A locally developed app dedicated to hauora Māori services and mātauranga workshops around Rotorua is enabling whānau to pick their own pathway toward better health.

The Manu Tāpiki app supports Te Kahu Whai Oranga programme delivered by Te Arawa Whānau Ora, providing flexibility and choice for participants across a broad range of workshops including rongoā Māori, whānau fitness groups, tangihanga, wairuatanga, health checks, kai and kōrero, pūrākau, taonga puoro and even a tour of local hauora hotspots.

Whānau get to choose the activities that resonate with them and that they believe will improve their wellbeing, which helps to remove barriers for those who feel afraid of interacting with mainstream health services says Amanda Uri, Health Services Manager for Te Arawa Whānau Ora.

"People will participate in things that resonate with them so as a consequence they'll build relationships, they'll achieve wellbeing and get more tools that build resilience," says Amanda.

"This approach is about helping people to feel more comfortable to address their health needs. For many people there's a mistrust in the mainstream health system because of bad experiences that they or whānau have experienced.

"The Manu Tāpiki app provides options, so that if – for example – you have a day off work and want to do something for your wellbeing, you can look at the app, find out what's happening and sign up to participate in that activity."

The app also provides a channel for people to volunteer their time, hold wānanga and share their knowledge. "Skills, knowledge and that leadership don't just sit with funded organisations," says Amanda.

"Leaders from marae, sports leaders, and the community who want to give their time and knowledge can add their kaupapa into the app and stand up a workshop in a way and time that suits them."

A recent count had 763 whānau attending 192 workshops since July 2023.

One example of the range of workshops is the tangihanga wānanga led by Te Ururoa Flavell, which Amanda says is an important forum to revive tikanga and reconnect whānau to hauora Māori services.

"Tangihanga is such an important tikanga for Māori. So much of what we practice derives from tangihanga but over time we've lost much of our understanding of that tikanga.

"Te Ururoa helps break down all the details and rituals, which helps us to understand why we do things certain ways, our whole perspective on the world, and how we can keep our tikanga alive."

Head of Mātauranga Māori, Hauora Māori Services Kingi Kiriona says solutions like these provide opportunities to connect people with hauora services in new ways.

"By taking an innovative approach through the promotion of mātauranga Māori and tikanga, communities and organisations like Te Arawa Whānau Ora can develop their own solutions, such as supporting people to connect to their local services and also give their time to benefit whānau and communities," says Kingi.