It was a night that recognised and celebrated health and wellbeing initiatives throughout Whanganui, as the annual health awards were announced.

More than 400 people gathered at the Whanganui Racecourse's Eulogy Lounge on Friday for the Te Tohu Rangatira Whanganui District Health Quality Awards.

The event recognised the efforts of those working in Whanganui's health and disability sector.

With awards across 12 categories, judges gave special honour to everything from IT developments to the whiz-bang office cleaner.

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Tikanga Maori award winners Mal Rerekura (left) and Ned Tapa (right) with Whanganui Regional Health Network chief executive Judith MacDonald at the Health Awards. Photo / Supplied
Tikanga Maori award winners Mal Rerekura (left) and Ned Tapa (right) with Whanganui Regional Health Network chief executive Judith MacDonald at the Health Awards. Photo / Supplied

The supreme award winner, representing the best of all category winners, was Tapestry of Truth, a 12-week intensive intervention programme run by Te Oranganui and designed to engage young people who were struggling to fit in.

In its first year, it has proven a vital lifeline to young people who have found school and other services have not worked for them. The programme teaches them self-determination, guidance and making use of resources and learning skills such as carpentry, budgeting and launching a clothing brand.

Rangatahi practitioners Lee Ashford and Peter London collected the award alongside 12-year-old Dallas Matthews who has benefitted from the programme.

Whanganui District Health Board chief executive Russell Simpson asked the audience to acknowledge and celebrate the success, excellence and innovation of the wider workforce and volunteers across the health and disability sector.

"Many people are unable to attend tonight as they are working to serve our community and maintain vital services," Simpson said.

"Many health workers are humble and perform their roles without expecting recognition. But on any given day there are hundreds, if not thousands, of interactions across our district."

Kaitiakitanga category winners Fit For Surgery, Fit For Life, represented by (from left) Christine Taylor, Felicity Spencer, Marco Meijer and Deb Byers, with presenter Mary Bennett. Photo / Supplied
Kaitiakitanga category winners Fit For Surgery, Fit For Life, represented by (from left) Christine Taylor, Felicity Spencer, Marco Meijer and Deb Byers, with presenter Mary Bennett. Photo / Supplied

A chief executive award, chosen by Simpson, was awarded to Ruapehu Whānau Transformation, a project led by the iwi of Ngāti Rangi and carried out by the Waimarino communities, Raetihi, Waiouru and Ohakune.

Launched in 2013, the programme works from the ground up, using statistics and stories of the communities and focuses on the wellbeing of whānau alongside education, employment, housing, health and social outcomes.

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So far it has brought about solutions to create sustainable and positive transformations with supportive funding from the Whanganui DHB.

Winners of the 2019 Te Tohu Rangatira Whanganui District Health Quality Awards
Whakapapa & Whanaungatanga - Recognising projects that established and enhanced relationships between service users, family/whānau and colleagues
Winner: Health Promotion Day: Raa Hauora Celebrating Puanga – Te Oranganui Trust
Highly commended: Whānau Ballers – Ngā Tai o te Awa Trust and Whanganui Basketball Association

Kotahitanga - Projects that demonstrate collaboration and integrative ways of working to achieve improved outcomes
Winner: Alternative Approach to Chronic Kidney Disease Management – Whanganui DHB and Whanganui Regional Health Network
Highly commended: Community Bike Park – Sport Whanganui

Wairuatanga & Mauri - (Projects that demonstrate supporting and walking alongside service users and whānau, acknowledging and respecting the values of service users
Winner: Tapestry of Truth – Te Oranganui Trust

Tikanga Maori- Projects that demonstrate new guidelines and protocols related to cultural best practice
Winner: Te Reo Māori Education Classes – DHB Māori Health Services

Manaakitanga & Mana Tangata - Projects that support diversity and maintain the dignity of service users and their whānau
Winner: Matariki Celebrations – Stanford House

Kaitiakitanga - Projects focused on making a service user-friendly
Winner: Fit For Surgery, Fit For Life – Whanganui Hospital, Sport Whanganui and Whanganui Regional Health Network
Highly commended: Hapū Wahine Day - Whanganui Regional Health Network Child Health Team

Rangimarie & Aroha - Projects that share information in simple language that service users and whānau/family understand
Winner: Whānau-Centred Care Reflected on Hospital Walls – Whanganui DHB Art & Archives Group
Highly commended: Rongoā Pānui Medication Card – Stanford House and Prostate Cancer Road Map – Whanganui Cancer Society

Tino Rangatiratanga- Projects that focus on co-design, information and consent
Winner: Where Should I Be? - Whanganui Regional Health Network

Health, Safety & Wellbeing Award
Winner: After Hours Entry – Enliven Kowhainui

Shirley O'Rourke Memorial Award
Winner: Kim Hēmana – cleaner, Spotless Service

Chief Executive's Award
Winner: Ruapehu Whānau Transformation

Supreme Award
Winner: Tapestry of Truth – Te Oranganui Trust

The awards were supported by Jackson Stone & Partners, Whanganui Air Ambulance Service, Venter & Hull Chartered Accountants, Whanganui & Partners, Moore Law, Graham Adams and Amtech Medical.