“The main challenges were around financial barriers. So, it was looking at trying to do as much as we could [without money]. It doesn’t cost anything to walk around the block, that’s why it started with that and then the whanau fitness classes they were free, the instructors were paid by another organisation, this is where all the partnering came in.”
They provide a whanau-friendly environment that could cater for everyone.
“Connectedness is key. Being whanau focused where everyone can come along including the children and the nannies and, you know, bring your whole whanau type of thing. I think the other main thing heard from a lot of whanau, is the non-judgemental way that it’s conducted so it doesn’t matter whether you are oversized, leaping around the floor, shaking your bits.”
With the core consideration around participation, it’s also important for Huringa Pai to work toward stopping premature deaths. They started asking the question, ‘what are we actually doing to impact that positively?’
“That’s when Ngati Porou Hauora created our own dashboard of health statistics as we didn’t have specific Ngati Porou Hauora data available from the regional or national databases to answer the question, ‘what impact are we making?’. We certainly didn’t seem to be doing well to date, we still had the highest ‘avoidable’ deaths, we still had high rates of cardiac and other chronic illnesses, with many persons having several such illnesses.”
The vision of Huringa Pai is simple – It’s about ‘whānau connecting to whānau and whenua living healthy, living longer’. Which ties into the Ngati Porou Hauora mission and vision for ‘the next generation living longer and better than the last generation’. NPH is the umbrella organisation for the Huringa Pai kaupapa”, Rose Kahaki (Chief Executive) of NPH explained.
“The Hauora has provided an embryonic place for it to start and then once the whanau have got some feet and wings of their own, then they could start flying themselves.”
“We support staff to lead and then empower families to take over, because the biggest question is ‘how do you motivate a community?’, ‘how do you motivate whanau?’. I think this is a very good example of that ‘motivation’.”
And Huringa Pai is certainly not short of success stories. As part of the local ‘Everest Challenge,’ a 69 year old woman recently climbed Titirangi (Kaiti Hill) approximately 425 times over a seven week period.
Many claim the kaupapa is ‘life changing,’ others say they’re ‘off my meds now.’
“We had a quarter marathon here and there were two of our really large women who had never done any of that before and as they were coming across the bridge before they got to the finish line, probably 8 or 10 whanau from Huringa Pai went out to meet them and walk in with them. One was almost having an asthma attack and we helped her cross the line, and her feet were sore but the two of them came across in line together and they cried and then some of us cried and they just sat down afterwards and were pampered by ‘are you okay?’