Weaving and learning for the sake of mokopuna ora
A series of wahakura wananga (workshops) brought health professionals together to weave wahakura (traditional Maori bassinets) and discuss smoke-free initiatives and SUDI prevention.
Wananga participant, Ala Ward, says wahakura is traditionally made out of harakeke, or flax.
"For a pepi (baby) and their whanau, a wahakura is not just a safe place for sleeping, but can represent the whakapapa and tikanga of their Maori heritage,” she says.
Felicity Spencer, from our Public Health Service in Marlborough, says that the workshops aimed to support community action and empower whanau whanui to pursue mokopuna ora.
“We called the programme ‘Moe, Tupu, Ora’ because it is what we all aspire for our pepi and whanau – to sleep safely, to grow well and to flourish. These particular kupu (words) were chosen as they translate into both Samoan and Tongan languages, which resonates with the Marlborough Pacific community who were engaged in this project,” Felicity says.
“New Zealand has a vision of being smokefree by the year 2025. To do this, we need to support our pepi, tamariki and mokopuna to live and breathe in smokefree environments, including smokefree pregnancies, homes and cars.”
To strengthen the health information associated with this project’s kaupapa, ‘wahakura koha packs’ were developed that included a mattress, sheet and appropriate smokefree & safe sleep resources for whanau.
This partnership project was initiated by Nelson Marlborough Health’s Public Health Service and Kimi Hauora Wairau Primary Health Organisation and gained support from a number of community organisations. A total of four wahakura wananga were held throughout Marlborough resulting in increased community support for a regional wahakura distribution programme across Te Tau Ihu o te Waka a Maui.
Photo: Miraka Norgate (NMH Health Promoter) puts the finishing touches on her wahakura. She says traditionally, Maori were smokefree people.
“Wahakura are 'he taonga tuku iho' a treasure handed down from our ancestors. We can continue the legacy and teachings of our ancestors by keeping our bloodlines strong.”