National Nati news / Politics
Written by: Anne Huriwai, Whanau Oranga Senior Manager
13 Nov 2017

Whanau Oranga Senior Manager, Anne Huriwai, presents some highlights over the past year from the Ruatoria and Gisborne based social services team.

Joining the war on ‘p’

“This drug is killing our whakapapa” is a message that came out loud and clear on a road-show. The road-show was the result of a collaboration between Whanau Oranga, Hapu Social Services representatives, Ministry of Social Development, Hauora Tairawhiti, Ngati Porou Hauora, NZ Police, Ruia (Gang transformation project), gang whanau, as well as current and ex-users.

“One in three” are on ‘P’ is something that no community wants to hear and yet this is a statistic for at least one of our communities and the reality is that this is probably reflective of most of our Ngati Porou communities. We have a big problem but all is not lost and the 266 individuals who attended one or more of the road-shows held in Kaiti, Tolaga Bay, Tokomaru Bay, Ruatoria, Rangitukia and Hicks Bay, are more aware and alert to the havoc that this ‘nganara’ is wreaking on our whakapapa and are prepared to take action within their respective communities.

A different approach to tackling whanau violence

Over the past year we have been reviewing the support and activities that we provide to both victims and perpetrators of violence with a particular focus on the East Coast. Previously the emphasis was on prevention and education type support delivered through the Hapu Social Services (HSS) group which comprises volunteers from ten communities from Kaiti to Potaka, however, with specialist services diminishing and some whanau refusing to engage we knew that it was time to approach this differently.

Having people on the ground, who know their community well is a fundamental link between the whanau and the services available as they are able to get through the door when our staff can’t. Drawing on the skills already present within the HSS group we have already recruited 3 volunteers who agreed to test this approach and although still in its infancy we are already seeing the difference that it is making in terms of whanau accepting help.

Other highlights from the past year.


National trial of the facilitation of Family Group conferences (FGC) begins with 2.5 x FTEs Iwi Coordinators recruited to become the first ever external appointed FGC Coordinators outside of Child Youth & Family. INCREASED EMERGENCY HOUSING Increased emergency housing stock through the leasing of four x 3-bedroom homes and a 10-bedroom property in Gisborne.


Maintained annual accreditation through Ministry of Business, Innovation & Enterprise as an approved Community Housing Provider. RESEARCH INTO A HOME FOR YOUNG OFFENDERS Ministry of Social Development funded the exploration of establishing a home for young offenders.

Our priorities for the year ahead


We will roll-out the next phase of Te Kawai Hono (our caregiver’s framework) beginning with the recruitment of whanau caregivers supported by a whakapapa researcher so our mokopuna remain with whanau and not in non-kin care.


We will build more capacity within communities by recruiting, training and supporting more whanau champions who are best placed to be doing the initial engagement and pastoral care.


We will continue to facilitate and/or support initiatives that target the effects of ‘P’ especially initiatives that will provide help to those who want to quit this drug.


We will implement an educational programme showing the negative effects of ‘P’ specifically for our youth.


We will continue to prioritise the wellbeing of mokopuna by ensuring that they are at the forefront of any decisions we make.