Over the lockdown period, a number of challenges were thrown at Te Puna Ora o Mataatua’s helpline staff but there’s one success that stands out amongst the rest, according to Whānau Ora Kaiārahi (social worker) Abbie Wells.

A worried grandmother had all but exhausted every service, agency and avenue to get her 17 year old mokopuna home. The moko was in Australia, with an ex-boyfriend at large for charges of violence against her.

With no income or family support & the fear of further violence, the grandmother had valid concerns for her moko’s physical safety and emotional wellbeing, and the additional barriers of level 4 lockdown made it a financial and logistical minefield to get her home.

After talking to a number of services, she hit a wall because the unique situation fell through the cracks – it didn’t meet any of the right criteria for assistance.

Not wanting to give up, the grandmother contacted Te Puna Ora O Mataatua through their website.  She was then contacted by Mrs Wells, who was able to work with them to understand their situation and needs, and work through the challenges of getting her moko home.

The family was granted funding for flights through the resillience fund, thanks to the Whānau Ora Commissioning agency. Healthline approved the pair to be in isolation together for the 14 day period when the moko arrived home. Mrs Wells helped with the arranging of flights and also follow up support to the whānau, to ensure that she was well supported after arriving home.

The grandmother sent a thank you to Whānau Ora for the support given by the team.

I wanted to inform Whānau Ora, Aotearoa of the wonderful manaaki, kaitiaki, rangatira, whanau, wairua that Social Worker Abbie Wells and the team at Te Puna Ora o Mataatua in Whakatane have lovingly extended to me and my 17yr old mokopuna.”

She acknowledged “Abbie and her organisation's korowai of love, dedication, and awhi around my moko and I. Abbie, and her management team, and admin staff, and all staff members for Te Puna Ora o Mataatua are to be commended for their unconditional love and duty of care for us as a whanau, hapu, and people in the community of Whakatane.”

Mrs Wells said it was a privilege to support such a genuine and caring whānau, and receiving such heartfelt thank you will stay with her.

This is attributed to all the staff at Te Puna Ora o Mataatua says Dr Chris Tooley, Chief Executive. “While we had teams out in the field testing, delivering hardship packs or providing homebased support services to our Kaumatua, our Whānau Ora teams were back in the office or working from their homes triaging all the social needs that were arising during lockdown”.

Dr Tooley says Te Puna Ora o Mataatua’s integrated services will continue for the next 12 months. “Our teams are transitioning from a clinical response to awhānau ora and employment one as we our community deals with the impact of lock-down”.

People experiencing hardship can call 0800 MATAATUA (628 228) andpress 9 for the team’s 7 day a week helpline

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