Project takes supporting youth development to the community

Tuesday 16 February 2021

Locality 2 - Whakapiki ake Taitamariki - Onerahi Community Garden.jpg

A project led by the Whangārei South healthcare locality is getting out into the community to help young people develop well and be mentally well.

Whakapiki ake Taitamariki’s first community event for 2021 was held at the Onerahi Community Gardens on Wednesday 10 February to help strengthen services and support for local young people.

Around 30 Onerahi locals joined in the event, including whānau, young people, community group representatives, teachers, and nannies with their mokopuna.

Whakapiki ake Taitamariki Coordinator Sapi Iuliano said the project team wanted to connect with the community in their own space, especially whānau and young people, to build and strengthen relationships.

“We chilled over kai together and talked about our services and opportunities to collaborate with other stakeholders working to support local young people. We also got some of the local taitamariki involved in a youth group to mentor others and help organise events and activities by and for young people."

Mahitahi Hauora Portfolio and Locality Lead Bernie Hetaraka said the Whakapiki ake Taitamariki project emerged from hui held in 2020 with communities in Raumanga, Onerahi, Bream Bay and Dargaville. a

“Our communities told us our first priority should be to support the development of our taitamariki. They wanted more youth workers, support for young people to set goals and achieve milestones such as getting a driver’s licence, improved access to healthcare services for young people, and more recreational events and activities for young people,” she said.

“The collaborative way of working in a healthcare locality made Whakapiki ake Taitamariki possible. Localities bring healthcare practices and providers, community and social services, and local community and whānau together to deliver health and social care in partnership. Our projects are guided by the priorities of the community.”

In the Whangārei South locality, primary health entity Mahitahi Hauora is working in partnership with Whangārei Youth Space, healthcare providers, community groups and whānau on the Whakapiki ake Taitamariki project. The locality is one of six that Mahitahi Hauora is introducing across Te Tai Tokerau.

Whakapiki ake Taitamariki is introducing youth workers to mentor young people and organise activities and events. It has appointed Ms Iuliano as project coordinator at Whangārei Youth Space to lead and support the youth workers, and has recruited a social worker at based at Whangārei Youth Space who identifies the needs of young people, helps them to identify their strengths and increase their resilience, and connects them with other support services they might need.

An information event about the project will be held in Onerahi from 3pm to 5pm on Tuesday 9 March, and is open for all to attend. The location will be confirmed on Whangārei Youth Space’s Facebook page closer to the event. Further community events will be held approximately once a fortnight, and people can follow Whangārei Youth Space’s Facebook page for information about future events.