'Driven by their heart': Social services provider offers mums and babies a choice

Te Tai o Marokura’s Kahu Taurima  (first 2000 days care) team of Whānau Ora kaimahi (worker)...
Te Tai o Marokura’s Kahu Taurima (first 2000 days care) team of Whānau Ora kaimahi (worker) Donna Solomon (left), Tamariki Ora nurse Helen Tindall, and kaiāwhina Lisa Kahu, Jamie Posa and Lani Prentice is now supporting mums and babies in the Hurunui district and south Marlborough. Missing is kaiāwhina Hurunui Sarah Cotton. Photo: Supplied by Te Tai o Marokura
Supporting mums and babies in the Hurunui district is the realisation of a dream for a Kaikōura social services provider.

Te Tai o Marokura is now offering its Kahu Taurima (first 2000 days care) service to mothers, newborns and whānau in Hanmer Springs, Waiau, Rotherham, Culverden and Cheviot, and in Ward, south Marlborough.

‘‘It was the dream of our founder Miriama Kahu and it has always been a dream to offer the services to the entire takiwā (territory),’’ kaiāwhina Lisa Kahu said.

Te Tai o Marokura was founded 46 years ago by Miriama Kahu with a vision of supporting the health needs of all people living within the Kaikōura takiwā (territory).

The agency offers a range of health and social services in Kaikōura and beyond through a kaupapa Māori lens.

It has been offering the Kahu Taurima service in Kaikōura for 24 years, supporting ‘‘māmā and pēpi’’ and whānau from pregnancy and for the first 2000 days.

Funding was secured in October to operate as a Well Child Tamariki Ora provider in the northern part of the Hurunui district and in south Marlborough.

Since then the Kahu Taurima team has grown from two to six staff and is advertising for nurses to meet a growing demand.

‘‘It has been steadily growing since October and now we are getting referrals every week,’’ Mrs Kahu said.

‘‘We are really excited about how it has taken off and how it has been received in the pockets out in Cheviot, Waiau, Rotherham, Culverden and Hanmer Springs.

‘‘It has been so heartening and for many of them who have lived in the area for a long time and have older children, this is the first time they have had a choice.’’

She said the agency did not see itself as competing against other service providers such as Plunket, but it was about offering whānau a choice.

Hurunui Mayor Marie Black, a former Plunket nurse, said she is impressed with the new service.

‘‘Every time I hear of how the service is going, it feels like it is really driven by their heart for the job and a heart for the people and when you’ve got that everything else will fall into place.

Te Tai o Marokura’s main office is marae-based at Takahanga Marae, while clinical and support services are delivered from a house environment in Westend, Kaikōura.

The agency is looking for a house in the Hurunui district as a base to support the growing service, Mrs Kahu said.

Having a house environment ‘‘creates a comfortable atmosphere and it is a relaxing environment to have education sessions, clinics and drop ins’’.

Te Tai o Marokura has had Whānau Ora navigators in the Hurunui district for five years, which supported the Covid response in local schools.

The agency also offers mental health, and drug and alcohol services, and supports cancer screening services for women within the Kaikōura takiwā.

By David Hill, Local Democracy Reporter

■ LDR is local body journalism co-funded by RNZ and NZ On Air.