We have professionally and culturally competent staff who visit homes, marae, workplaces or wherever people feel comfortable. They are a complementary mix of nurses and doctors, health educators and promoters, social and youth workers and other allied health workers, as well as business, ICT, marketing, administration and HR staff.
In many of our services kaiāwhina walk alongside clients and their whānau, offering practical support and education, co-ordinating transport, supporting clients at appointments and finding out about related services. Kaumātua and kuia help address cultural aspects of mental unwellness as well as advocating for tangata whai ora.
Read about the jobs our staff do and the people they help.
An opportunity to be one part in a bigger whole, appealed to Dr Emma Thompson when she approached Tui Ora Family Health about a job as a GP. “I find the holistic point of view better for overall health.
Five years in her role hasn’t dimmed the energy of Nadja Bernhardt, Activity Based Recovery Programme Co-ordinator at Tui Ora. With a Masters in social work, she left Germany eight years ago and headed to what she thought was the other side of the world.
Another round of tertiary training didn’t deter Trish Sison from tackling the area of mental health nursing. She grew up and studied in the Philippines, completing a degree level nursing qualification.
As a Kiwi tour guide, Krista Harrison once journeyed with foreign backpackers - now she's walking alongside young people (taiohi) in South Taranaki. New to her position as youth worker at Youth Service at Tui Ora, she supports taiohi to return to education, training or employment or to access youth payments.* Those two parts to her job involve mentoring, goal setting, understanding what else is going on in a young person’s life, helping them tap into networks and generally ensuring their future is brighter.
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.
The Vocational Support Service (VSS) at Tui Ora has all the bases covered. Between them, the four staff bring experience in rehabilitation, counselling, HR/recruitment and mental health support work to their roles.
Bernard Leuthart is looking forward to empowering people in need of a hand-up now he’s been appointed as Clinical Director at Tui Ora. “I feel very excited about the role due to the scope of services being offered,” says Bernard.
Whānau Ora Team Leader Georgia Kenyon understands what it's like to stand up against a health system that doesn't always seem to be on the side of the people it's meant to be helping. Two of Georgia's four children were born with a disability.
Shelley Johnston has many strings to her bow, including degrees in behavioural science and physical education, but a bachelor degree in alcohol and drug studies led to her role as an AOD (Alcohol and Other Drugs) specialist. Shelley joined the Tui Ora whānau in August 2017 and is enjoying the change from the DHB where she worked in the same area, but in a hospital environment.
Mama Pēpe Tamariki Ora nurse, Romane Stockman is relatively new to Tui Ora and new to nursing. Graduating as a registered nurse in 2015 the Okato born and bred nurse joined Tui Ora in 2016.
Markham Grey (on far right) began working as a kaiāwhina at Tui Ora in August 2014, but from May 2017 his title changed to Kaitiaki Taiohi. Over the past two and a half years, his role has evolved and the title more accurately expresses his specific work in supporting and being a mentor to young people.
Dr Gal Carmi is a GP at Tui Ora Family Health. He moved to New Zealand with his family from Israel, having spent the previous six years as a family physician and the last one and a half years as a clinic manager in the Northern part of the country.
As a business analyst for Tui Ora, Hone Rata works with staff to examine their business process and procedures. Together they find new and improved ways to complete these tasks.
An opportunity to be one part in a bigger whole, appealed to Dr Emma Thompson when she approached Tui Ora Family Health about a job as a GP.
“I find the holistic point of view better for overall health. At Tui Ora, there is a a range of other services onsite and they work well together – it’s nice to have them on your side.
“Here you can go and talk to another colleague and you feel you are not alone in your patient care. It’s not just you and the patient.”
Emma opted to become a GP after completing her training at Otago University in 2014 because she likes the variety the job offers, its flexibility, focus on prevention and the chance to build relationships, more so than in a secondary setting.
“You see people multiple times, with their whānau, their kids, in their own clothes - you get a better picture of what real life is like for them rather than in a gown in a hospital bed."
“I also like the prevention side of medicine. We want people to be healthy in their communities, and this way we get to address problems early.”
One of the challenges of general practice is time and trying to ensure each consultation is the most fruitful for doctor and whanau.
“Often it’s a slow game. You have to build relationships over a number of times to identify a range of issues.
“But we have a really great team. Everyone gets along and understand if each other needs a bit of help.”
