One of the most amazing experiences for the He Ture Kia Tika rōpū has been co-creating pūrākau (stories) with whānau who have participated in our rangahau. Participants have shared their diverse journeys to whānau ora (wellbeing and connectedness) and ceasing criminal offending. Recently, we added to our positive experiences by taking the next step in our processes where we gift back pūrākau for our participants to keep. Today, we share with you the special moment that took place during the transference of pūrākau from the hands of our rangahau rōpū member Jess to our whānau participant Awatea.

Getting each taonga ready

We take pride in getting the final co-created story just perfect! Our rōpū works closely with each participant to create a pūrākau they can treasure, full of photos and memories that led them to where they are today. The pūrākau are gifted back to participants in a carefully designed report printed and digitally on USB, both encased in a beautiful kōwhaiwhai patterned harakeke folder from Pakohe Whanganui.

The gifting event

Then the event of passing on the pūrākau onwards to our participants happens. For our rōpū member Jess this as an exciting milestone and amazing to share with her friend Awatea.

The gifting of our participants’ stories is an essential part of our mahi because we truly treasure their kōrero and see it as a taonga that we treat with gratitude and respect.I have been friends with Awatea for a while now and feel truly privileged every time we catch up. Gifting the final version of her story was an awesome experience, to see her face light up and for her to physically see and hold her precious story in a hard copy was really cool. Both of us have a passion for justice reform and this brings us even closer together as sisters on a journey of change. 

Jess

For me, to receive the taonga of my life story was a cathartic experience. All my hard times, the good times, all the emotions and the hard work to live a life I can be proud of, embodied in paper, ink and vibrant colour. I have a friendship with Jess and I don’t know if I would have discussed all that I did without the trust and understanding we share. Jess had been a role model to me in many ways, she is an inspiration for me to stay with my uni studies. The hard copy reminded me of all I have had to overcome in pursuit of my dreams; reminded me of when I even dared to dream again. I was looking for redemption and to truly love myself. All of this was gifted back to me in my story.

Awatea

Together, we understand each pūrākau is something special for us to share and any future decisions about presenting it publicly is a matter for further discussions. We acknowledge the wisdom contained in each pūrākau and believe we have a lot to learn from these taonga that can help us create better outcomes for whānau encountering the criminal justice system.

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