Bringing health services direct to whānau was the aim of the Hauora (health) Village at the 2015 Te Matatini national Kapa Haka Festival.
Canterbury District Health Board bought over 30 organisations together at the 30,000 strong event to showcase their services for Māori health. These included the Heart Foundation, Māori Women’s Welfare League, Science Alive, All Right? and the ICEcycles bike repair programme.
The Village model is based on te whare tapa whā – the four cornerstones (or sides) of Māori health: whānau (family health) tinana (physical health) hinengaro (mental health) and wairua (spiritual health).
Community and Public Health Māori Relationship Manager, Gail McLauchlan, was one of several kaiārahi who worked to ensure the village was a success. ‘Having a health presence at Te Matatini meant local whānau could meet the kaimahi who work in their communities and discuss how whānau can make healthier choices about their own health and wellbeing,’ says Gail.
People who visited the Hauora Village were also able to have a heart health check by qualified Māori practitioners from Otago University’s Christchurch School of Medicine.
Director of MIHI Associate Professor Suzanne Pitama says the response to the heart checks was overwhelming, with people lining up for clinics all day. ‘We were amazed so many people took time out of the event to get their heart health checked. It was great being able to talk to so many whānau about healthy lifestyles, exercise and nutrition. We advised some people to return to their GP for further follow up and worked alongside some of the other hauora organisations at the Village to facilitate other support for them. We were only required to arrange one admission to hospital,’ says Suzanne.
There are plans to continue the Hauora Village at future festivals. It’s a great example of working across sectors to improve Māori health outcomes.