FORTY contractors working with New Zealand’s fourth largest forest owner Ernslaw One, were the first to benefit from Turanga Health’s mobile forestry health checks yesterday [Tuesday 21 February].
The onsite workplace wellness programmes for forestry staff is making it easier for them to seek medical help while also taking better care of themselves, says Turanga Health coordinator Dallas Poi.
“The health checks are tailored to meet the needs of men and women working in an industry where it’s not always easy to slip away to see a nurse in the middle of the day.”
Ernslaw One Gisborne regional manager Iain McInnes said the health checks carried out at the Mangatu forest headquarters yesterday were well received by those who passed through. “We were really keen to have Turanga Health offer the service to our contracting staff. People are the most valuable asset in any company and so investing in the health of our workforce makes good business sense as well as being the right thing to do.”
Mr McInnes says a healthy and happy workforce is just as important as investing in maintaining buildings and equipment. “We’re working with some talented people and we want to make sure they are well. The onsite health check was a unique opportunity for our staff and we’re thrilled it’s going to be available to others working in the forestry industry.”
Turanga Health had its state-of-the-art mobile clinic in the Whatatutu hills all Tuesday afternoon. It was staffed by four nurses, a smoking cessation coach, and a kaiāwhina (community health worker).
Forestry crew warratah drivers, fallers, break out staff, machinery operators, and digger and truck drivers, all came through the health check clinic. The comprehensive health check was about more than just eating habits and exercise, says Ms Poi.
“The initial assessments, which take up to half an hour, looked at a forester’s age, gender, ethnicity, weight, family history, blood pressure, glucose and cholesterol levels, and diabetic and smoking status.” A person’s risk of developing heart problems in the next five years was also assessed. “People can be told they have a risk ranging from mild to very high and where appropriate were directed to their GP or given education.”
Medication, alcohol, anxiety and depression were also discussed during the private consultations. Female staff had the chance to talk about women’s health issues such as smears and breast checks.
Ms Poi says yesterday when the forestry workers stepped inside Turanga Health’s four-wheel-drive truck and saw it was a fully functional clinic room they were pleasantly surprised. “Turanga Health does whatever it takes” to get health care and support to workers. “Health services offered Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm, don’t work for most primary industry staff which is why we take the services to the people on the roadside, or into the forest, any time of the day.”
Eastland Wood Council chief executive Prue Younger said the health checks are the result of a joint partnership between the wood council and Turanga Health which “aims to build a culture of health in the forestry industry.”
Ngati Porou Hauora nurses and support staff will help provide the mobile service when it’s taken to Ernslaw One contractors at Tokomaru Bay in March.
For more information contact: Dallas Poi, Turanga Health, (06) 869 0457.
A revolutionary way to get help from a doctor using iPads in schools was been introduced at five Tairāwhiti kohanga last week by 2014 New Zealander of the Year Dr Lance O’Sullivan.
The popular Kaitaia doctor was in Gisborne promoting a recently developed iPad application that can be used by trained adults in schools to assess a child's general health.
Known as iMOKO the assessments are sent via the internet to GPs in Kaitaia where they are reviewed and advice on any treatment needed is sent directly to whānau - saving them the cost of a trip to the doctor.
Like Uber, the world’s largest taxi firm that owns no cars, and Airbnb, the accommodation provider which owns no property, iMOKO is revolutionary. The technology enables existing infrastructure to be used more efficiently.
“We’re just using every day technology to put health care into the hands of the people,” Dr O’Sullivan told local health providers during presentations at Turanga Health on Thursday.
“Out of anger I have developed courage to change things and the vehicle is iMOKO.”
Dr O’Sullivan’s says his anger was directed at the inability of vulnerable whānau to access health care. As well as geographical isolation, cultural, social and financial isolation was preventing families in the Far North from getting help.
“Too many times the current system gets an F-grade. While this new way may meet some resistance from traditional health care providers the reality is, we are targeting unmet need. It’s disruptive innovation. It saves time, it saves money, and it’s enhancing primary care.”
As well as being used in schools and early education, Dr O’Sullivan says he’d helped introduce it into a Kaitaia gang pad, and will soon be doing the same in Hastings.
Turanga Health Chief Executive Reweti Ropiha applauds the notion of bringing technology to whānau so they have the ability to connect to health care and good decision making. And he’s pleased the iMOKO team is looking at ways to have GPs from around the country, including Tairāwhiti, involved. “It’s not just about bricks and mortar anymore”.
iMoko is funded by Māori health innovation fund Te Ao Auahatanga Hauora Māori, and is a Whānau Ora initiative.
