New strategy to strengthen cultural opportunities

December 1, 2021

A new Māori strategy is giving IDEA Services staff the confidence to explore cultural opportunities with the people we support.

Te Rautaki-Urupare Māori O IDEA Services 2020–2022 has been developed to increase the cultural capabilities of staff and improve the lives of Māori supported by IDEA Services.

The strategy was developed by Te Anga Pāua o Aotearoa, IDEA Services’ Māori Advisory Group. Since its creation more than six years ago, the group has been committed to all kiritaki (people we support) and staff having the opportunities and resources they need to understand kaupapa Māori and include it in their day-to-day activities.

“While our mission to achieve best outcomes for kiritaki Māori and their whānau has not changed, our strategic priorities have shifted to give greater emphasis to the cultural capability of our workforce,” says Vonny Davis, IDEA Services Regional Manager and Chair of Te Anga Pāua o Aotearoa.

“It’s about improving our own cultural practice and promoting ways that staff can build their confidence and understanding of te ao Māori, benefiting the people we support.”

Vonny says there are a number of ways we can do this. One way is to make the staff training package more accessible and to give staff more confidence in practising te reo and using their pepeha. She says the group is exploring how to increase cultural competency through recruitment. But most important is the need to encourage cultural practices such as pōwhiri and mihi whakatau to welcome staff, and karakia to open and close meetings. “That practice of karakia is permeating and being modelled by people in leadership positions.”

Te Anga Pāua o Aotearoa has already had an impact, providing opportunities and resources. In 2019, an Easy Read book about the Treaty of Waitangi was developed by the group in partnership with Tangata Tiriti – Treaty People. The book is a valuable resource that is accessible to people with intellectual disabilities, created so that everyone can understand their rights, learn and live their tikanga, and advocate for themselves.

Te Anga Pāua o Aotearoa is also behind the widely celebrated regional and national IDEA Services kapa haka festivals, which showcase the talent and tenacity of performers and provide them with opportunities to increase their knowledge of, confidence in and understanding of tikanga and te ao Māori.

Vonny says Te Anga Pāua o Aotearoa is looking at commissioning research that will identify and promote the benefits of kapa haka that we are already observing.

“The opportunity that has opened up for kiritaki in kapa haka has far exceeded our expectations in the personal growth of performers and in their whānau,” says Te Atakura Ryan, IDEA Services Kaitakawaenga and Te Anga Pāua o Aotearoa member.

“It is not only a physical uplifting, moving your body in line with singing a waiata or haka, but it is also a mental and spiritual lifting of a person’s wellbeing in every sense.”

Looking forward, Te Anga Pāua o Aotearoa will be excited to implement the new strategy, increasing the opportunities for the people we support to learn and engage with te ao Māori, enriching their lives.

Above: Te Anga Pāua o Aotearoa members and guests at the review of Te Rautaki-Urupare Māori O IDEA Services: (from left) Maia Renner, Keni Waikiri, Teena Harvey, Taki Peeke, Pam Houia-Mc-Greevy, Waata Houia, Georgie Meadows, Lianne Bryers, Te Atakura Ryan, Jan Dowland, Frank Macskay, Stephen Hallet, Vonny Davis, Mary Bradfield and Mike Galuszka.