In partnership Vodafone New Zealand Foundation and Todd Foundation, we are excited to be developing innovative technology which will support parents on the Coast. This project is the first of its kind and has the potential to revolutionise parent’s engagement with children’s health development. The name Pēpi Ora came from a group of young whānau in Ngāti Porou. Pēpi means a baby in infancy and Ora is a state of wellbeing, to be healthy, fit and alive. The app will be an incentive-based programme for young families that takes the ‘Gold Card’ idea, but instead rewards parents for the important contribution they make to NZ society, and improves it by including a points collection and rewards program.
Young parents join our programme at their first antenatal appointment and once fully developed, will be able to collect points through activities such as attending health appointments, completing immunisations and developing and implementing a whānau ora plan. The potential to increase young parent’s active engagement in the health, development and education of their child is currently untapped in New Zealand. The physical Well Child/Tamariki Ora booklet is often forgotten by parents attending appointments, and very seldom looked at between appointments. Pēpi Ora will revolutionise these old systems by offering something that is engaging and culturally-sensitive. The interaction whanau will have with technology through the app, we believe will support actively engaged young parents and as a result, improve future outcomes for our next generation.
In October 2017 Ngāti Porou Hauora’s Frances King and Laine Tangaire a rangatahi (youth) from Rangitukia spent six weeks at the Vodafone NZ Foundation’s Change Accelerator Program surrounded by a team of tech experts from Dev Academy and Vodafone. This unique opportunity saw the concept of Pēpi Ora come to life through a prototype which we have now taken back to the Coast for development. This year we are undertaking a formal trial of the program with whānau on the coast and local businesses. Evaluation from this will inform the development of the next phase: a ‘native app’ that we can roll out across the whole community. This project is the first of its kind and has the potential to be scaled locally, nationally and internationally. Scaling the program will be dependent on the success of this pilot and the level of interest from key stakeholders including the Ministry of Health, NGOs such as Plunket, Māori health service providers and local businesses contributing to the rewards programme. Once trialed and refined into an attractive, functional app; this program has great potential.