It's been a year of learning and unlearning, a year of trying new things, finding what works and what doesn't, but most importantly, it's been a year of working together with whānau, to improve the health of our people in Te Tai Tokerau. 

We take a look back at some of our achievements in 2022.


The great migration home

This year the team continued its ahunga with guidance from mātauranga tūpuna and kōrero tukuiho exponent Rereata Makiha (Ngāti Whakaheke, Te Aupōuri, Te Arawa). The renowned kaikōkōrangi Māori astrologer is a leading authority on the maramataka, bringing a wealth of knowledge handed down through generations. Passionate about water preservation and dedicated to protecting and promoting the practice of ancient traditions in te ao Māori, Makiha brings innovative solutions based on ancient mātauranga.

After returning home to the Hokianga three years ago, former Black Fern and Northern Mystics player Rawinia Everitt (Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngai Takoto, Ngāti Kahu, Te Aupōuri, Te Rarawa Ngāti Kuri) has been moving mountains to get local rugby clubs off the ground again, inspiring rangatahi to stay active around the motu. Her dedication to seeing people thrive in their natural environments coupled with her relationships with the community has seen her tackle the Systems Innovator role head-on. She was joined by Māori Systems Innovator Elizabeth Motu (Te Rarawa) who holds depth and knowledge from her experience with He Oranga Poutama ki Tāmaki Makaurau, to empower communities and reconnect traditional practices.

Practice and Development Lead, Sophia Beaton (Kai Tahu, Kati Māmoe), has over 10 years’ experience working across government, local government and the not-for-profit sector as a design/project lead and community development practitioner. Talei Anderson (Te Aupōuri, Te Rarawa) also joined us from RNZ as the new Communications Innovator.


Building a food secure and resilient Whangaroa

Healthy Families has collaborated with Whangaroa Health services, Mahitahi Hauora, local whānau, kaumatua and growers to better understand what food security and resiliency looks like here in Whangaroa. Our journey has been captured through the development of the 'Building a Food Secure and Resilient Whangaroa’ Insights report.

This resource highlights community voice, provides opportunities and design challenges for the future, and has the potential to contribute to making the Whangaroa food system stronger, safer, and more resilient.

Healthy Families Far North will continue to work alongside our community and other key partners into the next phase of this mahi.


Kāeo’s mission to growing a food resilient community one seed at a time

Imagine a town where many of its public green spaces are used to grow kai. A place where anyone can harvest free of charge. Tamariki are kaitiaki of te taiao and whānau are stopping in at the playground, not just to play and get a bit grubby, but to pull a few weeds and take some of the kai home.  

It’s an ambitious goal, but it’s one that Kāeo locals are planting one seed at a time, starting with a new feature set to be placed at Whangaroa’s community playground.

‘The Sowing Machine’ is the latest prototype designed by whānau to grow fresh healthy kai. Stocked with seasonal seeds, potting mix, and recycled paper cups, tamariki can plant the seeds to take home to their own māra kai or keep them in the Sowing Machine until they are ready to plant in the local community garden.

Healthy Families have been collaborating with local whānau and their tamariki to design, test and implement this incoming feature to the Kaeo playground.

Key partners have recognized the potential of this kaupapa with funding from Tu Manawa Active Aotearoa, Bunnings Kerikeri supplying paint, seeds and potting mix while Sport New Zealand and Sport Northland have also had an onsite walk through, to understand the whakapapa and vision of the Whangaroa community.


Ahi Ka Eke – Raising the walls of whare tapa wha inside mainstream sports and recreation

Sit less, move more. That’s one of the recommended guidelines to increase physical activity and reduce the risk of preventable chronic disease in Aotearoa. We know there are health benefits to getting the body moving, but what happens when we focus on more than just our physical health?

Healthy Families are taking a different approach to organised sport and exploring how to raise the other walls of Te Whare Tapa Whā

The Peters Sisters competition run by Rugby League Northland was the first wāhine-specific tournament to be held in Te Tai Tokerau in more than 20 years, with six highly contested 16s and women’s teams from different rohe playing over three consecutive weekends.

The series was built from a ‘test and learn’ process, looking across different codes and settings to understand what it takes for whānau to have meaningful and positive experiences in sports.

The way New Zealand measure and approach health is by and large physical, but the inaugural competition proved it’s about more than just the game.

The government, National Sports and Active Recreation Organisations in Te Tai Tokerau have a critical role in enabling indigenous practices across the Sport and Recreation sector - shifting mental modes from sports being predominantly taha tinana to creating intentional scenarios and spaces where taha wairua, the role of whānau and the balance of hinengaro are just as important.

How might we infiltrate mainstream sports to let the wairua in and think about whānau? What happens when sports are intentionally designed to enable all four walls of Te Whare Tapa Whā?

Healthy Families Far North will continue to work in partnership with those in the sport space to understand and explore what it takes for whānau to participate, and how we can collectively raise the walls of Te Whare Tapa Whā to recognise our health beyond the taha tinana.


Healthy Environments Approach: Te Amo Pūtoro unveiled to nurture intergeneration play

When Kerikeri locals visit the new māra hūpara to be built at Remarie Kapa Drive’s Kerikeri Sports Complex, they can expect more than a place to play.

The māra hūpara is being co-designed to ensure whānau are well in every way. It is not just about building a playground, but it is an opportunity to build a deep connection to place.

The community-led project aims to whakamana pūrākau, narratives and stories of Ngāti Rēhia to bring a deeper meaning to activities and tākaro Māori.

Mana of our ingoa tangata and pūrākau as a method of ako (to learn and to teach) has the power to keep Māori values alive and can be created in various settings to better understand whakapapa and identity.

Healthy Families Far North will continue to co-design with Ngāti Rēhia, tamariki and the wider Kerikeri community to bring the stories of place and play to life.