Between June 2013 and June 2015, CILT operated the successful Whānau Ora Navigator Programme through a contract with Te Puni Kokiri. The programme was established to put power back into the hands of whānau living in the Upper Coromandel Peninsula. Whānau created their own plans, with the support of a Navigator, to set and achieve goals to improve all aspects of their lives. Areas focused on included: housing, employment, education, whanau relationships, cultural identity, health and wellbeing.
During this time 48 whānau with 244 individuals engaged in the programme and made lasting positive changes. Estranged whānau reconnected, better quality housing was accessed, whānau members took control of their mental health and addiction issues and connections with local marae were strengthened. Through tightly managed plans in collaboration with probation services and mental health, several individuals were also able to serve sentences through home detention instead of going to prison and have made significant positive progress.
Jean Ashby was the Navigator and brought to the role 18 years of experience working with whānau with a wide range of needs and extensive networks throughout the community, from her role as CILT’s Work Co-op Coordinator.
Referrals steadily flowed in showing the great need for the programme in the area, which was spread by ‘word of mouth’. Referrals came directly from whānau who heard about the programme in the community, local schools, health providers, police and probation services.
An important aspect of the Navigator role was collaboration with the other projects within CILT and external agencies to provide whānau with the best information on services available and smooth pathways to accessing them. Several crucial gaps in services in the area were identified that the Navigator worked towards addressing with other CILT staff and local organisations.
It has been an honour for CILT and the Navigator to walk alongside whānau through their brave journeys to set and achieve goals to improve all aspects of their lives together. It has been very humbling to see the great challenges that whānau have overcome by uniting and working together.
With the completion of the Whānau Ora contract, CILT is now looking for new opportunities to support the needs of the most vulnerable whānau in our communities, in order to continue to encourage whānau connections, cultural pride, wellbeing, resilience and self-determination.