke’s Bay Family Harm Manager, Senior Sergeant Caroline Martin, has been joined by Iwi Lead, Chris Karaitiana, in taking the basic concept and developing a model that best works for Hawke’s Bay.
Chris is extremely well connected across Hawke’s Bay and has run non-violence programmes for Dove and Te Taiwhenua O Heretaunga for the past 15 years.
He admits he had a “pretty violent upbringing” and did get into “a bit of mischief” when younger but says the life experience has helped him understand what whānau are dealing with.
“Police do a great job, but they’re not social workers and need more support from other agencies. This is about connecting everyone so those facing violence in their homes get the support they desperately need,” he said.
Caroline agrees and says there is often a delay between Police attending family violence and agencies connecting with whānau.
“We need better collaboration between all services, so whānau get the help they need as soon as possible,” says Caroline.
She says having Chris on board was already paying dividends.
“Chris has jumped in the cars with our staff and just having him there engaging with whānau and introducing Police to whānau is so valuable.”
Caroline says the next step is to employ a coordinator for Te Kura. This person would coordinate the multi-agency meeting which meets every weekday to review the daily family harm incidents and discuss what’s best for each whānau.
“We need to be more joined up so together we can decide on the best fit for each whānau and make sure they get support as quickly as possible.”
Chris and Caroline say they are looking forward to the opportunity to implement Te Kura and improve outcomes for whānau.