Awhi Babies

Nau mai. Awhi Babies in our community?

It takes time! CBK continues to be alongside different initiatives in our Whanganui community and right now we are reviewing what we have been doing and where to next (a natural pause space has occurred with some personnel changes)? At the recent strategic mapping hui we were reminded that being in community is vital as we continue to look up and out!

What did we discover from the hui? The current initiatives continue to be responsive to community need; they predominantly attract parents of tamariki aged 0-5 years and they are ‘parent led and parent shaped’. So exciting to be re-excited about what is happening in our wider community! We are yet to investigate what needs tweaking.

Mid last year, an idea was muted - from comments and conversations, we wondered if there was a place for practical provision for Mum’s and their new born babies. ‘Awhi Babies’ was born (a name to kick start the project)! 

We began brainstorming (with mums, community personnel and interested people), what could this look like? Is this a real need in our community? Why would ‘gift kete’ be provided for new borns and their mums? Where would the ‘kete’ (we wondered about filling a pepe pod or a wahakura with practical bits) be resourced from? Who could/would be involved in organising the gathering of resources? Who might deliver ‘gifts’ to whānau? Would people think that an agenda was attached? So many questions and yet the project is starting to take some shape. We are in the midst of meetings and kōrero with: parents; midwives; weavers; knitters; letters to suppliers, all the while listening and listening and listening! 

When ‘projects’ are community led, the buy in is amazing!

What we know is helpful when connecting with the wider community -

  • Personnel are key;
  • Looking to a sustainable model (parents supporting parents in the realness of everyday life) builds trust and is so practical;
  • Having ‘no agenda’ is so very freeing – opportunities evolve!

I wonder, I wonder what shape ‘Awhi Babies’ might start with? I wonder if Awhi Babies will get a new name? I wonder if the timing is right for Awhi Babies in the Whanganui community? We await and look to learn from the research and the community in this next chapter of our journey. 

Olive Shoots this relationship is giving them the opportunity to broaden their worldview. Parents have remarked that comments such as “I want to pray for the children in PNG” and “I want to visit PNG” have been made by children at home. The journey continues and we look forward to seeing where it goes as we weave together ties with the CLTC Kindy. 

By Jenny Te Punga-Jurgens