Growing the Puna – Meet Hannah

Growing the Puna is part of our workforce development mahi and provides the opportunity to connect tauira who have a passion to work in Māori health, with the mahi that is happening within the Māori public health, nutrition and physical activity. Regardless of which tertiary institute these students are coming from, Growing the Puna is aimed at identifying these students of sport, exercise and physical activity and fostering the whanaungatanga between them, the community, and the sector.

Hannah Rapata (Kai Tahu), joined the team at Toi Tangata for the 2017/2018 Summer intake. We talked to her about the experience.

Q. How did you find the Toi Tangata internship experience?
A. I absolutely loved my internship experience, it provided me many opportunities to learn and develop intellectually, culturally and personally.

Q. What did the internship involve?
A. My internship project involved developing a nutrition resource to be utilised in conjunction with He Pī Ka Rere. The research process I undertook involved creating a questionnaire which was filled out by kaiako and whanau at the National Kohanga Reo expo in 2017. The data obtained from the questionnaire identified influences on dietary patterns of children and teachers in Kohanga Reo, current nutrition strategies, and areas where teachers of Kohanga Reo and whanau require further nutritional support. These results were used to develop a culturally appropriate nutrition resource to meet the needs of the Kohanga Reo community.

Q. What did you get out of it?
A. My internship experience provided me so many opportunities to connect with inspiring and insightful individuals! Their insight and encouragement enabled me to foster new thought processes and have confidence in my own ideas. I have also learned valuable research skills that I can now apply in my studies and in any further research my may do. I have also learned to challenge and critically evaluate mainstream approaches to nutrition/health research and education, whilst approaching my work from a te ao Māori perspective.

Q. Would you recommend others give it a go?
A. Most definitely!

Q. Thinking practically, how did it work for you?
A. I live in Auckland and had the opportunity to work in the Toi Tangata office every day. I loved coming in each day as it gave me the opportunity to bounce ideas off different people and receive support whenever I needed it.

Q. What were the highlights of the internship for you?
A. The highlights of my internship were attending a He Pī Ka Rere workshop in Whanganui and the National Kohanga Reo expo in Hamilton. These highlights enabled me to meet hundreds of people in the Kohanga community and learn about their ideas and personal challenges to promote Kai Māori Kai Ora messages in their whanau and Kohanga. Another highlight was the Toi Tangata Hui ā Tau in February, where I had the opportunity to present my research project. This was a fantastic learning experience for me as public speaking is not a strength of mine!

Q. Has the internship changed any of your thoughts/ideas/opinions?
A. My internship with Toi Tangata has changed some of my ideas around conventional approaches to health and nutrition and inspired me to focus my studies and my future career in Māori health and nutrition.