Tiaki Whānau Tiaki Ora 1000 Māori Homes (Tiaki Whānau Tiaki Ora) is a programme and a approach to Māori suicide prevention that Te Rau Ora began in March of 2018. The underlying belief of the programme is that solutions lie with whānau. Starting at the top of the country in Te Tai Tokerau (Northland), the Tiaki Whānau Tiaki Ora programme has now been implemented in seven regions around the country. The programme works to:
“Support whānau to support each other, to build wellbeing and prevent suicide” (Tio Sewell, Kaiwhakahaere Waka Hourua, Te Rau Ora).
Tiaki Whānau Tiaki Ora works with whānau through whānau champions, of which there are currently 80 across the North Island. The whānau champions have engaged and recruited close to 900 whānau homes. Whānau champions and the whānau they sign up are not crisis workers but solution finders and resilient builders. Tiaki Whānau Tiaki Ora is centred on whānau supporting whānau and sharing information.
“[a] thing that we absolutely emphasise is you don’t need to be a mental expert to make a difference in mental health/wellbeing” (Tio Sewell, Kaiwhakahaere Waka Hourua, Te Rau Ora).
As a national organisation, Te Rau Ora is able to recruit whānau champions by building on pre-existing relationships in communities and building new relationships with community stakeholders. The stakeholders include local hauora organisations/groups, iwi, and previous Waka Hourua Pou Arahi. The stakeholders play a key role in identifying whānau champions in their communities. Potential whānau champions are invited to attend an orientation day, after which they can sign-up to the programme if they want to. By coming on to the kaupapa (programme), they gain access to resources and a tool kit developed by Te Rau Ora. The tool kits have information about:
“promoting oranga, building positive identity, whanaungatanga, communication, problem-solving, goal setting, build wellbeing, and also tools to help whānau identify risk factors around suicide and where to get help” (Tio Sewell, Kaiwhakahaere Waka Hourua, Te Rau Ora).
Each whānau has different needs and can concentrate on one of the areas mentioned above that they identify is key for them; different whānau get different things out of the tool kit. Currently, the tool kits are only accessible through whānau champions.
Suicide is an emotional topic. It is not uncommon for whānau to have grief and mamae (pain) related to the topic. A strength of Tiaki Whānau Tiaki Ora is that it is a structured programme that seeks to create a safe space for whānau. The clear message of the programme is to develop wellbeing to prevent suicide. Over the last year and a half, Te Rau Ora has found working with communities rewarding, and the positive feedback from whānau about the programme has been exciting.
To learn more about Tiaki Whānau Tiaki Oa and other suicide prevention work Te Rau Ora is undertaking, please visit our Te Au website.