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Family stress focus of open day

JAY BOREHAM
Last updated 05:00 25/07/2013
Manurewa Marae
Jay Boreham

STRENGTHENING WELCOME: Families are welcomed through the waharoa of the Manurewa Marae as mana whenua.

Dayja, Rua and Saraya
COMMUNITY: The Harris whanau’s Dayja, Rua and Saraya had a ball at the open day and their nanny Ngareta Nikora was impressed at the range of services on offer.

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Strengthening families before stress tips them over the edge is the best way to prevent them from turning to crime and violence.

That was the focus at an open day at Manurewa Marae last week.

Police and community providers were on hand to offer advice on how to eliminate the triggers that can lead families toward a downhill spiral.

Hundreds of the suburb's families were welcomed on to the marae as mana whenua and invited to make use of the services offered by both it and the providers.

Children were entertained with treats, bouncy castles, tugs of war and sporting events while their parents were offered advice on available services and parenting tips from The Parenting Show's Pio Terei.

The day was a result of a family violence hui at the marae at the end of May, acting youth and communities co-ordinator Maureen Glassey says.

Providers threw their rulebooks out the window for the day and discussed ways of supporting families so they never have the need for the services of the police or Child Youth and Family, she says.

"What we know is that family violence stems from any kind of a stressor and of course the biggest stressor is social need."

The think tank found a lot of the issues such organisations deal with can be addressed at a community and marae level.

It's about easing life's pressures so they don't build to a flash point and it comes back to policing and "social work 101", Ms Glassey says.

"It's really just addressing very basic human need."

It's also about closing the gaps families experience in areas such as early childhood education, education, budgeting and nutrition in a community and cultural sense.

"What we are doing, hopefully, is bringing to our families anything that we have seen as a collective which they might have need of, addressing need before it becomes an issue, before it becomes violent."

Police area commander Richard Middleton says the day was about families, partnerships and new beginnings.

"What we are doing here is showing the community all the support mechanisms they have through the partner agencies that they can reach out to if they find themselves in difficulties.

"It's about building the community and if we can build the community the family violence will lessen."

Manurewa Marae kaitiaki Rory Toi Katipa says the marae was happy to host the day.

"For us, we know that our people need these sort of things," he says.

"Manurewa, Mangere and Otara have been under the statistics of bad parenting, violence towards their families and children and I thought being on Manurewa Marae would be good for our local whanau."

A lot of families don't realise services are available from people who are there to help them in the wider community and at the marae so it was a great opportunity "to strengthen Manurewa whanau for starters and hopefully get a lot of the whanau to come back to the marae".

Ms Glassey says the event kicked off to a series of six-monthly open days at the marae.

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The hard yards will come after the events when those families who attended are invited back to the marae.

"That is when we are going to be working with them to enable them to meet the goals or the visions that they have for themselves.

"It's about an opening for some sustained long-term work that we are going to be doing with families."

- Manukau Courier

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