Teaching Wellness for Ourselves Through Wellness with Nature (Ōtepoti / Dunedin).

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Mahinga Kai

Dunedin: Southland.

E rere ana te karere ki ngā wai riporipo o Te Waipounamu, hei whakapakari i ngā ringaringa o te rangatahi ki te whai oranga mō te whānau.

Ōtepoti, situated within a rugged landscape in between loads of natural resources, is the home of an initiative called Mahinga Kai. Mahinga kai focuses on making the most of the local environment, to build self-esteem and confidence with youth, through developing life skills and knowledge around kai gathering and preparation. A key aspect for Mahinga Kai is to develop skills around working with natural resources in particular to produce food.

The resources Rangatahi work with can range from the stones used for tools and fire-making, to the mud that is used for dyes, rongoa (medicine) and cooking. There is also a focus on how to gather plant-based food and how to snare and prepare birds, fish and other meat.

Facilitators use a Kaupapa Māori approach, informed by atua Māori and tikanga, to deliver activities around Mahinga Kai in a fun and engaging program. This program aligns with the Te Whare Tapa Whā model of Māori Health to build towards the aspirations of whānau. The goal of the programme is to develop life skills and keep whānau on positive pathways and activities for overall wellness.

Mahinga Kai is involved with; E Tū Whānau, Otepoti whānau from Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Ōtepoti, Te Hou Ora, Kōkiri and The Otago Māori Rugby whānau. Through collaboration with these community networks, Mahinga Kai is able to extend their reach with activities that build confidence and resilience, while also contributing to whanaungatanga within their community.

*This Whānau initiative is proudly supported by Te Au (and Te Rau Ora) through the Māori Suicide Prevention Fund (2020-2021).

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