Rachel Selby and Alex Barnes have authored Māori mentoring and pathways to wellbeing: Te Huarahi o te Ora (published by Te Tākupu, Te Wānanga o Raukawa, 2013, $20).
“This book records the journey of whānau and hapū which committed to strengthening individual members through a hapū based mentoring programme which in turn would strengthen the marae and hapū” (Preface).
In 2005 the Ngātokowaru Marae Committee was committed to bringing young people and whānau back to the marae. That same year the JR McKenzie Foundation was rethinking its funding portfolio, with a view to supporting Māori development through larger grants and ongoing relationships with grant holders. These two kaupapa (agenda) came together in 2006 when the Committee successfully applied for a three year grant from the Trust. “This decision propelled both groups into a new relationship and into achieving a set of goals that have influenced many whānau” (Preface).
This book records the first six years of Te Huarahi o te Ora, the Committee’s mentoring initiative that began with matching mentors and rangatahi (young people) and grew to embrace many of those connected to the marae, including those living close by and those who were away for study or other purposes. The initiative is about investment in relationships that support and nurture the wellbeing of people for the sustainability of the hapū. This book is a roadmap of the Committee’s work and the valuable input to that work provided by the JR McKenzie Trust. As the authors conclude,
“There is an ongoing need to find diverse and creative ways of celebrating and strengthening whanaungatanga [kinship relationships] and identity… The experience of Te Huarahi o te Ora need not be limited to one hapū. It can be replicated in many other hapū, iwi, clubs, academies, organisations, and communities” (p.104-5).
Contributed by Fiona Cram