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Secondment Profiles


Project Lead, Collaborative Design Mental Health and Addictions

I was seconded from Te Whatu Ora – Community Mental Health and Addicitions to Healthy Families WRR part-time to lead phase one of the Collaborative Design MH&AOD, of which Healthy Families WRR is the backbone champion. The purpose of this initiative is to identify the priorities and recommendations for improving MH&A regional service delivery, ensuring services and support are easier to access, equitable, and responsive to regional needs. This is done by valuing the lived experiences, ideas and aspirations of whānau and professionals.

The secondment offered me the opportunity to apply my knowledge and experience of MH&AOD while learning new skills and methodologies, particularly skills that are required to enact meaningful systems change. Then to share the learning back to my team in Te Whatu Ora. My secondment home, Healthy Families WRR, is intent on building local capability and capacity in whānau-centred, systems-wide activation, moving more focus and effort towards preventative measures for growing collective wellbeing. This helps professionals, like myself, to bridge the gap between intervention, earlier intervention, and prevention.

One of the biggest benefits has been to immerse myself in community-led change and design thinking. This is a totally different way of thinking and doing, free from linear restrictions. To have mental capacity to shift from a specific service focus to systems change, where whānau and practitioners are at the core of change, has been invigorating for me. This has been a humbling and exciting experience.

Working across the ecosystem, both in urban and rural communities, in a live/action learning environment, alongside a team who are supportive and prioritise the mindsets of social innovation, has allowed me to grow and gain confidence in a field I am passionate about.

The ability to reach into exisiting networks that I had formed from my years of working within MH&AOD, and creating new links within the wider community has supported me to understand how we can build capability and capacity for better and faster change, across the whole system.

I have become comfortable and confident in this way of working and thinking [systems change and social innovation], and the power of collective action driven by community voice, when it is given a safe platform to be heard.

Pania and Chy secondment profiles HFWRR
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Senior Innovator, Hapū Māmā Village Project

I was seconded from Te Whatu Ora – Public Health Centre to Healthy Families WRR to coordinate and participate in the Hapū Māmā Village initiative, of which Healthy Families WRR is the lead.

When Healthy Families WRR was negotiating the partnership with the WDHB they advocated for secondments from Health Promotions, so the design and systems thinking methodologies they use can be shared and replicated. Thus, supporting their commitment to build capability and capacity across the ecosystem when working in complexity.

The purpose of the Hapū Māmā Village initiative is to capture the lived experiences of our Hapū Māmā and whānau on their journey with maternity services, from conception through to the first 1000 days. This is to help the sector and community better understand the challenges in engaging Hapū Māmā earlier in their pregnancy and post pepi’s arrival. We also wanted to capture the experiences of the workforce within maternity services to better understand the challenges they face.

The benefits of the secondment have been my learning and exposure to new methods for genuine engagement with whānau using design thinking, social innovation, and systems thinking. The supportive team environment and live learning meant I was immediately immersed in these practices and concepts from day one of my secondment. My knowledge and understanding of the challenge - opportunity deepened the more I operated in the Healthy Families WRR way of working.

I see the importance of working with community, creating safe space for Māmā and Pāpā to share their stories and experiences of pregnancy, birthing and parenting, and the value their voice has in shaping the future. Whānau and professionals can often look at the maternity experience through a different lens – understanding this enabled us to find barriers and issues but also new ideas for change, that might not have been so easily uncovered had it been a consultation process instead.

I have definitely learnt that it is ok to work in the grey and to be comfortable with that – not assuming we know the solutions or have all the answers, but that whānau are the experts in their own lives. That in fact, whānau should be at the table as designers and decision makers to help improve healthcare in our rohe. I have a better understanding of Collective Impact and how we can utilise these different concepts to create opportunities for community to participate in developments, in meaningful ways.

Since being in Healthy Families Whanganui, Rangitīkei, Ruapehu I have grown both professionally and personally.


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