Posted by Bernie Kay

Kootuitui Ki Papakura is a charitable organisation comprising of collective communutity representatives including Mana Whenua and was established in 2015 to provide services for a cluster of schools in Papakura. The purpose is to support Whanau and schools to enable better life outcomes for tamariki.

Kootuitui means connecting/linking or weaving together. The programme is an integration of three 'strands';

1.  Education

2. Health

3. Homes.

There are six schools in this integrated programme in Papakura, from Primary through to High school. Our club is working with two of these schools being Edmund Hillary and Papakura High Schools. Peter Wilcock gave an outline of what we saw and experienced at Papakura High school at our club meeting last Thursday and so I won't enlarge upon this but the other two programmes are Health and Homes.

The Health programme is interlinked with Papakura Marae and health workers in the schools have access to the Medical Practitioner at the Marae. He visits the schools twice weekly for more serious health problems. An interesting point was that after the long summer holidays of 2017 there were no pregnancies or abortions reported. Ten years ago there was an average of 22 pregnancies a year reported.  Last year there were only two. It was reported that health in general of the students  had improved tremendously since the programmes commenced.

The 'Homes' programme involves the interaction of Whanau through Kootuitui in terms of daily problems within the home etc and one example was of parents getting together and discussing their power accounts and negotiating better terms with the power companies.

One thing that rang out loud and clear to me, was that we have a huge amount of human resources going to waste in South Auckland and the Kootuitui programmes are going part of the way to addressing this. I predict that in the future we will as a society, reap the benefits and harness a huge human resource.

Victoria University has done  extensive research into these programmes and outline very positive results. You may view this research on the Kootuitui Papakura website.