During her study Emma actively sought placements in a variety of places to get an accurate idea of the country and of rural medicine. After completing her training, she completed a surgical placement at Taranaki Base Hospital as well as working in paediatrics and women’s health
The region’s lifestyle and size appealed.
“The outdoors stuff and the smaller hospital gave it a great vibe compared to a bigger place. 13 of us started as house surgeons at the same time. None of us had lived here before but we are still good friends, brought together in Taranaki.”
A keen surfer and mountain biker she competes in events. She and her partner, a Canadian engineer, live at Ōākura.
Five years in her role hasn’t dimmed the energy of Nadja Bernhardt, Activity Based Recovery Programme Co-ordinator at Tui Ora.
With a Masters in social work, she left Germany eight years ago and headed to what she thought was the other side of the world. “After I finished my studies I decided to fulfill my dream to come to NZ because I knew about it since I was a teenager when I read an article about how you could snowboard and surf in one day. To be close to the ocean and the mountains - it was my passion to be in the outdoors so I took up the opportunity.”
As a student Nadja worked at school holiday camps for at-risk, vulnerable children.
“I really enjoyed making a difference in their lives by creating a caring environment and fun activities where they could enjoy themselves. And that set me on the path to studying social work.”
Prior to leaving Germany she also facilitated outdoor based programmes for groups including young offenders based on the concept of experiential learning to train social skills.
This experience is vital for her current position where she works alongside tangata whai ora whose wellbeing is impacted by mental health and addiction issues.
Most battle with long-term conditions and have required support for many years; for others support is short-term, lasting just a few months.
Tangata whaiora who join the programme often struggle with low self-esteem and anxiety, low motivation and energy levels, have limited social connections, are experiencing loneliness and isolation and often face multiple health challenges.
“Our activities provide a safe environment where whaiora can enjoy relationships with others, knowing that they are not alone and that there are others going through similar challenges in life and that creates hope and a sense of belonging.”
The programme is accessible to adults over 18 years who are supported by a clinical mental health key worker.
Client ability and wellness levels vary. The programme first establishes an individual’s wellbeing goals. Says Nadja: “We try to develop the programme with tangata whaiora needs, strength and interests in mind so we incorporate new activities’ as new people come on board.
“Within Tui Ora we have the opportunity to connect with other kaimahi and their skills. Currently we have a thai chi teacher involved in our relaxation workshops and kuia and kaumātua teaching cultural knowledge and protocols around waiata, karakia, whakapapa, Te Reo Māori and tikanga in a marae based setting.
“Embracing Te Ao Māori and working within the Whānau Ora framework provides a wide range of new positive experiences for both tangata whaiora and kaimahi.”
Self-stigma is strong, points out Nadja. But if people overcome internal barriers there are positive outcomes such as taking up volunteering roles, studying, going on to support others in the same situation or helping Nadja run activity groups as some tangata whai ora currently are.
“It’s very rewarding to witness positive changes like someone’s growth in confidence and being part of their journey to recovery.
“The other great thing is we try to have sessions in the community so we use local halls, sports clubs, outdoor facilities…. they are neutral venues where people are not labelled as mental health service users.”
Nadja enjoys networking with other similar organisations in the sector, and taps into a range of resources like the New Start Community Gardens and the Community Café at Taranaki Cathedral.
“I appreciate my role a lot because it’s about focusing on people’s strengths and assisting people to feel good about themselves.”
Her ‘medicine’ is not pills (although the reality is that many tangata whai ora will need to take medication) but other parts of health that can rebalance a person’s wellbeing.
“I really enjoy working for Tui Ora as a kaupapa Māori organisation because the principles like whanaungatanga and manaakitanga represent my values as well. It means for me that we are not working in isolation. Instead it’s about creating connections with each other in the workplace and using the whānau ora approach as an amazing wrap around concept that strengthens people’s wellbeing, lifts their wairua and contributes to better outcomes.“
Another round of tertiary training didn’t deter Trish Sison from tackling the area of mental health nursing.
She grew up and studied in the Philippines, completing a degree level nursing qualification. But the NZ sector required her to re-study so she returned to tertiary training and completed a Bachelors Nursing Degree at WITT.
With two degrees to her name, she undertook further study, a postgraduate certificate in health sciences (mental health).
Now, as a registered nurse working in Te Whare Mahana & Tira Motuhake Service at Tui Ora, she speaks positively and warmly of the whānau whai ora she works alongside.
