Whanau Ora: Helen Leahy

The 2019 Whānau Ora Symposium, held by Te Putahitanga o Te Waipounamu, showcased the collective strength and capability of whānau to achieve better outcomes in areas such as health, education, housing, employment and income levels. As a  sponsor of the symposium, Rātā Foundation spoke to some of the organisers and speakers during the three-day event.

Te Putahitanga o Te Waipounamu chief executive Helen Leahy said the organisation wanted to “enable and empower” the Māori community.

“We want them to be in control of their lives, to be the architects of their own grand plan, to map out a destiny that’s fit for them and their mokopuna to follow” she said.

“Our organisation does what it can to support the aspirations of whānau, whether that’s walking alongside them or whether it’s investing in the enterprises  they create as vehicles to achieve transformation.”

Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu is a limited partnership entrusted by the Crown and owned by the nine iwi of Te Waipounamu through a Participants Council known as Te Taumata.

About 270 people attended the conference, which featured a range of speakers and a line-up of whānau-made items for sale.

Ms Leahy said whānau  follow seven ‘pou’ which fit with Te Putahitanga’s purpose and outcomes. These included self-management, participation in te ao Māori, and resilience.

“We have 179 initiatives which have been funded, alongside the 54 navigators who work alongside whānau.”

“We don’t tell you what to do or how you should do it, but we do want to understand why, and what the outcomes are.”