Keeping the faith!

As the sun creeps over the horizon and the birds start to wake, Kiwi and Jordan are arriving at Middlemore Hospital to take part in a karakia with a tuuroro (patient).

As Maaori chaplains, contracted through Te Whare Ruruhau o Meri Trust, they provide amorangi/chaplaincy services to mainly Maaori patients at Middlemore Hospital.

The difference in this chaplaincy role is they observe the Kaupapa Maaori way of doing things and ensure tikanga is adhered to and Te Whare Tapa Whaa model also informs their work – whaanau (family), wairua (spiritual), tinana (physical), and hinengaro (mental).

“Cultural competency in Maaoritanga matters to us. This is reflected in the questions we ask tuuroro about their wairua and whaanau. And in how we are invited to do karakia with tuuroro before surgeries as well as over rooms, whaanau, and tuupaapaku (deceased),” says Kiwi Taranaki, who also serves as an Assistant Pastor at his church in Pukekohe.

Their role doesn’t stop at patients and whaanau, they explain, as they also have a responsibility to engage with kaimahi (staff) when they need support.

“The cleansing we do is not only for the tuuroro (patient) coming into the room but also for the kaimahi as it can be emotional for them too,”

Jordan Jones previously worked in pastoral care in education before coming here. He is actively learning te reo Māori with Kiwi’s support. He says people are very understanding and encouraging and usually are just happy that he is learning the language and the tikanga. 

“I appreciate the vision of our employer, Te Whare, to offer a sanctuary (ruruhau) to support the needs of urban Maaori, especially whaanau struggling with adversity.

“We do this in our mahi at Middlemore through meeting and supporting people wherever they are at. We meet with tuuroro sometimes on their way to surgery or after they’ve received bad news or good news.

“It is a privilege and an honour to be invited into this space and to able to create a safe space where people can share and open up. They often open up to us in ways they can’t do with their whaanau because they don’t want to worry them.”

Their days are long, rewarding and challenging Kiwi and Jordan say. 

“We start early and often tuuroro (patients) or their whaanau want to start their mornings with karakia sometimes at the crack of dawn. It’s a busy role but a good type of busy.

“I wasn’t planning on coming to work here – God’s plan was different from mine – but I’m glad I did,” says Kiwi.


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