Course builds strong whanau

By Lindy Laird

Pio Terei
Pio Terei

A culture-friendly and relevant tool kit aimed at helping Maori families "build awesome whanau" is being brought to Northland.

The Building Awesome Whnau Toolbox will be launched in Auckland this week but has already been rolled out at in Whangarei where Parenting Place educator Jennie Clarke runs the six-session course through The Pulse, People Potential and parent groups.

The idea for Building Awesome Whnau Toolbox was to create a course with authentically Mori values that is fun, interesting and full of practical stuff to help mums, dads, grandparents and anyone caring for children, Ms Clarke said.

"It's completely non-judgmental. We're not saying you shouldn't do this or that or you're a bad parent if you don't do such and such. We're concentrating on the 'building' aspect."

High profile entertainer Pio Terei has been presenting The Parenting Show with Pio to Mori audiences throughout New Zealand for the past 12 years and has been a project leader for the ToolBox series which now includes four parenting courses.

More than 40,000 Maori parents have done the courses so far. "I've wanted to create this for years," Mr Terei said. "I know my parenting show goes over well with Mori audiences and gives some good skills and encouragement, but I wanted them to have more - a whole parenting course with a genuine Mori flavour

"Lots of consultation happened to make sure this is the real deal. This isn't some imported course with a plastic tiki stuck on it. When you see the faces and hear the voices you know it has a Mori heart."

Ms Clarke said the kaupapa is "to encourage and inspire parents and equip them with the skills and resources to grow great kids".

She runs the courses at The Pulse during the day but could schedule others to suit needs should parents be unable to attend day sessions. While the courses were not free, they were heavily subsidised by the Parenting Place or through other grants where possible.

Anyone interested in courses in Whangarei or other Northland centres can contact her through

- Northern Advocate

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