On Friday last week, representatives from Poutiri Trust’s network of providers came together at Ōtamarākau marae to reflect on their collective mahi and plan for the year ahead.  

Poutiri Trust delivers hauora services in Te Puke and, as a Māori Development Organisation supports a network of 12 providers throughout the Bay of Plenty that has worked together for over 20 years – from Whakatāne, Opōtiki and Murupara in the east, Rotorua in the south through to Te Puke, Tauranga-Moana and Matakana Island in the west.  

Kirsty Maxwell-Crawford, Poutiri Trust Chief Executive says the focus of the gathering is not only on uplifting each other and sharing learnings, but also reviewing their outcomes and collective impact for whānau. 

This year the Poutiri network and services worked with over 18,000 whānau, and has expanded in primary mental health and addictions, Kia Piki Te Ora suicide prevention, ACC navigation, disabilities and rangatahi pathways to meet the needs of whānau.

Poutiri is also gearing up to celebrate the graduation of over 40 kaimahi who completed the L6 Matatini Ora Diploma in Public Health, Mental Health and Addictions, in partnership with Te Rau Ora. 

“It’s important as a network that we are not static but evolving, utilising and supporting evidence-based practice, innovating and learning from our communities and each other so that we can deliver the best health and wellbeing services for whānau and inter-generational health gains,” says Kirsty.  

“Workforce and service development, and innovation is a big part of that.” 

The network includes:

•    Ko Kollective, Opotiki
•    Te Puna Ora o Mataatua, Whakatāne
•    Te Ika Whenua Hauora, Murupara
•    Poutiri Wellness Centre, Te Puke
•    Kimi Hauora, Tamapahore
•    Army of Aunties, Welcome Bay
•    Waipu Hauora, Matapihi
•    Ngāi te Ahi Ngāti He Hauora, Rangataua
•    Te Awanui Hauora, Matakana Island
•    Ngāti Kahu Hauora, Bethlehem
•    Piringa, Rotorua
•    Te Whare o Kenehi, Rotorua 

Partners across the network deliver on a range of services and one of their focus areas is on how they can better respond to and support whānau in the mental health and addiction space. 

“We’re seeing a real acceleration in whānau stress and distress, post-COVID. 

“As part of our funding from Te Aka Whai Ora, we’re fortunate enough to be active in this space – using both clinical and cultural modalities to respond to the emotional and social needs of whānau, empower our people and support their resilience, goals and dreams for the future.”

For Kirsty, the gathering is also about acknowledging the huge amount of work that has been done, and encouraging kaimahi to look after themselves as they gear up for another busy year ahead. 

“Demand for our services is increasing across the region, including from whānau Māori and also non-Māori whānau who appreciate our holistic approach to health.

“We see huge value in coming together to review trends across the region, hear from their lived experience and identify where innovations and solutions can be scaled, given our reach and long standing, high-trust relationships.”

Te Aka Whai Ora Maiaka Hāpori Deputy Chief Executive Public and Population Health, Selah Hart says that this is an example of what makes hauora Māori partners unique.

“We know that working in the Oranga Hinengaro space isn’t easy so it’s great to see this network supporting each other, exchanging insights and doing what they can to support whānau who live with mental distress, illness and addictions.”