Veteran from all over the coast gathered together at Te Puia Hospital for a check up and a chat at the first Veterans Clinic. The initiative is a collaboration between Ngāti Porou Hauora, Veterans Affairs and Royal New Zealand Returned Services' Association to improve access to services for veterans living on the coast. A round-robin of services was set up so that each person who attended was able to have time with everyone, including a podiatrist, geriatrician, hearing specialist, rehabilitation specialist and a veterans affairs case manager. 13 veterans living on the Coast came on the day, some with whānau.
Janet Castell RSA District Support Advisor for the Wairarapa, East Coast, Hawkes bay District was part of the team running the Clinic on the day. She noted that “Getting all the health stuff sorted was great, but the nicest part was that it got a lot of chaps together and to just have a yarn. You could see how much they all enjoyed it. One of them commented that it was nice to be together for something other than a funeral.” The whole day was really successful and we had more numbers than expected. There are plans to try and run more clinics like this in the future and to expand the target group to reach more people. Janet is also in the process of setting up a network of regular information sessions for Veterans through the clinics.
Starting with Matakoa she plans to visit every second month to share information on what supports are available and help to link people up to the benefits they are eligible for. Recent changes in legislation mean that there are now more supports available, so we want to make sure whānau on the Coast have access to this.
A new pilates class has started in Te Araroa run by Ngāti Porou Hauora Physiotherapist Anne Hewetson. The weekly class is held at Hinerupe (the local marae) and has a growing mix of local people attending regularly, especially kaumātua (elders). The initiative has been started as a proactive way to keep people strong, mobile and to prevent falls, as well to boost recovery for those who have had injuries or operations. The exercises focus on increasing levels of strength, balance, flexibility, muscle tone, stamina, and well-being. The ability to modify exercises to meet differing needs makes it a great community activity. “People are commenting about how good it makes them feel.
There has been increased mobility in some members and it has given people a greater understanding of what their bodies are capable of and what it feels like to have a good stretch.” - Tracey Morris, Rural Health Nurse Because the Physiotherapist is only in the area once a week, the goal is to train a local person to take over the classes going forward. This will give people greater access to recovery and rehabilitation sessions. The team at Matakaoa Clinic are also wanting to start a regular walking group. The staff walk most mornings already but are keen to get more locals involved. The Huringa Pai movement in Gisborne has certainly helped inspire the idea.
These activities all fit in with Ngāti Porou Hauora’s bigger vision to transform the East Coast into one of the world’s Blue Zones. Blue Zones are a handful of small areas in the world where people live longer and live 'happier' than anywhere else on the planet. Two of the core ingredients that have been identified in the recipe for a Blue Zone are regular physical activity and coming together as a community.
A waiata (song) has recently been gifted to the mental health team at Ngāti Porou Hauora. Presented by John Coleman of Tokomaru Bay, this waiata is a special tribute to a woman and past consumer of the mental health service, who has since passed away. Waiata have long been an effective method for maintaining well-being for Māori. It is an expression of emotion and a traditional form of healing. Over the past few decades, Ngāti Porou Hauora have been privileged to have had support from John and over this time he has written the organisation hundreds of songs. John comes from a line of gifted Ngāti Porou composers including Tuini Ngawai and Ngoi Pewhairangi.
Through waiata John has recorded the history of hauora on the Coast. Whenever there has been a hui or significant moment, there has also been a waiata that helps us remember who was there and what the kaupapa (topic of discussion) was. Often visitors have been able to take away the gift of a song as a special reminder of their visit. This waiata, however, is slightly different. In his younger days, John worked in the NPH mental health service, and it was here that he came across this particular song. A woman who was battling mental illness at the time brought in the English version of the song and explained that when she heard it, she felt like it was singing about her. The lyrics resonated deeply. However, she asked that John translate it to Māori as she believed this would be more beautiful and useful to her in her healing journey. Years later, John was reminded of the song. With the Ngāti Porou Hauora team recently visiting and consulting with the community around our model of care, and the nationwide Government Inquiry into Mental Health and Addiction he decided it would be a useful tool to help people to understand the perspective of those suffering from mental health issues and addiction. Here is the song: Lace covered window
Original by New Faces / Nga kupu by J.T. Coleman I te reo
Tuatahi: Ka hikoi I tea o, anake,
O pumau, ka huri, muri new e.
Ka tangi roimata, maumahara,
Nga whakaaturanga matapihi.
Tuarua: Te marama e kore I kitea,
Na konei, ko te whiu, I tea o nei,
E pumau kia kume te aria e,
Tirohia te aria matapihi.
Chorus: Ka rapa noa nga mahara kei whea ra.
Ko wai e tau nei I a koe.
Me kume te aria kia mohio ano
Te aroha kei reira mo koe ra.
Tuatoru: Ka hikoi korua mo ake
Waihotia na pouri, mamaetanga,
Ka nga ra whiti-mai apopo,
Tu where te aria matapihi,
Whiti ra te aria matapihi.
Verse 1: When you walk through the world all alone,
And your dreams turn to ashes behind you,
Then the tears in your eyes will remind you,
Of a vein through a lace covered window.
Verse 2: Doesn’t seem very clear anymore,
In your world everything is uncertain,
How you wish you could pull back the curtain,
Just to see through that lace covered window.
Chorus: But you’ll never know what life has in store,
What’s waiting there to greet you.
So pull back the curtains and maybe once more,
True love is there to meet you.
Verse 3: So you walk side by side through the world,
No more times full of darkness & sorrow,
Every day is a bright new tomorrow,
When you open that lace covered window,
Let the sun through that lace covered window.
For centuries Te Puia Springs has been a sanctuary of cultural significance and healing for Māori. The site is particularly significant for Ngāti Porou, but was also known as a place of peace, where Māori from other tribes and people in conflict, could come to heal in safety. This historical context sits firmly beneath the recognition that redeveloping the hospital facilities at Te Puia is a key step to improving the health of our people within one generation.
This year, with support from New Zealand Lottery we have been able to have completed an independent Feasibility Study on the redevelopment of the facilities in Te Puia. The study has been carried out by Impact Consulting and looks at the potential not for a ‘bigger hospital’, but rather to redesign the existing infrastructure and unlock the potential for a more holistic facility which will better serve our community. The project is an invitation which seeks to draw other significant community stakeholders together in Te Puia to collaboratively improve health, social and economic outcomes for our region.
When we think of “health”, most people instantly think of preventing or curing physical sickness ie. a hospital. However, from a Māori perspective health is more about wellbeing. It encompasses much more than our bodies and is intrinsically linked to all we do, including our social interactions with others. It is fantastic to have a document which really unpacks the details of what this could look like and what is needed to bring it to reality. We believe this Feasibility Study will be a powerful tool in helping us move forward with this important project.