The power of whaanau

“Ehara taku toa he toa takitahi engari he toa takitini

Mine is not the power of the individual but the power of the collective.”

Taha whaanau - one of the four dimensions (or walls) of hauora – is used in the Te Whare Tapa Whaa, (Maaori model of healthcare) to demonstrate the power of whaanau in a person’s hauora (wellbeing) and care.

We had a koorero with Barney - a teacher, parent, and doting son – who tells us his story of the healing power of whaanau.

Recently his Mum arrived at Middlemore Hospital with a haemoglobin count of 65 and in need of a blood transfusion.

“She's one of those miracle stories and I know it’s because her whaanau are around her,” says Barney.

“After the transfusion, there wasn’t much change but three days later after readings and monitoring and her mokos (short for mokopuna – grandchildren) phoning or being around her, she picked up to 101 average.

“It is definitely her mind ruling her body which is fragile and deteriorating.

“We can’t use CPR on Mum as her bones are too fragile, so we need other things to keep her strong,” says Barney.

Maaori culture is something that Barney celebrates, embraces and is passionate about, having gained his Masters in Indigenous Studies Business and History. He knows the power of aroha and whaanau.

“My youngest girl Roimata and I have noticed the change in condition, so we are visiting daily which is tough after a full day’s work, but we know it keeps Mum’s commitment to stay around.”

Barney’s Mum has now been moved from Middlemore to Tui House to continue her care.

“I want to say a big thanks to the staff of Ward 2 Middlemore Hospital. They were incredible especially when dealing with a patient with high needs. I witnessed all conversations and am impressed with their care. Thank you.”

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