Whānau ora story: Regaining balance in tough times


Published 16 May 2023


Mereana’s backyard used to be a haven for her mokopuna, especially for 9-year-old Zariah who has autism. The little ones used to spend hours pretend playing in their playhouse or using their trampoline and scooter. All of her mokopuna’s outdoor toys were damaged by the floods and the whānau haven’t been able to replace the items. The floods had also left a mess that they haven't been able to clean up, making it difficult to move forward and regain a sense of normalcy. Mereana was also concerned about Zariah's mental wellbeing and had been thinking about getting counselling for her, but the added expense was another worry.

Mereana and her whānau had previously received support from social services when they had Covid, this time around, they were hesitant to ask for help, as they believed that others were worse off. However, our Whānau Ora team recognised the importance of supporting Mereana and her family during this challenging time.

We worked with Mereana to explore how we could help her whānau get back on track. We connected her to Student Volunteer Army (SVA) to help with the clean-up caused by the flood. We also provided information on the flexibility of carer support, which could be used to pay for Zariah’s counselling, allowing Mereana to take a break and focus on her own mental health.

We also helped replace some of Zariah’s outdoor toys and purchased art supplies, so her mokopuna would have something to do indoors and keep themselves entertained while waiting for the weather to improve.

Thanks to the assistance provided by our Whānau Ora team, Mereana and her family were able to explore and access a range of support options that helped them recover from the flood damage and move forward.

Mereana described our support like a Christmas gift that gave her whānau a renewed sense of hope. Mereana felt optimistic that the resources and support we were able to provide will help her loved ones build up their resilience.

If you are tāngata whaikaha Māori, receive disability support services (DSS) and have been impacted by floods, contact us. We can connect you to government funding and community services to support your overall wellbeing and resilience. Email us at info@taikura.org.nz with the subject line 'whānau ora' or call us toll free on 0800 824 5872.