Realising PARS’ vision of a living, thriving ecology of care, that heals, restores and transforms, means addressing intergenerational disadvantage at all levels and providing multifaceted solutions. While retaining our focus on supporting rangatahi (young people) who are already in the system to get out and stay out, we are also committed to diversifying our service model in order to help prevent Aotearoa’s tamariki and young people from ever entering the system.
In 2020, while investigating what solutions would be the most impactful for tamariki, we reached out to whānau with lived experience of whānau harm. Gathering insights from those directly affected was pivotal to the design of a programme that would contribute positively to eliminating whānau harm for the next generation.
The findings of our research led to the development of “Kia Puāwai Te Kākano” (The Blossoming of a Seed); a 12-month early intervention programme that focuses on lifting the hearts and minds of vulnerable tamariki between the ages of five and twelve who are being raised in complex home situations. The programme is embedded with indigenous matauranga (wisdom), Maramataka (the Māori lunar calendar), and Hua Parakore (a kaupapa Māori system for growing and producing food) values. Each aspect of the programme is aimed at uplifting the wairua (spirits) of the tamariki, and includes fun, stimulating and educational activities in an environment that is culturally safe for the tamariki and their whānau. The tamariki learn life skills through association; such as mahi maara (gardening) – learning how to care for a plant and using this analogy to demonstrate how they can look after themselves; creativity and entrepreneurship – e.g., creating artwork and talking about having a stall at a market to sell their creations; and wellbeing through waiata and dance – explaining the importance to our overall wellbeing by expressing ourselves through movement and song.
With innovative solutions such as Te Puāwai Te Kākano, we are supporting today’s tamariki to become tomorrow’s motivated young people with belief in themselves and the resources to pursue their fullest potential; intellectually, socially, emotionally and spiritually, as individuals and as valued members of their whānau and communities.
“Take care of what our tamariki see, take care of what they hear, of what they feel.
For how the tamariki grow will be the shape of Aotearoa.”
Dame Whina Cooper