Dr O’Sullivan was hosted by Midlands Health Network and Hauora Tairawhiti while in Gisborne.
Daiminn Kemp is putting his teaching degree and love of sports to good use, as one of Turanga Health’s newest health and sports providers.
Daiminn (Ngai Tāmanuhiri) studied primary school teaching through Te Wānanga o Raukawa and has spent the past three years as a Lytton High School relief teacher. Now with Turanga Health he works in schools and kohangas teaching ki o rahi, league and physical skills.
“At the start of the year I started postgraduate health and sports studies extramurally through Waikato University. When the [Turanga Health] position came up, everything I was studying matched the job description, so I asked my tutor what she thought and she said to go for it.”
Daiminn still has a year of study to complete but is already putting his knowledge to good use.
“I always wanted to focus more on physical education as a teacher. Most of my strengths and experiences were listed in the job description and I’ve always wanted to work with children in sports. I’m so glad I’m finally getting that experience here at Turanga Health.”
“The amount of schools Turanga Health reaches out to and the amount of time and resources they give is awesome. I also like that they have an opportunity to participate and involve themselves in programmes that other companies don’t offer.”
Before teaching and study Daiminn worked in the printing industry for more than 20 years in Wellington and then at Logans Print in Gisborne.
Daiminn is father to four and grandfather to two. In his spare time he loves being at the beach with wife Kellyann and family, and staying active outdoors. “I love hunting (mainly pigs), and diving, and tramping...but the tramping happens by default if you don’t catch anything!”
Turanga Health welcomes Daiminn.
THREE months into the Tūranga Health Eke Tū programme James 'Bull' Smith has dropped 7 kgs to 160kg and is loving life.
“My energy levels are up since I started. Things that would make me tired before I can just run around and do now. My breathing is better too.”
An altercation between his knee and a dairy farm backing gate two years ago, as well as and wear and tear from rugby, meant James thought his exercising days were over.
“When the surgeon said I needed to lose 40kgs to safely have knee surgery, I laughed. I said ‘are you for real?’ His GP referred him to Eke Tū.
James who is Ngāti Kahungunu and Ngāti Porou, travels from Te Karaka to town twice a week for exercise and nutrition sessions.
James and his group take part in yoga, circuit training and swimming. They learn stress management techniques and what a healthy diet looks like. “I was an invalid doing nothing. Now the strength in my knee is improving and even though I am still limited, it is getting much better.
“Once you get that momentum going it is hard to turn back, especially if you have a goal that you want to achieve. In our team there is an excitement and enthusiasm. I love it. I’m not just doing it for myself, I’m doing it to help my Eke Tū teammates now too. I’ve not missed a session yet, I even missed a hangi one time to come into town and exercise.”
James favours the swimming sessions where he can “give 100 percent”. Being in the water takes some of the pressure off his knee. Some unexpected new passions have emerged too. “The yoga sessions are good, they teach us about mindfulness.”
He says initial shyness within the group has dissipated. “Now we’ve learned to take shyness by the horns.”
It’s a fitting metaphor for James who’s known as Bull because of his size. But with his weight loss and his new found love of exercise—tough and determined seems a more appropriate reason he’s called Bull!
Eke Tū is a wraparound Tūranga Health programme run by kaiāwhina and gym instructor Bernie Semau.
The four-month pilot programme focuses on managing and preventing chronic conditions like obesity and diabetes through exercise and healthy lifestyle education.
Bernie runs two Eke Tū groups: eight patients from Gisborne, and 14 patients from Te Karaka. Patients are referred by their GP and both groups are half way through.
“We’ve seen some good results as far as decreases in blood pressure and HBA1C levels. Things like lowering the risk of diabetes are goals,” says Bernie.
Some participants have lost nearly 10kg. “It’s humbling to see those results and cool to be a part of something so positive. The biggest thing has probably been the interactions within the groups; people from different backgrounds and experiences coming together, opening up about their conditions and supporting each other.”
Participants do circuit sessions at the beach, yoga, swimming and gym sessions at Tūranga Health. They learn about nutrition, and their overall wellbeing is monitored by a Tūranga Health nurse. “As far as participation and pilots go, it has been awesome,” says Bernie.
A LOVE of children makes being a Tamariki Ora nurse a dream job for Akesa Kavai.
Akesa has worked as a Turanga Health Tamariki Ora nurse for four months.
She studied nursing extramurally through the Universal College of Learning and has spent the past four years working at Kiri Te Kanawa Retirement Village.
Her goal has always been to work with children and babies - but not in a hospital.“I’ve always had a passion for children but I didn’t like the paediatric wards because I don’t like seeing unhealthy or sickly children.”
