Te Aroha Noa's learning hub for young Palmy parents has a new space.
It's in Te Aroha Noa Community Services' main building in Brentwood Ave and consists of a beautifully decorated lounge and an office space, which can also be a private breastfeeding area.
He Ngākau Mātua is run by registered social workers Brydie Williams and Pou Valu. They work with māmās aged 13 to 24 who need an intensive and holistic service.
The māmās come up with their own goals with Williams and Valu support the māmās to achieve the goals. They are helped to know their own worth and learn what support is available in the community. The programme has been going for seven years.
Valu says the move means she and Williams are able to work more closely with other Te Aroha Noa teams, tap into co-workers' expertise and provide a more village approach.
Valu enjoys seeing the tamariki get bigger, celebrate their first birthday and then seeing them around town. There are seven māmās with babies doing the programme but Williams and Valu would like more.
There is still shame attached to being a young parent, Valu says, but He Ngākau Mātua is about celebrating new life and for the māmās to enjoy their pregnancies. She loves doing the maternity photo shoots and says she never thought social work would be like this.
"Brydie and I are kind of like the fun aunties."
She's heard so many babies' heartbeats. "I knew you when you were in your māmā's puku," Valu says to the tamariki.
Williams says they help the māmās get their driver's licence, make goal boards, prepare CVs and support them with Oranga Tamariki and Work and Income interactions.
Valu, pointing to the bird in He Ngākau Mātua's logo, says the programme is about parents gaining the strength to fly on their own.
A bird sitting on a branch does not fear it breaking, because her trust is not in the branch but in the strength of her own wings.
"It's a whole big system that can be hard for a teenager to navigate through. We're there to work alongside them so they can have confidence."
Flying lessons are available now.
They are the māmās dream builders, parenting gurus, help desk and cheerleaders.
Valu says the māmās are role models for other mothers even if it's something as simple as putting a hat on a baby's head.
Liadan Robson Tonga joined He Ngākau Mātua in 2018, shortly after she moved here from Hamilton. She remembers the bright and welcoming atmosphere.
+ INFO For more information phone Pou on 021 833 060 or email firstname.lastname@example.org