Housing First Auckland Collective Ōrākei Hui 2023
Two of the Tūtohi team had the privilege of attending the Housing First Auckland Collective hui at Ōrākei Marae in April. As a long-overdue opportunity to connect kanohi ki te kanohi with so many of our Housing First whānau, the day simply wasn’t long enough!
We were honored to be asked to facilitate part of the kōrero around how we use data to demonstrate the value of the Housing First mahi, drive equity, and amplify the voices of lived experience. It was a joyful, wonderful day, but what resonated most deeply (and what now decorates our office walls!) were the words of so many powerful and inspirational leaders.
Tarati Blair-Hunt welcomed us with the history of Ōrākei Marae and the whenua, and honoured us by sharing her koro’s story. She spoke of hope and bravery and reminded us that even thought we may not be the right person for every whānau, we can still be part of their connection to that right person.
Haehaetu Barrett affirmed that a person is not ‘high-complexity’ – that this is a label applied by a broken system, but it has the power to change the trajectory of a person’s life. She set the wero to always hold to our purpose, to disrupt and challenge without apology, and to stand in our conviction and in the mana of our ancestors.
Lisa Woolley’s heartfelt poem celebrated the beautiful and diverse pathways that we have each followed into this mahi, and the strength of working collectively rather than competitively.
Fiona Hamilton reminded us that we cannot know where we’re going without understanding how we got here, and of the importance not only of learning together, but of learning from one another.
Matua Fred Astle asked us how we build a bridge from a home to a kāinga, and shared that success is seeing tikanga in caring for our most vulnerable.
Richard Turipa shared his powerful journey and brought it all home – “Let’s keep doing the mahi.”
Vikki Ham introduced the incredible Maiea, Tāiki E! Māori-led strategy and reminded us that Housing First is an act of justice, and that only when whānau are in a home can they begin to connect with and belong to their community.
Helen Robinson’s closing remarks acknowledged the kaimahi of Housing First, who are asked the impossible every day but who still manage to take the uncertain and the insecure, and make it certain and secure. She reminded us of both our privilege and our responsibility, that we are a vehicle and a voice for people who, through no fault of their own, have not been given the opportunities we have – and that any authority in which we stand comes only from the people who we seek to serve.
It was a moving, magical day that left us feeling honoured and humbled to stand in the presence of such mana. Kei runga noa atu koutou, e te whānau!