In 2021, Sandralee Harata-Chase and her whānau were concerned about the growing negative impact of methamphetamine on whānau, hapū and iwi in Te Teko. Determined to bring about oranga, they sought ways to heal, educate and support their whānau who were directly and indirectly affected by methamphetamine.
Connecting to Te Ao Māori
In April that year, they invited whānau and other communities experiencing similar challenges to participate in a wānanga to explore potential solutions. A highlight of the wānanga was a hikoi, a sacred journey up their maunga – Pūtauaki. As they descended the maunga, they carried with them the mauri and name of their group – Tauaki Te Tū, which signifies standing tall and proud mirroring the mana of Pūtauaki.
Since then, Tauaki Te Tū has stayed firmly rooted in its whānau-led approach, working with the entire whānau rather than focusing on the individual grappling with drug use. They meet every Monday at 6:00 pm at the Te Teko Hauora Clinic to provide a safe place for whānau to share their personal journey, challenges and successes. They use Te Ao Māori to foster health and oranga within whānau, Reconnecting them back to their culture, whenua and their whakapapa. It is through this reconnection that they empower whānau to overcome AOD challenges, using practices such as wānanga, karakia, whakataukī, waiata koroua, mau rākau, pūrākau, hiitori etc., as well as AOD education and awareness. They do what they can to help whānau.
Creating a better future
Sandralee Harata-Chase serves as a driving force behind this kaupapa. As a leader and facilitator of the wānanga, she is actively pursuing a Bachelor of Counselling, equipping herself with additional skills to enhance the support options available for whānau in their recovery journeys. As a leader Her efforts are supported by the Te Teko Community. Through this kaupapa, they hope to create healthier, more resilient communities for the future wellbeing of their tamariki and mokopuna.
Tauaki Te Tu stands as an outstanding example of a whānau-led initiative to addressing alcohol and drug harm. They possess a deep understanding of the needs of their people and demonstrate unwavering passion and commitment in driving their cause forward. A heartfelt expression of gratitude is extended to Sandralee and the whānau at Tauaki Te Tū for their exceptional mahi. Initiatives like theirs align with the vision of the Ki Te Ara Whakamua: Māori Community Action Fund—a one-off contestable fund established to support Māori-led initiatives in reducing alcohol and drug-related harm.
Photo credit: Sandralee Harata-Chase
- Karakia – prayers, chant
- Whakataukī – proverb
- Waiata koroua – songs from our ancestors
- Mau Rākau – Māori weaponry
- Pūrākau – stories, origin stories
- Hiitori – history
- Te Whare Tapa Whā – Māori health model
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