25 May 2020
A kōrero on community health and kindness
As all communities in Tāmaki Makaurau adjust to a post COVID-19 world, we look to reconnect with friends and whānau. In the neighbourhoods of Manukau and Wiri, one of Panuku’s key moves is to develop the Wiri neighbourhood into a healthy and resilient community for both people and places.
On the journey towards local prosperity and wellbeing, we invited three great people to kōrero with us and share their perspectives on community, wellbeing, mental health and ways to rebuild local Wiri prosperity over the next months.
Anaru Ah Kew, Māori Systems Innovator, The Cause Collective
Q. For whanau within Wiri communities, what is the best approach to reconnecting and looking after the mental wellbeing of individuals and larger family groups?
A. “It’s about strengthening your connections to Wairuatanga (spirituality) which can mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people. But generally, it is about connecting to something bigger than yourself, that can mean spending time with your natural environment, spirituality, through karakia, meditation or prayer.
Being cooped up inside for so long, we all yearn for the natural world.
Tangata whenua believe that we are not separate from our environment, our oranga (wellbeing) is connected to it on a mental, physical and spiritual level. Our wellbeing cannot be compartmentalised.
If you have a healthy environment at work, at home and at play… you will have happier and healthier people and communities in the future.”
Marie Young, Communications Advisor, Wiri Business Association
Q. Being a local businesswoman, and proud mum of Samoan heritage, what do you think are the most important ways for families and businesses to start rebuilding for 2020?
A. “The most important thing is to stay positive in your family bubble. Yes, this has been an immense time, we have all been stretched. But for me and my family, it is all about having a positive mindset.
It’s about looking after yourself and your kids, going for walks locally and keeping everyone healthy. Also thinking about nutrition and your basic fruit and vegetable intake. A healthy mind and healthy body and not too many takeaways!
From a mum’s perspective, it is about setting realistic expectations of yourself in such abnormal times.
We are all so much out of our routines. Anything you can get out of your kids in the way of productive learning is a bonus. If they are getting a bit of reading, writing and maths every day that’s great - I don’t think mums should be too hard on themselves.
If they’re getting a bit of walking, baking, board games and Facetime with grandparents then it’s all good.
In terms of rebuilding our Manukau businesses, we need to rely on locals and making community relationships even stronger in the aftermath. Customer loyalty will be key to business regeneration by shopping local.
In Wiri, checking in with your neighbours regularly and seeing if they need help is so important. Also exploring ways groups of neighbours in extended bubbles can work together to achieve simple tasks.”
Jody Jackson-Becerra, Senior Engagement Advisor, Panuku Development Auckland
Q. For local Pacific communities what is the best advice to keep positive and healthy moving forward?
A. “What is important is to focus on our families and our relationships with our families. To really, truly take care of each other by being there, but not compromising the health and wellbeing of others.
Although these have been challenging times, we must not forget the positives that have come out of the Covid-19 situation. This adversity has bought us closer together and has been a firm reminder of what is important, which is simply caring for each other.
While Covid-19 has not taken hold dramatically in Pacific communities, it has highlighted the inequalities that exist throughout the world.
For Pacific people they still have ongoing social and health challenges that are now impacted and exasperated by Covid-19. So that is what me and other key Pacific people are focusing on in South Auckland.
For example, elderly people with doctor’s appointments and check-ups have all been put on hold because of Covid-19. It is a big concern, and thankfully the government is addressing this issue.”