Whānau Ora: Gretchen and Piolo's story


Published 10 May 2022


“I’ve talked to many people who lost their jobs and income because of COVID, and on top of that, are trying to cope with rising prices,” says Lisa, one of our Whānau Ora outreach coordinators.

Lisa recalls checking in on Gretchen and her whānau. Gretchen’s husband lost his job because of COVID so they applied for assistance from Work and Income New Zealand to help cover their rent arrears and water payments. They have just welcomed a new pēpē into their whānau and were also grateful for the support they received from her midwife who provided some baby items.

Lisa asked how their 12-year-old son, Piolo, was doing. Mum said he was very happy going back to school after the lockdowns and has been attending an afterschool programme once a week. Mum mentioned that Piolo is growing up fast and has been wearing some of his dad’s clothes. They had asked WINZ for support to purchase clothing but their application was not successful.

“When I told Gretchen we can help with Piolo’s clothing needs for winter, she was quite surprised. She thought that after getting support from WINZ and her midwife, there were no other opportunities to receive immediate assistance.”

“I also found out that bubba didn’t have a carseat so I organised to send a new one, including grocery vouchers to help the whānau with food and nappy costs.”

Lisa knew that Gretchen and her whānau will have a big day of shopping ahead and didn’t want them to worry about transport costs while her husband was still looking for work, so she also offered some petrol vouchers.

Lisa also talked to Gretchen about using their Carer Support funding. The whānau haven’t been using the subsidy so it was a good opportunity to explain that they could use it so Gretchen can have a break from looking after Piolo who has an intellectual disability.

“It feels rewarding to be able to fill the gaps in support where we can. Our Whānau Ora project is not just about giving people shopping and petrol vouchers. It’s about taking time to listen to whānau, understanding how we can make things a little better and letting them know we’re always here."

Our Whānau Ora project is made possible through our partnership with Te Puni Kōkiri (Ministry of Māori Development).