AFTER more than 30 years as a hairdresser, Marnie Evans went for a career change that’s not quite as radical as it seems.
As a navigator for Turanga Health, Marnie works with whānau targeted for support under Manaaki Tairāwhiti's 50 Families scheme.
“Any hairdresser will tell you that the job is just as much counselling as it is working with hair so I've had a lot of experience in that area,” she says.
“And in any case, throughout my life I've always taken in kids in trouble, those who have needed a bit of help, so this is a natural fit for me.”
With Under 50 Families, the approach is “whatever it takes” to help targeted whānau -- both for their own good, and for the good of generations to come.
And “navigator” is a good term for Marnie's role as her job is not only to support whānau in good decision-making, but to help them untangle the systems they may need to work through.
For Marnie (Te Aitanga-a-Māhaki), “whatever it takes” means she and her colleague Avenir Maurirere listen to whānau before working out a plan.
“It is not our place to tell them what they need, it is for them to tell us what they need,” she says. “Our role is to build trust, to hear what they are saying, and to do whatever it takes to get it done.”
So on any one day she might be helping a whānau member get to the doctor, supporting them in court, teeing up counselling or just taking the time to talk through what is affecting them.
“There's a lot involved but it never feels like work,” says Marnie. “Being able to help whānau achieve their goals is the most rewarding thing you could ever do. It just makes me happy.”
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