Trish is one of a 19-strong team that includes registered nurses and recovery support workers who work across different settings.
They support whānau to achieve their mental health and well-being when they live in Te Whare Mahana in Waitara; while the Tira Motuhake Service supports whānau to maintain mental health, well-being and independence in the community.
The job requires her to utilise standard nursing skills around assessing risk, providing care and giving and monitoring medication as well as safety planning and co-ordination with the health professionals involved in a person’s wellbeing.
Individuals have an allocated keyworker assigned to them as the contact for co-ordinated care, but nurses like Trish, working shifts and weekends, are available when allocated keyworkers can’t be.
“What I like about our work is we are there at the recovery stage so there are days when I go shopping and walking with whānau. Hospital mental health nurses in acute services don’t get to see that other part of a person, when they are getting well.
“Here, it’s a more hopeful environment because you see progress on a long-term basis. Mental health is a lifelong process and I’m in a privileged position to hold the torch for them. Those relationships are important because if things turn to custard there is a level of trust that helps people stay connected.”
Trish also enjoys the holistic, whānau ora approach that organisations like Tui Ora take, and coming from another country is comfortable with the role of culture in wellbeing.
“It reminds me of home because the Philippines is a very family-orientated country and whānau ora embodies that – the fact that people place value on welcoming each other, there’s always kai and a sense of hospitality.
“It might be Māori, I might be from the Philippines but if feels like home.”
As a part of the larger Tui Ora organisation, the service she works in can access a host of support for whānau – it might be the Day Activity Programme to provide activities, outings and social connection, the Physical Health Outcomes Programme to support a person’s physical wellbeing or vocational support services to help people return to employment or training.
These are on top of other clinical services – it means whānau care is comprehensive and culturally appropriate as well as support for kaimahi being strong and collegial.
“You are definitely making more of a difference than fixing up a wound and sending someone home. It’s a different kind of caring that I appreciate. So many parts are involved in it: Physical - because of the side effects of psychotic medication – as well as social, historical, cultural.”
As a Kiwi tour guide, Krista Harrison once journeyed with foreign backpackers - now she's walking alongside young people (taiohi) in South Taranaki.
New to her position as youth worker at Youth Service at Tui Ora, she supports taiohi to return to education, training or employment or to access youth payments.*
Those two parts to her job involve mentoring, goal setting, understanding what else is going on in a young person’s life, helping them tap into networks and generally ensuring their future is brighter.
Brought up on a South Taranaki farm, Krista was schooled in New Plymouth then moved onto further study. While Krista initially started studying at university, she found training through Workforce Development in Napier more relevant to her strengths and passion for youth. She completed a Level 6 Diploma, and did placements through Youthline where she facilitated group programmes in high schools.
Krista is passionate about supporting and motivating people with life challenges and has worked in the areas of brain injuries, spinal injuries and intellectual disabilities.
She has been travelling and working overseas for the last four years. From Australia to America and Europe, she then settled in the UK where she was working with clients with spinal injuries. The travel also included her stint as a tour guide in New Zealand where herding young backpackers as well as playing Mother Hen ensured she was constantly on the go.
And as a 15-year-old she also completed a year-long school exchange in Costa Rica – so seeing other worlds through different eyes is something she is used to.
The job vacancy at Youth Service, based in the Hawera office, came up at the perfect time. Back living in Taranaki, Krista was keen to put her evolving skills and experience into practice.
“When I was growing up we had foster children in our house and I think, from that, I thought, ‘wow, there’s so much that can be done to support somebody’ and ‘what road am I going to take to do that."
“Now that I’ve had some experience I’m passionate about education and learning, and its role in a young person’s development.”
Issues confronting taiohi are varied. “They often feel let down by different services and have been pushed from one place to another, without ongoing support.
“You need to consider the whole wellbeing of a person – all the things that impact on a young person’s including whānau interaction.”
Being part of Tui Ora held huge appeal when she saw the job advertised. “In Tui Ora everyone within their different services holds so much knowledge and I feel I can tap into that….I feel I will be well-supported.
“Also, being a Maori organisation means there’s a more holistic viewpoint. The cultural principles [called Te Raukura] we have here, really resonated….and everyone, no matter your cultural affinity, should be working in this way.”
