Innovative approach to recruiting mataora

1 October 2017

Te Hiringa Matua (the power to parent) is a pregnancy and parenting support serv

Helping hapu (pregnant) mama who are struggling with drug and alcohol problems is a job that resonates with many if a recent recruitment process is anything to go by. More than 50 people applied for eight roles with the new Te Hiringa Matua Service.

Te Hiringa Matua (the power to parent) is a pregnancy and parenting support service based on a successful pilot at Waitemata District Health Board. Waitemata offered an intensive programme of support to pregnant women and/or whānau with children under three, who have serious addiction issues. The women were generally not well connected to social and health support services.

In this district, the service will have a uniquely Tairāwhiti approach to providing that support and connection. Mahi a Atua (using indigenous knowledge of Māori gods to make sense of a situation), is a way of working that is being developed in Tairāwhiti led by Dr Diana and Mark Kopua. Mahi a Atua is the foundation of the Te Hiringa Matua service and the people who facilitate this approach are called Mataora.

We wanted to make sure the very best applicants were employed to support vulnerable mama and whānau, says Ngāti Porou Hauora Manager Frances King. “We invited all of the applicants to a workshop held at Te Tini o Porou that followed a traditional Māori way of doing things including powhiri, whakawhanaungatanga (establishing relationships), kai (food), group work and karakia (prayer). The jobs were widely advertised and all applicants were advised the workshop would be part of the recruitment process – along with reviewing applications and CVs.”

“Applicants could bring along whānau support, just like they can at any job interview. We had more 60 people at the workshop. As well as introducing the concepts around Mahi a Atua and Te Hiringa Matua, participants formed groups to look at a range of scenarios. We gave them flexibility about how they responded as a group to the scenario and how they presented their feedback.”

The process worked well, Frances adds. “Many who attended said that while they wanted the job, attending the workshop had been a positive and worthwhile experience. There was a genuine aacknowledgementfrom the applicants around the skill of others at the workshop. It was satisfying to hear many say that they were keen to support the kaupapa even if they didn’t get the job.”

Ngāti Porou Hauora is the lead provider for Te Hiringa Matua which was launched in Tairāwhiti on 2 October. The service reports to a governance group with membership from Tūranga Health, Hauiti Hauora, Hauora Tairāwhiti and Ngāti Porou Hauora.

The Team

Te Awhimate Tawhai has been appointed Kaiārahi of the team working with Matt Bartlett, Mike Timu, Bronwyn Williams, Ngapaki Moetara (all Mataora) and Jana Hihi (Administration).


Te Hiringa Matua is based at 66 Customhouse Street.

PHONE 06 986 1696
FAX 06 929 1688


The name Te Hiringa Matua

is taken from Te Oriori (lullaby) for Tuuteremoana, an ancient birthing karakia that describes the instinct to care for children.

I taatai ai te puhi ariki

And blessed upon this young person

Te Hiringa matua

Was the power to parent

Te Hiringa tipua

A magical power

Te Hiringa tawhito-o-rangi

An inherited power