The Christchurch Methodist Mission is reconnecting with the Rehua Marae and local whānau in Ōtautahi (Christchurch) to provide an exciting new service for Māori older people.

A house wing of WesleyCare's Marblewood Hospital has recently been transformed. It is now a supportive living whare (house) for kaumātua (older people) which will be run with a kaupapa (care model) that is open to people of all cultures. Wesley Village Whare Tiaki (the name of the new house) will cater for older people to live independently while still receiving the care and support that they need.

Whare Tiaki has a total of 8 independent suites, each with their own shower and toilet. A kaiawhina (support person) will cook two meals per day for the residents and will support them to live independently. Oversight and assistance from personal carers, GP's and community support workers will carry on as normal. Whare Tiaki is based on a Māori health model of Te Whare Tapa Whā or the four cornerstones of Māori health - Taha tinana (physical health), Taha wairua (spiritual health), Taha whānau (family health) and Taha hinengaro (mental health).

Willow Wi-Parata is undertaking the kaiawhina role and is excited about the new initiative. "I will be taking all that I have learnt from my previous roles and using that knowledge and experience to support the kaumātua. I feel very privileged to be in this position," says Willow. "This is a whānau-centred approach. Whānau meet with those providing support to their loved one so they can develop a relationship. The carers and community support workers in turn take the time to get to know the kaumātua and their whānau and are flexible."

The impact of being together at Whare Tiaki is significant. "Many of the kaumātua are used to being in a Māori world. Being here means they know they will be supported and develop knowledge of their hauora (health needs). They support each other too. They don't exist independently of each other," says Willow.

Irihapeti Bullmore, one of the whānau committee members, also sees the significance of what CMM has offered to Ōtautahi whānau, hapū and iwi. "This is the first opportunity for kaumātua to identify a model of care that is most appropriate for them that meets their needs and be able to share taha Māori with all people."

For more information about Whare Tiaki or to arrange a visit please contact Irihapeti Bullmore on 027 467 7573 or Lynne Te Aika on 027 249 8954.

Picture caption: Willow Wiparata (Left) is pictured with Taua Tia Te Aika who was one of the first kaumātua to move in at Wesley Village Whare Tiaki.

Willow Tia WesleyWhare