Shared kai and whakawhanaungatanga at Burwood Spinal unit

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We bring our tangata haua and their whanau together for shared kai of boil up, who are currently in Burwood Hospital.

It enables everyone present  to whakawhanaungatanga, form relationships and discuss their current rehabilitation experiences in a whanau environment which is caring, uniquely Māori and allows patients/whanau to feel relaxed and enjoy themselves in a hospital setting which is foreign to so many Māori that are usually resident in the North Island.

It is a great opportunity for patients to share their stories and rehab journey to date with the ups and downs they have experienced. It’s a fantastic opportunity for the “newbies” to hear the journeys of those more experienced patients especially those who have been through  brain injury or spinal cord injury rehabilitation journey. For many who are new to their injury it gives them a look into those who have been wheelchair bound for 1-3 years to those who have been in chairs  20-30+ years, gives them hope that there is a life in the chair and that choosing to live is an option, it is attainable and that they can have a great quality  of life if they chose to do so and do the hard work to get there. Part of the rehab journey isn’t just the physical adjustment but also the mental, emotional, cultural and spiritual adjustment and acceptance of ones self image.

Many lifelong friendships have developed from this type of engagement not only with other patients and their whanau, but also staff who work in the various wards. It allows for trusting relationships to form and also allows for hard/tough conversations to be had whether it’s about their current state of mind, how mentally/physically are they coping with their life changing trauma  and how too are their whanau coping with the change that’s happened to their loved one and the new whanau dynamics.

Being able to sit together, share kai together, kai that’s good for the soul also enables the korero to flow and allow healing to occur. It’s great to see the progress tangata haua make between each shared kai lunch we have. It is a positive experience and part of everyday normality that our patients/whanau experience in their own homes on a daily basis of having kai together and kai that they enjoy preparing, cooking and eating which isn’t offered at the hospital. It’s a vital part of the rehab journey and grieving/healing process.