Being a Tamariki Ora nurse involves everything Akesa loves about health and preventative care.“Working with kids, you’re not just focusing on them, you look at the entire family as a whole. Often you can’t just fix one issue because it relates to everyone not just the children.”
Akesa loves meeting babies and in a few months will meet her own! Already mum to Carmel, 7, and Timote, 23 months, her third child is due in March.
Akesa is of Tongan descent and was born in Auckland. Her family moved to Gisborne before her first birthday and went to Te Hapara Primary School, Gisborne Intermediate and Gisborne Girls’ High School.
Away from work, Akesa and her family love spending time at the park and are heavily involved with Wesleyan Methodist Church.
Turanga Health welcomes Akesa Kavai.
A TRAGIC family accident more than a decade ago led Swinitha Brown to work in health.
Swinitha (Rongowhakaata, Te Āitanga-a-Māhaki, Te Aitanga a Hauiti, Ngāti Maru) has been a Turanga Health community nurse for three months but her nursing journey began in 2001.
She’d finished her second year of law school when her father was in a car accident. "My dad ended up paralysed due to a medical misadventure and was sent to Burwood Spinal Unit in Christchurch. They were absolutely brilliant and it inspired me."
Swinitha decided she wanted to provide the same level of care her dad received at Burwood for others, and prevent more families from receiving inadequate care."I’d always been brought up to treat others how you would like to be treated, so I decided I wanted to give back."
She’s been a registered nurse for nearly nine years and worked at Chelsea and Gisborne Hospital.
Growing up in Gisborne, Swinitha attended Awapuni Primary School and Gisborne Intermediate. She attended high school in Otago and later at Te Aute College.
Being part Māori (her mother is a descendant of the Scottish Colquhoun clan) Swinitha was drawn to Turanga Health. "I wanted to be out there more with people in their homes."
Swinitha had heard good things about Turanga Health before applying for the job and as she’d always wanted to work for a Māori organisation, the move made sense. "Everyone gets on with one another and there’s no tension or stress. It is just amazing and I absolutely love it.”
Job flexibility and no night shift is important to Swinitha as she is mum to six-year-old Kruz. As the ninth of 10 children in her family, having an only child broke the mould. "But he makes up for at least seven kids, seriously. He’s really adventurous so we do heaps of fun stuff together." Among their hobbies are surfing at Okitu Beach, playing guitar, and singing together. Swinitha also enjoys spending time with partner Neil.
Recently Swinitha finished a small business management course at Te Wananga o Aōtearoa. "I really wanted to to do it for the management papers because I’m interested in nursing practitioner study."
Turanga Health welcomes Swinitha Brown.
LESLIE Puketapu is currently working in administration but is looking forward to her new role as a kaiāwhina from early next year.
Leslie (Te Aitanga Mahaki and Ngati Porou) has been covering Toni June’s maternity leave for the past three months and will continue until January.
Her eye had been on a job at Turanga Health for a while after seeing how the organisation worked with the community while she was population health administrator at Hauora Tairāwhiti.
"I didn’t know a lot about Turanga Health apart from its community work particularly within my own community. I thought 'I need to work for them and help my whānau'. I now have a real appreciation of how much work Turanga Health does and everyday I think, ‘I’m in the right place’.”
During her eight years at Hauora Tairāwhiti Leslie went to many events displaying health promotional resources. She hopes to build on this level of community engagement. "I want to bring about more awareness to whānau about various health services. I’m a people person. I love people and engaging with those that need more guidance and support.
Leslie attended Riverdale Primary, Gisborne Intermediate and Lytton High School. She’s mum to 15-year-old Katerina and is a supportive Gisborne Girls’ High School parent.
As well as family life and travel, Leslie loves sport. “I literally used to play everything but now I am more involved in netball management." Leslie has been a player and a coach at Whatatutu Netball Club and is now the secretary.
Turanga Health welcomes Leslie Puketapu.
DELICIOUS and nutritious was the aim of the game at the annual Turanga Health versus Three Rivers Medical Cook Off last week.
The two teams worked a long lunch time in shifts creating healthy dishes like beef kebabs and sliders while the public used their taste buds to vote.
Three Rivers might have had the home advantage with the event right outside its practice doors but Turanga Health came out on top.
The biggest success was educating the public with a range of easy, healthy and tasty dishes - and taking a fun break from work, says Three Rivers nurse Suze Platten. "It was great to be a part of a team that’s all about education, and to be out working together like we always do."
The event is also a bonding experience between the two primary health care providers says Turanga Health Manager Dwayne Tamatea. "The relationship with Three Rivers is already strong but like every relationship a bit of bonding is what today was about. That, and giving patients a look at what happens outside general practice."
