New initiative designed to grow culturally competent workforce
A programme led by a Taranaki health provider is aiming to get its strategic principles off plaques on the wall and into practice.
Tui Ora, a kaupapa Maori health service, has launched its own cultural competency programme for its 300-strong workforce around the region.
Called Te Raukura, the initiative, which is compulsory for staff, is based on six principles designed to enhance the work of the organisation and the way it connects with clientele.
Launched three months ago, Tui Ora employees are already seeing the benefits of the programme, not only to the people they work alongside, but to themselves as well.
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Over the course of 18 months, a series of workshops will be held around the concepts of manaakitanga, kotahitanga, whanaungatanga, tino rangatiratanga, wairuatanga and tikanga o Tui Ora. The initiative is also designed to teach the basic concepts of Maori culture, language and customs.
Educator Glenarr Huntley said there had been a "great uptake" of the programme and some of the workers had discovered what they were already doing in their work matched up with the principles they were being taught.
She said the course also helped identify some of the barriers in their work and how the problems could be overcome.
Trenton Martin, who ran the programme with Huntley, said the programme designed to make Tui Ora's strategic principles part of every day practice.
"They're not just plaques on the wall, they are active," Martin said.
Tui Ora staff members Brigette Hamilton and Courtney Mellow have both started the cultural programme. The women work as vocational support specialists in the mental health and addictions team.
Hamilton believed culture was a key part of someone's identity and the training provided a way to understand what that actually meant in practice.
"It's the depth of it. It's not just knowing the words. It's understanding what that means in the work I do," Hamilton said.
Mellow said it had also been a great way to start building her confidence in Maoritanga in general, including her knowledge of waiata and karakia.
Tui ora chief executive Hayden Wano said along with providing a better service to its clients, the programme also helped ensure the culture of Tui Ora aligned with the same principles. This includes relationships between staff, between Tui Ora offices around the region and between the organisation and other professionals.
"You can have all the good ideas in the world, but if the culture of the organisation isn't right, it will undermine or get in the way," Wano said.
Wano said of Tui Ora's workforce, 55 per cent were Pakeka, 40 per cent Maori and the other 5 per cent were from overseas. The client base was a 50/50 split of Maori and Pakeha.
He said the competency training was tailored with an end goal that whanau will be at the heart of decision making.
This presented a "paradigm shift" from the traditional way intervention by agencies took place, which Wano hoped could provide a catalyst for change in how health services are delivered in Taranaki.