This initiative expands on what has been done with Lean On Me to create a larger and stronger network of Pou Rarama in each community/hapu on the East Coast. As the name of our initiative suggests, the Pou Rarama is a volunteer, a community person with a special interest in whanau wellbeing, whom whanau naturally turn to for support (a beacon to the whanau). Coming together and connecting, open korero about suicide and raising awareness, sharing experiences and manaakitanga, and acknowledging our wairuatanga provides the opportunity to strengthen whanau/hapu and build resilience. We envisage the Pou Rarama to have a range of qualities and attributes including good listening skills, understanding, empathy, trust, confidentiality, honesty, safe, good integrity and strong leadership skills within their hapu and the local community.
This initiative will invest in training wananga for the identified Pou Rarama, initially developing their awareness around suicide, being able to identify potential issues in their hapu/community, being able to have safe and direct conversations with whanau, and then being able to connect whanau with appropriate support. We plan to focus on building the Pou Rarama model in a specific area (covering several hapu), with the view of expanding this across the coast longer term.
After the initial training, the Pou Rarama will work within their hapu providing unrestricted support. After three months, Ngati Porou Hauora Mental Health Services and Nati4Life Trust will host a wananga of all our Pou Rarama to review what has been learnt, how their skills have been implemented in their hapu, share experiences and korero, identify issues that are not working well, problem solve and work on solutions and changes that can be made. This is where the Pou Rarama network starts to build and strengthen. Longer term, we see this being rolled out across the Ngati Porou rohe using a “train the trainer” type approach.
Although this initiative targeted our East Coast roopu there has been an approach from Hineiti Monika who holds the position of Suicide Prevention Postvention Coordinator for Hauora Tairawhiti to extend the Pou Rarama network across all communities in Te Tairawhiti. There is also an offer to fund that network from Hauora Tairawhiti.