Te Haupai Korewha
Health Promoter , Oranga Hapori
Science, the environment and health – how do they all fit together?
Te Haupai Korewha, a Tui Ora health promoter, was mulling over the connection as a teenager. She left high school and enrolled in a science degree at Waikato University with an interest in earth and environmental science. “I looked on that as a holistic way of wellbeing – our connection with the environment. It was part of my interest in helping people.”
After three years of academia she returned to Taranaki, motivated by the need to earn more money to fund her training. Back home she was put in touch with WhyOra, the local trust working to get more Māori into the health sector. They helped her get a cadet role at Tui Ora, where she was introduced to health promotion.
“I loved the idea of seeing health through a public health-health promotion lens."
“It also reignited my passion for helping people because I had come from three years of academic study so I was very much in that world and this job [at Tui Ora] got me back into the real world.”
Last year Te Haupai gave birth to her first child and has now returned to Tui Ora after taking maternity leave.
She works alongside Sue Martin in health promotion for suicide prevention and problem gambling as well as co-facilitating a programme on resilience and wellbeing for taiohi (young people) at Waitara High School, with Markham Grey (Kaitiaki Taiohi) and Sandi Cummings (youth wellness clinician).
The scientist in her still exists and she’s determined to finish her degree.
“I still have science as an interest and I can see its relation through a wellbeing focus. Now we are dealing with the urgency of climate change it’s even more relevant. It’s good to know that what I was thinking back then is just as important.”
That scientific focus and some of her life experiences over the past few years, combined with a Te Ao Māori view are helping reconnect people to the importance of the land and wairuatanga, she says.
“Some of the workshops I’m doing now we are starting to look at Māori creation stories and how people can look at these stories and relate them to their own lives and their health and wellbeing.”