For those lucky enough to attend the event and sample some of the dishes, casting a vote either way was no easy task. Watene Waikari went with Three Rivers, saying their sliders were simply "awesome". Jim Kahukoti attended the cook off with daughter Azaria. "It was a pretty even mix of food, it was all good."
Azaria, 2, tried almost every dish but was more excited with her brand new Turanga Health bucket hat!
BY day he’s a Turanga Health physical activity kaiāwhina but when Hotorene Brown steps into the ring this month the crowd will know him as Bad News Brown! Hotorene is taking part in the Fight for Life Education Trust 2016 annual charity boxing event that funds the Trust’s mobile classroom. Kayla Dalrymple, a previous challenger, finds out what drives Hotorene and how he thinks he’ll go.
Family man Hotorene Brown has three boys with his partner Manu: Te Kehu 14, Nathaneal 12, and Jahn 10. He says the Life Education Trust is a cause close to his heart. The classroom services the length of the East Coast focusing on wellness, nutrition and healthy living, as well as teaching anti-bullying, anti-drugs and anti-alcohol messages.
In some ways the Trust’s work shares similar values to Turanga Health and Hotorene says “it’s about the kids first and foremost, and then the journey of learning to box.”
The journey is something all boxers who have been involved with the event experience differently. Taking part means an intensive three month training schedule, late nights learning complicated techniques, hours sparring in the ring, and often missing dinner with the family and putting the kids to bed.
“It has been physically quite draining. You finish anywhere from 9 to 9.30pm and then you go home and have dinner by yourself with the adrenaline still racing through you, so you don’t sleep until 11pm or 12pm.”
Hotorene says the boxers connect strongly with their team mates. “Most of us have families or partners and there are some experiences you just can’t talk about with them because you just can’t explain it. But you bond with your team because you are all on the journey together, going through the ups and downs and meltdowns, the whole thing.”
Hoterene is part of the red team with Gisborne City Hit Pit. He will face off in the ring against Bevan Vendt from the Patu Tahi Boxing Club blue team. He’s not thinking too much about the bout. “I have not really over anaylsed the fight too much. As soon as you over analyse you get nervous and if you are nervous, you are no good to anyone.”
Hotorene says the experience so far has turned him from a couch critic into someone with a high respect for the sport. “My perception of boxing has changed. It is a fine art with lots of detail. It is really cool when you start to understand the basic stuff. Learning is hard because you have to remember 20 to 30 different things all at once, processing everything from the position of your feet to your shoulders - I forget to breathe sometimes. It’s not just brutality, there is a science and finesse to it as well.”
Fight for Life Ed 2016 is Friday 25 November at Gisborne Showgrounds. Tickets are available from Express PR.
FORMER New Zealand age group squash representative Jessie Halbert (Ngati Porou, Te Whānau-ā-Apanui, Rongowhakaata) has joined Turanga Health as a nutrition and physical activity kaiāwhina.
Jesse has been with Turanga Health for four months working in schools giving nutritional advice, and taking a range of different physical activity programmes that run across Turanga Health, like crossfit classes and heritage trail walks.
He’s spent the past few years travelling South East Asia and Europe, specifically England, Greece and Italy. “I was in Melbourne last, and came home and saw the job advertised. I have spent time representing New Zealand in squash and touch rugby and through that have had dietitians and nutritionists feeding me different pieces of knowledge over the years, so it made sense.”
Jesse attended Wainui Beach Primary School and Ilminster Intermediate before graduating from Gisborne Boys’ High School and heading to Victoria University.
He completed two years of a law degree before taking a “really long break” and will be with Turanga Health until early 2017, before returning to Wellington to complete his studies.
He says his plan is to segue into criminal law as a prosecuting lawyer so he can, “learn the whole template” of the law field. “I would love to go into defence law too. I have just always had a passion for it.”
Jesse’s ultimate goal is to work with Māori in some form. “That, and giving back, are the main things for me. Specifically here through physical exercise and health - it is the key to life, being healthy and eating well. Working with Māori will always be my main drive in any career path.”
Jesse’s passion for enabling Māori to live happy and healthy lives mean he’s been in his element the past four months. “My favourite part is the people. Turanga Health is an awesome company and a good environment to work in. They provide a lot for the community which creates a huge incentive to do your best and give that little bit extra. It does not feel like your typical nine to five job.”
In his down time Jesse plays touch for Turanga Health, surfs, spends time with family and friends and plays a song or two on his guitar.
Turanga Health welcomes Jesse Halbert.
Email us if you want to receive our media releases.