A Māori man smiling and standing outside a call centre building, wearing a baseball cap
October 2022

Jobs and better hauora with Taki o Autahi

A ground-breaking partnership between iwi and Whakarongorau Aotearoa / New Zealand Telehealth Services is supporting more Māori into mahi on COVID-19 phonelines and providing a better service for whānau.

Taki o Autahi, the partnership between Te Taiwhenua o Heretaunga, Te Hau Ora o Ngāpuhi, Te Arawa Lakes Trust and Whakarongorau, has been underway since 2021. Under the partnership, Māori COVID-19 welfare phone lines have been established in Hastings, Rotorua and Kaikohe, where the Māori population is high.

The partnership is creating positive outcomes for whānau. Having more kaimahi Māori on the phones has made it three times more likely that Māori callers turn up to their vaccination appointments. Kaimahi also kōrero with whānau about other important hauora kaupapa campaigns, such as bowel screening.

Taki o Autahi taps into the potential of Māori who face barriers to getting to work, such as lack of transport or whānau commitments. The partnership offers kaimahi flexible work hours and opportunities to work from home, and a living wage. These efforts are paying off; for ninety per cent of kaimahi at the Kaikohe call centre, this is the first time they have been employed.

Romayne Araia is one kaimahi who has benefitted from working at the Te Taiwhenua o Heretaunga call centre, after a friend encouraged him to apply for a position. He started with call centre in December 2021, where he has been making vaccination bookings and answering pātai about COVID-19. Three months after starting his mahi, he was offered the role of supervisor, looking after five staff.

The skills Romayne has developed in the Heretaunga call centre has led to him being offered and taking an analyst role at Whakarongorau head office in Tāmaki Makaurau.

“The personal development and skills I have gained over the last few months as a supervisor have equipped me well with the next transition in my career,” he said.

“I had been looking at relocating to a bigger city with more opportunities for a while, and the queue management analyst role provided a new job, new city and new opportunities.”

Read more about this kaupapa on the Te Taiwhenua o Heretaunga website.

New iwi and telehealth partnership a major milestone for Māori

Photo caption: Romayne is all smiles outside his Heretaunga workplace after receiving a promotion to head office.