The first Oranga Pāmu Hauora Day has been held at Eyre Lodge, at Te Whenua Hou and organisers Ra Dallas and Elya Ameriks are enthusiastic about the future potential of the pilot event.
“Our aim was to get as many of our health providers as possible to engage with whānau on the farms, to introduce them to Ngāi Tahu Farming, so that we can work together to ensure the wellbeing and health of our farming whānau,” Ra says.
There are now around 130 people living in the Te Whenua Hou community and around a hundred of them took time out of their work day to attend the Hauora event. Farming staff and Whenua Kura students were provided with a ‘health passport’ and encouraged to visit the different providers offering everything from free blood pressure and eye tests to advice on diabetes, money management, sexual health, cardio-respiratory health, tax refunds, immigration dental care, insurance, breast screening, rongoā Māori and more.
“We want to do everything we can to help our Whenua Kura students and farming whānau to connect with each other and with their wider communities. It’s about empowering them to look after themselves and each other and it’s about encouraging them to have a say about what they need and how we are going to achieve it,” says Rā Dallas, the whānau community champion for Te Whenua Hou.
He says the initial pilot health day was a great success. Farm staff were about to take time out from their farm work, visit the health providers for their health checks and then return to work.
“We’d like to see this happening every year,” says Ra.
“And as it grows we hope to extend out to our wider community so it becomes a community event hosted by Ngāi Tahu Farming. I think it’s important to create a community environment where our people feel more socially connected and our Hauora Day is a positive step towards that.”
The event also included a successful hāngī – “That was a great success and in addition to demonstrating manaakitanga and whanaungatanga, it also encourages rangatiratanga and oranga – all key Ngāi Tahu values that we want to encourage every farmer to be a part of,” says Ra.