Family harm reduction programme receives funding boost

L-R - Intervention Coordinator, Cherie Lang, Korowai Aroha CEO, Hariata Vercoe, Rotorua Trust Trustee, Mike Keefe and Intervention Coordinator, Rebecca Ford-Rippa


Korowai Aroha, a kaupapa Māori organisation, has been granted $191,000 by Rotorua Trust to employ two paearahi (navigators) to help reduce intergenerational family harm in Rotorua.

The over-arching NZ Police Rotorua Whānau Harm and Drug Harm Reduction Programme kick-started in August and will soon have the addition of two new paearahi will help support more families in the community.

The Programme works with high recidivist offenders using an all of whānau approach by addressing factors contributing to dysfunctional behavior including alcohol and drug addiction and mental health conditions.

Korowai Aroha Chef Executive, Hariata Vercoe says Rotorua’s family harm and drug harm statistics are alarmingly high and require a collective and alternative approach to reducing harm and breaking the cycle.

“The grant from Rotorua Trust is an instrumental resource for us, enabling the employment of two full time paearahi who will work alongside the Rotorua Whānau and Drug Harm team to address immediate whānau needs.”

“The paearahi offer a unique relationship and can relate with many walks of life to understand the client and whānau situation. They help strengthen connections and work towards aspirational goals that benefit their wider whānau while building on the unique strengths the whānau already has .”

“We have been offering health and social services since 1992 to provide a choice between traditional healing practices and western conventional medicine – the paearahi roles align with our ethos of helping predominately low income people seek out alternative health services to find safe, effective and comprehensive services to improve their haoura (wellbeing).”

The Programme addresses family harm through a coordinated, multi-agency, whole of whānau approach in three stages.

Stage One identifies Unique Priority Whānau via referrals from agencies such as Department of Corrections Probation Service, the Bay of Plenty Prisoner Hub and Te Pae Oranga.

Entire whānau participate in the Stage Two Resilience Retreat, which encourages building skills and tools to deal with day-to-day stressors in order to interrupt intergenerational cycles of family harm, drug abuse, poor health and social outcomes.

Stage Three of the initiative is providing ongoing monitoring and support for families. Regular noho marae (overnight stays) are held to maintain support and relationships, while whānau decide when they are ready to leave the programme.

Rotorua Trust Chairman, Stewart Edward, says addressing family harm is one of the Trust’s core priorities and notes the whole whānau approach will have wide-reaching benefits in the community.

“The work the navigators do to walk alongside vulnerable whānau is vital in reducing our family harm rates and supporting them into an improved wellbeing.”

The two paearai roles will be advertised in the coming weeks.

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