All Tairāwhiti children deserve the best start

31 January 2017

Whānau facing social obstacles need all the help they can get to give their children a healthy start in life. For people working with these whānau they often need to use a ‘whatever it takes’ approach’ to providing support. An initiative launched 18 months ago - E Tipu e Rea - helps health workers to do this.

Poverty and social deprivation have a strong link to poor health in babies and children, says Hauora Tairawhiti Jim Green. “Now, if health workers have concerns that a woman and or a child has wider needs, beyond that which health services can immediately address, the woman and her child can be referred to the E Tipu E Rea service.”

“Referrals can be made by lead maternity carers, GPs, primary care nurses, Plunket, Tamariki Ora Nurses, hospital clinicians and hospital nurses. Once a referral has been received, it is passed on to the most appropriate service offered by either Ngāti Porou Hauora, Tūranga Health, or Te Aitanga a Hauiti Hauora.”

“E Tipu e Rea is to be used to overcome obstacles that may be standing in the way of children enjoying a safe and healthy start in life. It has been used for short-term or one-off issues including child care, transport assistance, heating assistance, clothing and car seats.”

Here are just some of the people E Tipu e Rea has helped:

Sally and her partner Harry were worried

Sally and Harry (not real names) were a young couple that were worried that once their baby arrived they would not be able to keep it. Sally had already had her last child taken into care by CYFS. There were issues with family violence, drugs and alcohol. Sally and Harry didn’t have anywhere suitable to live.

Through E Tipu E Rea Sally connected with a midwife and suitable accommodation was found. Assistance with transport was given so antenatal classes and Wahakura workshops could be attended. At the workshops Sally learned to weave a safe sleeping pod for her baby and got parenting advice. Once baby came the Māma and Pēpi service kept a close eye on Harry and Sally. They were both willing to sort out their issues and proved to be loving parents. Sally has since been reunited with her older son; she could not be happier.

Sisters Leana and Faith are young, single mums

Ngāti Porou sisters Leana and Faith Rihia and their children.

Ngāti Porou sisters Leana and Faith Rihia and their children.


Faith is mum to Kerry-Anne who has had numerous hospital admissions because of bronchiolitis. Bronchiolitis is a scary chest condition that causes breathing problems in babies. “It was stressful and I had no sleep,” remembers Faith from those difficult days.

Tūranga Health’s Tamariki Ora service helped Faith through the hard times. Not only were Faith and her daughter transported to hospital and doctor appointments when they needed, they were supported into a more appropriate home with help from Turanga Health’s Healthy Homes kaiāwhina Memory Taylor.

Older sister Leana has two children Amos and baby Manawa. When she got unwell with toothache and her breast milk declined, help was given to see a dentist and support Leana so breastfeeding could continue. Leana is also getting help to quit smoking.

Both sisters attend Tūranga Health’s class especially for mums. Known as Mums ‘n’ Bubs Tū Pakari, the Wednesday class is a chance for mums to build up a sweat, release some endorphins and do something good for their body. Their babies are cared for in the gym so they can still see their mum.