“Awesome! Everyone made learning fun and interesting.”
That is just one of many favourable comments from participants in the Hapu Wānanga antenatal and parenting programme, a two-day course developed by Waikato DHB’s Te Puna Oranga (Maori Health) team which uses a kaupapa Maori approach.
The first of 11 programmes was completed last week with midwife Alys Brown delivering the course to a very appreciative group of teenagers.
The course covers antenatal information, labour, preparation for birth, and post-natal information, but a feature of the programme is the way a much broader range of life skills and information is woven in. Guest speakers cover topics from healthy eating and immunisation to careers and education opportunities, and Alys also shows the young women and their partners/supporters how to grow vegetable seedlings and make ipu whenua (container for babies’ placenta) and muka (a flax tie for the umbilical cord.)
Te Puna Oranga general manager Ditre Tamatea says young Māori tend not to access mainstream services. “This programme is designed for them and has a kaupapa Māori approach, but it is open to anyone who is looking for this way of learning.”
“Giving information and skills to our young mums and dads is the best way to improve health outcomes,” he says. “This programme hits so many of the Māori health priority areas. Until recently we haven’t had this sort of service as an option for our young people.”
Ditre Tamatea explains how the programme supports and engages young people. “It’s informative but we engage with them in a very non-judgemental, supportive way. We looked at practical barriers like transport (we can pick them up), cost (the course is free), food (we provide kai which is really appreciated).
Alys Brown says the response from those on the course has been “absolutely amazing.”
“They have fun while they learn the skills they need as parents. We create an environment where everyone can share experiences. They learn how to grow through that and transition to being a loving parent who can enjoy taking care of their baby.” All participants get a baby starter pack which includes a pēpi-pod safe sleep bassinet, nappies, a wrap, a stretch and grow, face clothes and other products for the mother related to pregnancy and birth. The programme feeds participants and can offer support for transport if needed.
Information about the Hapu Wananga course and how to register is on the Waikato DHB website
or contact Te Puna Oranga on (07) 839 8899 ext 97528.
Each course is two days. The remaining courses will be held between November 2014 and end of June 2015.
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