Waiata programme provides a common goal
Waiata sessions at Kirikiroa Marae in Hamilton, held as part of Life Unlimited’s Ngā Mara Ātea programme, are building participants’ confidence in themselves and each other, says team leader Deborah Baird.
Many people come from across the Waikato take part in the training run in partnership with Enrich Plus, who play and provide the music, and with vocational support from Idea Services.
The fortnightly programme starts with a Zumba session.
“That gets them moving and caters for people with varying abilities,” says Deborah.
After morning tea, everyone regroups to join in the waiata.
Barry Rautangata and Ayla Atkins take great pride in leading the group and are both excited about what the future holds for it.
“We’re really thrilled that Barry is also teaching the others how to sign language He Honore,” she says.
“He learned him from his former support worker and it is incredibly generous of him to pass that on.”
Ayla, who is usually quite shy, finds her confidence building the more she is involved with waiata.
“It’s wonderful to see the people we support at Life Unlimited taking on leadership roles,” says Deborah.
Whāia te iti kahurangi ki te tūohu koe me he maunga teitei
Seek the treasure you value most dearly: if you bow your head, let it be to a lofty mountain
This whakatauki is about aiming high or for what is truly valuable, but its real message is to be persistent and don’t let obstacles stop you from reaching your goal.