Krista joins Ngapera Chadwick in the Tui Ora South Taranaki office, working in Youth Service contracts for NEETs (Not in Education, Employment and Training) and YP (Youth Payment) which helps young people aged 16 or 17 who can't live with their parents or guardian and aren't supported by them or anyone else.
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.”
The Vocational Support Service (VSS) at Tui Ora has all the bases covered.
Between them, the four staff bring experience in rehabilitation, counselling, HR/recruitment and mental health support work to their roles.
Karyn Hill and Karina Whitelaw are the newest members of the team, joining existing staff Renee Norman and Diane Riddick.
The varied skills and strengths of the VSS means the support provided to tangata whai ora is comprehensive, empathetic and practical.
Karyn and Karina started work at Tui Ora on September 3. Karyn has completed a Bachelor of Counselling at WinTech in Hamilton having worked for many years in the disability sector as a support worker. Her study helped ensure she is qualified in an area she has long been passionate about. Her interest is working with adults dealing with trauma.
The job at Tui Ora appealed because she could put into practice the skills she learnt in her training, as well as help others.
New Plymouth was the city in which she spent her teenage years, but after 30 years away raising two girls she's moved back home to be closer to her parents who are having a new lease of life at Summerset rest home.
Karina's different background makes her a welcome addition to the team. Passionate about the link between physical and mental wellbeing, she has trained in health, fitness and yoga. Not only that, she worked for a number of years in the recruitment industry.
She began her working life in Auckland for a PHO (primary health organisation) in front and back office roles, moved to a position with a Māori health provider where she helped organise events for tangata whai ora, and then relocated to Australia.
Across the ditch Karina worked in HR and recruitment which she really enjoyed, before embarking on further overseas travel. This included a stint studying yoga in India for a few months.
"That pushed me forward in my interest, in my knowledge of health and in wanting to help others."
She returned to New Zealand last year and while looking around for somewhere to live settled on New Plymouth because of its "laid back lifestyle."
While the VSS team works in different geographical areas, their complimentary interests and backgrounds mean they allocate referrals based on an individual's need.
They focus on the different stages of a person's entry to work: Pre-vocation, vocational and post placement.
Increasingly, they are aware that the traditional 40-hour a week job doesn't often suit tangata whai ora, so they are exploring options and using opportunities presented by new technology.
This includes encouraging people to set up stalls at markets where they could sell seedlings raised from seed, homemade craft, fresh juices, repurposed clothing, beeswax wraps. Or other options such as online trading, small business ventures and musical performances.
The VSS team supports this self-generated enterprise by providing advice on tax obligations, recording of income and expenditure, and other small business/self-employed information.
Possibilities also arise out of volunteering and work experience.
"They help tangata whai ora establish new routines; encourage them to get up and get out at a certain time and, in some cases, do physical work such as take part in working bees at places like Pukeiti and Tupare," says Karyn. Agrees Karina: "It's not all about paid employment. Sometimes it's about establishing a relationship or building confidence, motivation and communication skills."
And once people have secured paid employment the support doesn't necessarily stop. The service will work with an employer and employee on a supported work plan to ensure there's a collaborative approach benefiting everyone.
Often tangata whaiora don't know how to get from point A to point B; visual tools and mapping exercises help bridge this gap and identify road blocks along the way.
The service emphasises its role is one of doing it with not for people – and that it's a journey.
"Our role is to facilitate a person with their vocational goals. It's not about what we or whānau believe they should be doing but what they want to do, tapping into passions and hobbies and giving them the means to move from one point to the next" says Karyn.
*The other members of the VSS are Renee Norman and Diane Riddick
Bernard Leuthart is looking forward to empowering people in need of a hand-up now he’s been appointed as Clinical Director at Tui Ora.
“I feel very excited about the role due to the scope of services being offered,” says Bernard.
“I want to help people understand that it may take time to tease out medical problems from the social problems so one of our trials is to look at a consult as a long-term relationship.”
Bernard’s philosophy in life is to let their good flow. “Our first task is to be happy and kind - it’s a great way to approach general practice,” he says.
“There are big challenges in terms of people’s needs in every domain, not just the physical. It’s about working out how can we do this together?”
Bernard loved the last 16 years working as a GP at his Lower Hutt practice in Wellington but is excited about returning to his family’s roots since moving into his grandfather’s Blagdon home with his three adult children and wife Kathleen.
