New hands will soon be at the tiller of two South Auckland suburbs and the residents hope to see them navigate through troubled times.
After 18 months of waiting the Manurewa Advisory Group has been told it now has a contract with the Social Development Ministry to fund desperately needed "community navigators" in Randwick Park and Rata Vine in Wiri.
Group chairman Alan Shearer says the two communities themselves identified the need for a navigator-type role to create connections.
"Both communities felt that a person who knew the community and who understood how the various systems work would be able to help residents access services much better and also build on the strengths that already exist in the community," he says.
RaWiri Residents chairman Arthur Tuaau says the communities are working to build on their own strengths.
"Our community has a lot of talent but we don't know where those people are or what they have to offer.
"This person can help us grow – it is about being with us and not telling us what to do," he says.
Rata Vine stalwart Liz Kiriona has spent nearly the last decade dragging her neighbourhood away from trouble by its ears.
"We know what we want and where we are going – what we need are people to assist us to make it happen."
She's hoping the new navigator will do just that.
Over in Randwick Park resident Dave Tims says having an extra person around the community will help empower people to realise the full potential of the dreams and the skills that locals have.
"The answers to our issues lie here in our community and need to be solved in a way that is relevant to our community – that's the answer."
Manurewa Local Board and Counties Manukau District Health Board member Colleen Brown says she has been working with the communities for a number of years and is pleased with the navigator funding.
"This opportunity gives them the power to deliver services and support how they want and not through a series of different agency cars in their driveways," she says.
- © Fairfax NZ News