By Paige Sillaby, 2nd year MDP student
My field placement is with Te Whānau O Waipareira, a Māori health organization located in the largest urban Māori populated city in Aotearoa New Zealand. They offer over 60 different services catering to justice, social, education and health to the Whānau (family) of West Auckland. All services at Waipareira operate within a Whānau Ora framework, a holistic approach to service delivery in which Māori health and wellbeing is centered around the Whānau and not the individual and also premised on the belief that Whānau are their own change agents. Whānau comes first at Waipareira! At Waipareira, all services and programs are strategically designed to support and awhi (help) the entire Whānau including; pepi (babies), tamariki (children), rangatahi (young people), matua (adults), and kaumatua (elderly).
I am working with an amazing team from the Wai-Atamai sector of Waipareira, which consists of three (3) main work streams:
- Wai- Research - community Indigenous research unit;
- Change and Transformation – developing and embedding change and transformation skills and adaptive leadership across the organization; and
- Strategy, Innovation, Design and Digital Content – bringing the strategic plan to life, piloting and developing innovative approaches within an urban Indigenous context and utilizing design and digital content to illustrate and showcase.
More specifically I am located within the Strategy and Innovation stream which consists of six staff working on the long terms outcomes of Waipareira programming and ensuring strategic milestones are progressing. My main project at Waipareira has been working on a program evaluation for their Rautaki Māori Rauemi. Rautaki is a Te Reo Māori word meaning ‘strategy’, and Rauemi meaning ‘resource’. The Rautaki is essentially an incubated language program within the Wai-Atamai team, which encourages Waipareira staff to practice Te Reo Māori (Māori language) and Tikanga (cultural practices) within the work place. With this evaluation I hope to highlight some next steps on how to spread their Rautaki Māori across the Waipareira organization.
|Hoki and Chips in Mission Bay|
Through my time here I have gained an understanding of the parallels between Māori and First Nations language health. I believe that Māori of New Zealand are leading the way in terms of Indigenous language revitalization in education: Kohanga Reo (preschool), Kura Kaupapa (primary), Wharekura (secondary), Te Tohu Paetahi, and Te Ataarangi (total immersion); and in work practices, Rautaki Māori. When I return to Canada, I hope to incorporate similar practices into my personal and professional life. I am inspired to learn my language (Ojibway), and use Ojibway words in everyday communication.
In my spare time, I enjoy exploring Aotearoa with fellow MDP student Sarah Wood, who is also conducting her field placement at Waipareira. The staff at Waipareira have been truly amazing, providing us with tons of recommendations and invites. Some highlights from our experience in Aotearoa have been; Waiheke Island, seeing a kiwi in Rotorua, the Waitamo glow worm caves, a rugby game, Hobbiton movie set and eating at every fish and chip shop.