“It’s a nice feeling having an anchor and coming home to our family connection.’
The former Francis Douglas Memorial College student left Taranaki in 1981 for Wellington’s Victoria University and spent 13 years completing a BA in English Literature, a Diploma in
Teaching and a Graduate Diploma in Arts.
“For my BA I got an E in the entrance paper for law which didn’t mean excellence in those days,” he laughs.
Teaching in London was an entertaining experience before returning to Wellington to teach at St Patrick’s College and Sacred Heart College.
“Kiwi teachers were famous for taking any class from English, Religion, Classics, Arts Geography to Maths. The students thought we were fakes to cover so many subjects.”
But Bernard’s heart finally settled on a career in medicine, which meant another five years of study.
“I applied for medical school so I could balance my fascination between arts and science.”
While it was a challenging time starting a family, Bernard says it was only possible thanks to Kathleen, an educational expert, who supported him for five years while studying at Otago University.
“I hadn’t studied science for 13 years so everything had changed but being a married mature student had its advantages for focusing towards a goal.”
Bernard looks forward to partnering with Tui Ora Chief Executive Officer Hayden Wano to create positive change. “Hayden is visionary about whanau strength and being aspirational.”
Despite Tui Ora already offering low-cost medical care, Bernard looks forward to the day when even lower rates are offered to struggling families.
Whānau Ora Team Leader Georgia Kenyon understands what it's like to stand up against a health system that doesn't always seem to be on the side of the people it's meant to be helping.
Two of Georgia's four children were born with a disability. Her son is severely dyslexic. He entered a school system in a time when dyslexia wasn't widely understood, often misdiagnosed or ignored. Her daughter is legally blind.
Determined that the children would lead fulfilling and normal lives Georgia started navigating the health system for her own children first. Those experiences inspired Georgia to help other whānau, and has proved invaluable in her mahi at Tui Ora.
Georgia started work at Tui Ora first as a kaiāwhina in 2016, taking on the role as Whānau Ora Team Leader in September last year.
Trained as a nurse, Georgia says she would have stayed on that career path but advocating on behalf of her kids became a full time job in itself:
"I became very involved in the education side of things. I didn't see why my kids couldn't have a normal education in mainstream schools with a bit more support.
"Just because my daughter was blind we didn't want her to be reliant on services for the rest of her life."
"I wanted to ensure she had the best chance of living independently on her own as an adult. She left home when she finished school, and she is more than capable of looking after herself."
On a day-to-day basis Georgia is working with her team, assessing referrals, working out who in her team is best equipped to help a whānau, and meeting clients herself.
"We are such a blessed team because we have such depth of experience and skills and that's a real strength in supporting our families."
Inspiring whānau is a big part of what the team try to achieve:
"We need to be realistic and it's usually one step at a time. If you can get a whānau thinking about the wellbeing of their kids then that's often a good way to get them moving."
"Ok so you want to get your kids to play sport, then let's work on getting a car to get them there, and on a job that can pay for the dance lessons or the cricket bat or whatever it is."
Georgia says that community today is an abstract concept, with many traditional communities be it school, church or whānau being fragmented, weak or broken. Much of what she and her team try to achieve is about putting that back together.
"Every person has their rightful place to stand in their community. Acknowledging that, respecting that and feeling part of something is healthy, it's good, and it's what we want for our own families and for the whānau we serve."
Shelley Johnston has many strings to her bow, including degrees in behavioural science and physical education, but a bachelor degree in alcohol and drug studies led to her role as an AOD (Alcohol and Other Drugs) specialist.
Shelley joined the Tui Ora whānau in August 2017 and is enjoying the change from the DHB where she worked in the same area, but in a hospital environment.
"I really enjoy connecting with the community. It happens here in a way I hadn't experienced before where we regularly visit clients in their homes."
Shelley works alongside colleague Rod Vennik caring for clients who have mental health and addiction problems. They support tangata whaiora to set their own recovery goals and support them through the process.
"Building a good rapport with clients is essential. They need to feel comfortable telling you the truth, knowing that you won't judge them and that you will still help them.
"Usually there is an underlying issue that creates bigger problems down the path. You need to address that problem and try and solve that before you can move on. People often need help untangling their thoughts and understanding why they do what they do."
Shelley says that alcohol, due to its relative affordability and availability, can be hugely damaging to individuals and their families. Alcohol dependence and chronic relapsing often have knock on effects, such as family violence and financial hardship, that have a spiral affect on whānau.
