Benefit in Whānau Ora approach

A family-centred approach to delivering key services in education, health, economic development, culture and leadership has proven to be beneficial to the Sa Petaia family in Wellington, operating under the name Vinepa Trust.

Pasifika Futures Small Grant Fund helps to support the Sa Petaia family and other small community and family organisation.

Gabrielle Sisifo-Makisi (Gabby) of Vinepa Trust says when the Whānau Ora programme was introduced they saw it as a natural fit for what they were already doing and what they wanted to do. “We are a Samoan family working as a collective to ensure our youth and kids and adults are achieving in education, healthy, strong in their identity and managing their finances.”

Sa Petaia children working on their homeworks

Sa Petaia children working on their homeworks

“The whole concept of Whānau Ora focussing on the family and utilising a families skills and talents to work together for the benefit of the whole is really appealing to us and strengthens the way we work and how we want to work. Not as individuals for individuals.”

“We have set up a broad extended family initiative targeting our family members in Horowhenua, Porirua, Wellington and Hutt region as well as non-family members of various Pacific ethnicities.”

“We focus heavily on the younger generations in our family via a study hub.”

“The fund we received from Whānau Ora went towards providing a weekly study hub, financial literacy and budgeting services, learner driver’s licence classes, as well as identity workshops covering Samoan history, culture and performance. These were the areas we saw as beneficial tour family and used our fmaily talents to run –organise, plan and implement.”

Vinepa Trust is an example of a family formalising ourselves into a trust.

“Vinepa is Petaias wife and we are 2nd and 3rd generation descendants from their children. My great grandfather was Te’o one of, Petaia and Vinepas sons,” says Gabby.

The Trust has been in operation for 3 years and it shows good results.

Study hub for the Sa Petaia younger generation

Study hub for the Sa Petaia younger generation

“We have conducted 2 six week programmes covering aspects of culture, language and identity with a focus on helping our young people understand and engage confidently in our family and community events and ceremonies as well as every day family, church and cultural activities.”

“The Sa Petaia family is a prime example of Whānau Ora and how the programme works as a collective effort rather than focusing on individuals,” says Pasifika Futures Chief Executive Debbie Sorensen.

“Reports demonstrate increased confidence amongst the kids as well as greater interest and involvement of parents in the education of their children.”

“A strength of the Vinepa Trust is in utilising the professional and cultural skills and values of older family members to teach the children, creating a wider environment of family support and nurturing outside of the nuclear unit.”

Gabby says there is a clear sense of enjoying being together and learning as an extended family.

“The driver licensing programme equipped our young men and nurtured responsibility and leadership to assist in family errands.”

The positive family atmosphere has attracted other non-related families and friends to participate.

“I think we were in a good space, it says a lot about the core of what Whānau Ora is set up to achieve – family effort, and gives us a really good platform.”

“We’re hoping for more grants for Pacific families to help them to support themselves.”

You can watch the Sa Petaia family Whānau Ora journey here