For Judy Kumeroa, creating communities where children are safe and cared for isn’t about setting up parenting programmes or running children’s days. It’s about providing local people with the opportunity to get to know each other better and develop a greater sense of community connection.
“Our journey is not about creating new things and programmes – it’s about increasing the connection of care. Then people can respond where there’s a need.”
In the case of Te Ora Hou in Whanganui, where Judy is the manager, that means running a regular get-together for the residents of 18 streets in the suburb of Gonville. About 350 people attend the two-monthly Stone Soup gatherings, helping to prepare food – usually a hangi – and taking part in activities such as sports games, knitting and face painting.
Every Stone Soup event features a “community kōrero” where people can talk about things they’d like to see happening in their neighbourhood. This has led to shared garden, crafts and walking groups. The kōrero have also helped inspire a successful driver-licensing programme and a group to help intermediate school-aged boys make healthy choices.
Stone Soup is the name the local community has chosen for Tiakina ō Tātou Tamariki (Keeping Our Kids Safe), a project run by Te Ora Hou in Whanganui and Gisborne. In Gisborne, Tiakina ō Tātou Tamariki revolves around “Street Legends” – representatives from the nine streets involved who help organise neighbourhood activities.
Regular surveys have found that the project has created a greater sense of connection in both communities. “There’s much greater happiness,” says Judy. “People feel safer and happier to live in their community.”
Todd Foundation has supported Te Ora Hou with 5 years of funding from our Partnership Fund.