Shelley says understanding where a client is at before they begin treatment is key:
"Are they contemplating their recovery, are they determined to get better? You then need to work on a realistic and achievable plan to help them get there."
Shelley works collaboratively with other support services in Tui Ora, as well as external support agencies like Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous.
Originally, from Taranaki, Shelley has lived and studied in San Francisco. She has a 20-year-old son.
Mama Pēpe Tamariki Ora nurse, Romane Stockman is relatively new to Tui Ora and new to nursing. Graduating as a registered nurse in 2015 the Okato born and bred nurse joined Tui Ora in 2016.
“I was a latecomer to nursing,” says Romane (pictured above) who previously worked in retail and had been busy raising children, Zack (10) and Ella (8). “But it’s the best job I’ve ever had.”
At Tui Ora, she is part of a team that visits clients in their own homes performing WellChild checks for tamariki, aged five and under.
WellChild checks are a series of free health visits that start at six weeks and cover everything from monitoring a child’s growth and development, to offering advice on breastfeeding and baby’s nutrition and sleeping.
As children approach school-age, B4 school checks are carried out to test hearing and vision. The team also provide childhood immunisations, often in a client’s own home.
“It makes a big difference to our clients that we can visit them. Not everyone has transport and it can make the difference between a child being vaccinated or not.”
Romane worked alongside a colleague in her first weeks before she took on her own clients. She visits whānau across a geographical area that spreads from Fitzroy and Glen Avon in New Plymouth, through to Bell Block and as far as Lepperton and Brixton in North Taranaki.
A typical day starts in the office but Romane and her colleagues are usually on the road by 10am.
“On any given day I visit between three and five families. We are there to see the children but it’s often the mums or other members of the whānau who require support."
“It helps being part of such a diverse organisation where we can draw upon other colleagues to provide specialist support such as a lactation consultant to help mum with breastfeeding, or the stop smoking service if someone in the household is trying to quit smoking.”
Romane says some of the biggest challenges are recognising when a mother is suffering from post-natal depression or domestic abuse, and then getting them the help they require.
“Our priority is always the child but you can’t treat them in isolation if there are other problems in the household. That is one of the things I really like about my job. We take a holistic approach to health and provide a wraparound service.”
Romane has nursing in her blood, her grandmother and her aunt were both nurses, but it took a few false starts, including studying to be an electrical engineer before Romane followed the calling.
“We work in such a special place, we have fun, we support each other and we make a real difference to the whānau we serve. I feel really honoured and really lucky to be here.”
The Tui Ora team works alongside Plunket colleagues to ensure all whānau receive WellChild checks, care and support.
Markham Grey (on far right) began working as a kaiāwhina at Tui Ora in August 2014, but from May 2017 his title changed to Kaitiaki Taiohi.
Over the past two and a half years, his role has evolved and the title more accurately expresses his specific work in supporting and being a mentor to young people.
It also reflects the wrap-around, holistic approach he takes and the relationships he has built up in the community.
Markham, with typical modesty, says simply that his job compliments the cultural perspective of the relatively new Taiohi Ora service, which began operating at the beginning of 2018.
He works alongside a group of clinicians with the service aiming to support young people aged between 12-18 in a proactive manner, before mental wellness issues get out of hand.
“It is strengths based, it’s about enhancing resilience whether that be emotional or behavioural in a more positive way,” says Service Leader Tosca Lammerts van Bueren.
Markham’s role is to support that young person from the whānau perspective as well as run a cultural lens over a situation. It might be for example that he works with them on their family or whakapapa connection or helps them deal with anger from a cultural viewpoint.
“It’s a good example of the cultural and clinical staff working together – of the two processes aligning so we put a young person and their whānau at the centre,” says Tosca.
If a young person’s mental unwellness progresses to the secondary stage there is an established pathway to CAMHS (Child Adolscent and Mental Health Service) at Taranaki Base Hospital. It means all bases are covered – a multi-disciplinary approach can be taken, a brief intervention may happen and the young person discharged.
Throughout that process Markham will walk alongside a young person, helping them on the next step and empowering them to stand on their own.
