On the 11th and 12th of October, during Mental Health Awareness week, Te Rau Matatini held a two-day wānanga in the Midlands region focused on Māori peer support workforce development. In particular, this wānanga was an opportunity for kaimahi with lived experience of Mental Health and/or Addictions to come together to share kōrero and learnings.
Held at the Waikato-Tainui College for Research and Development at Hopuhopu, the wānanga included presentations from Dr Maria Baker (Pouwhakahaere – CEO, Te Rau Matatini), Tui Taurua-Peihopa, and Leilani Marakau (Mana o Te Tangata Trust Peer-led Services).
Dr Maria Baker (Pouwhakahaere – CEO, Te Rau Matatini) started the wānanga by sharing the findings from her PhD Seeking Solutions to Being Restricted. Seeking Solutions to Being Restricted provides an integrated theory of insights into the intimate experiences of Māori with mental illness and mental health services and offers recommendations for change.
Tui-Taurua-Peihopa shared her journey over the last 20 years, as one of the first ‘tangata whaiora’ working in the sector. Her kōrero included the challenges she overcame by creating her model of wellbeing "Seek the mind of a Warrior", which she developed to determine her own recovery and successes drawn on Te Ao Māori as a wahine Māori.
Leilani Marakau spoke about the work that is being achieved by her organisation, Mana o Te Tangata Trust Peer-Led Services. The stories resonated with everyone present.
This wānanga inspired and generated hope about what is possible for when kaimahi and tangata accessing services are supported and empowered to have a voice and to follow their dreams.