Maori health office open in Ashburton

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Staffing the new He Waka Tapu Ashburton office are, back row, Celia Colcord, Rana Kohunui, Juanita Richards, Teina Whittaker, front row, Brenda Warren and Ani Haua.

By Mick Jensen

Christchurch-based Maori health and social service provider He Waka Tapu has opened its new office in Ashburton.

There was a good turnout of regional staff and invited guests last week for the grand opening.

The new office was blessed, guests invited to tour the facility and a number of rousing songs were performed to celebrate the occasion.

The new office is at the entrance to the Tancred Street Mall and He Waka Tapu will offer youth and family support services.

The support services will cover a broad range of topics, including education, one-on-one whanau planning, advocacy and health.

He Waka Tapu worked with over 3000 individual children and families in Canterbury in 2018 and began offering outreach services in Mid Canterbury two years ago.

He Waka Tapu operations manager Tanith Petersen said demand for the service had increased in the district and it was an exciting step to open the dedicated office and to offer options to whanau.

Services were delivered using a kaupapa Maori framework and encompassed physical well-being, spiritual well-being and family well-being.

She said there would be seven staff in Ashburton, with further support options from the main office in Christchurch.

Staff were specialised in areas such as youth, whanau, mental health, Ministry of Justice protocol and integrated safety response.

The public was also welcome to drop into the new Ashburton office to check things out, said Tanith Petersen.

He Waka Tapu receives referrals from other social service agencies and also via a referral form on its website.

Ashburton staff include youth support worker Juanita Richards, who was a youth mentor in Methven for a number of years, and experienced whanau worker Brenda Warren. For more, visit the website hewakatapu.org.nz.