Supporting hard to reach community leaders to address suicide and gain skills in healthy eating and First Aid

In 2019 we partnered with the Health Promotion Agency to support hard to reach community leaders in Hawke’s Bay, Gisborne, Rotorua, Wairarapa and Palmerston North to implement initiatives in suicide prevention, healthy eating and First Aid.

This was our second phase of engagement with these communities, and followed a two-day wānanga with hard to reach health champions in 2018 to determine their specific areas of concern and build their health skills and literacy.

Throughout the year we have worked closely with the health champions in each area to build momentum for change and assist them to design, develop and deliver their initiatives in their communities. Overall more than 100 hard to reach whānau were engaged through this project.

In Gisborne whānau came together to learn about the benefits of physical exercise and healthy eating and ways to incorporate positive changes into daily life.

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Whānau also heard from an expert in the field of addiction and suicide prevention and had physical health check-ups. All whānau received a hauora pack with healthy kai including fresh meat, fruit and vegetables and some toiletry items for self-care to take away with them at the end of the wānanga.

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In Masterton the Wairarapa DHB, Wellington Free Ambulance, and Whai Ora, a local Māori provider came together to engage with hard to reach whanau on topics such as diabetes, heart attacks, stroke, child development and bowel cancer. Whānau accessed health checks and received flu vaccinations and some were referred on for follow-up with local providers.

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In the Hawke’s Bay, hard to reach whānau came together over a weekend to learn about the traditional Māori healing practices of romiromi and mirimiri and gain skills to support their physical, mental, and spiritual health.

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In Rotorua and Palmerston North, Māori suicide prevention group Te Rau Ora provided training to develop whānau as community champions. This included building an understanding of the importance of whakapapa as source of strength and resilience, and recognising the signs of depression and anxiety and how to support whānau.

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Each community also held First Aid training to increase community capacity to respond to and manage emergency situations, with participants gaining their Level one qualification in First Aid.



Published by


Co-director of H2R Research and Consulting Ltd

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