Markham has shown himself to be a valuable kaimahi in building relationships with young people and their families. His past experience working in schools and as a former minister, means he brings many varied skills to the different roles he has carried out. For him the six Tui Ora Core Principles impact daily on his work: Wairuatanga, Tino Rangatiratanga, Whanaungatanga, Kotahitanga, Manaakitanga and Tikanga O Taranaki.
“I do my best to apply them in my life which prayerfully impacts on the way I practise my mahi and how I interact with everyone.”
The following proverb influences his daily mahi.
He aha te mea nui o te ao
What is the most important thing in the world?
He tangata, he tangata, he tangata
It is the people, it is the people, it is the people
* The reminder of the Taiohi Ora team is William Wells, Sandi Cummings and Jo Kindberg. Read more about the team and their work here.
Dr Gal Carmi is a GP at Tui Ora Family Health. He moved to New Zealand with his family from Israel, having spent the previous six years as a family physician and the last one and a half years as a clinic manager in the Northern part of the country. They settled in Oakura, a community he describes as warm and welcoming. "We already feel at home.”
In his free time, Gal enjoys spending time with his family, exploring Taranaki, surfing and cycling.
Getting used to the Kiwi health system was his first priority when assuming the GP role with TOFH in October 2015. “New beginnings are always challenging at first," reflects Gal. "Getting to know a new medical system and new methods of operation, in addition to new staff and team members and a different language, were sometimes overwhelming. Tui Ora were very supportive throughout the process, which enabled me to settle into my new role quickly and efficiently."
"I find the cultural aspect of the relationship between the patients and their GP highly important."
Up until October 2017, Gal was the Clinical Director at Tui Ora, until he decided to focus more on his GP work and his family - he and his wife have four young children. The role was pivotal in developments and initiatives at the practice and Gal laid down foundations for the role, which was only created last year.
“In the past year we have undergone an external assessment as part of the process of becoming a Cornerstone-accredited practice, he says. Being able to lead that and provide GP liaison was important.”
In addition, collaboration is now happening between TOFH and the Mental Health and Addictions Services at Tui Ora, in part due to the focus that a CD brings. The arrival of new psychiatrist Dan Shlosberg who previously worked in Israel where secondary services are more community based, was good timing. Now, multi-disciplinary team meetings are taking place which involve MHAS kaimahi and allow for a a more holistic approach to be taken of client care.
As well, community mental health nurse Sharon Robertson is working closely with the practice, helping assess patients who may be battling with mental health issues, determining their options such as counselling, or a referral to other services.
“All of this showed the CD’s role is a very important one,” says Gal. “I will still be around as part of the team but I'm freed up to focus on where I started, caring one-on-one for patients passing through the practice.
As a business analyst for Tui Ora, Hone Rata works with staff to examine their business process and procedures. Together they find new and improved ways to complete these tasks.
He also builds the IT systems that allow staff, where appropriate, to automate these processes.
Essentially, Hone is a middleman or link, giving those working within Tui Ora the tools to help them organise their workflow, make decisions, and improve the health and wellbeing of their clients.
He says it is the creativity and collaboration that makes his role enjoyable. He’s enthused by the chance to make the day to day mahi of Tui Ora kaimahi less complicated, freeing up their time to better serve their clients' needs.
In 2006 Hone began working for Tui Ora with one of his first responsibilities the building of a data management system for an allied PHO (primary health organisation).
He grew up in New Plymouth and he and his wife moved back to the city following stints overseas and in Wellington. They wanted their children to enjoy a Taranaki lifestyle, close to whānau.
Hone is continually inspired by his workplace. There’s camaraderie in his IT department and a genuine sense of passion from others within the organisation.
“I worked in the UK and people there were generally not working for the love of the job but the pay packet.”
The constant challenges and opportunities at Tui Ora keep the work interesting.
“As Tui Ora is always striving for improvement there is a real feeling of progress and I find my contribution to projects is meaningful and respected. Also, I like the fact that the organisation is not designed to make a profit or meet the demands of shareholders – as those working in a private company would be."
“The people I work with here honestly want to help their clients in the community to get well. That’s quite inspiring.”
He also notes there is a feeling of family or whānau inherent in the organisation.
“The emphasis for me - and what makes it different from other workplaces - is the real feeling of family or togetherness.”
Usually Hone is found in front of a screen – but his agreeable nature means he might also be roped in for another task. He happily obliges.
“The collegial feeling comes from the top down. Everybody is approachable. There’s no sense of superiority from anyone in the organisation.”