Waiho i te toipoto, kaua i te toiroa. Let us keep close together, not wide apart.
By Ranui Maxwell
Healthy Families East Cape is proud to be celebrating two years of a Play co-partnership position in Te Tairāwhiti.
The Regional Play Systems Lead is a partnership and co-funded role between HFEC (Healthy Families East Cape) and Sport Gisborne Tairāwhiti.
HFEC recognises that shifting the conditions for change includes taking a partnership approach. By taking a collective impact approach, we recognise that sustainable change requires a long-term commitment by multiple system partners from different sectors at multiple levels. The Play position sits within the Sport Gisborne Tairāwhiti team, which allows for support from the teams responsible for delivering on-play strategies across Te Tairāwhiti.
There is much to acknowledge over the two years of partnership between HFEC and Sport Gisborne Tairāwhiti.
Over the 2020 lockdown, the HFEC team undertook data analysis the lividid voice of the community and of the barriers and general state of play across Te Tairāwhiti. Post lockdown the team presented a walkthrough of their findings which led to forming relationships with key kaupapa partners.
“We've partnered on work that shared research and data to support both of our workspaces and for Sport Gisborne Tairāwhiti, gave us another model of thinking to consider - the systems thinking approach really stands out for me on this one”, says Kylie Turuwhenua-Tapsell, Sport Gisborne, Tairāwhiti General Manager.
Mid-2020 saw the then Regional Play Systems Lead, Lena Bevan, move into another role in the district, leaving a very visible gap in the play space for Sport Gisborne-Tairāwhiti, which was beginning to take shape in the direction of Healthy Families East Cape’s kaupapa. When the role was vacated, the opportunity for Healthy Families East Cape and Sport Gisborne-Tairāwhiti to work in partnership, was born. The co-funded partnership allowed for the play position to be increased to 20 hours per week from only 10 hours. Anna Tolich has held this role since 2020 with an explicit focus on elevating the opportunities for Play in the region.
“The opportunity to partner with another community group that has shared outcomes and values as us has been really valuable to get thinking and brains from across both of our organisations into the play mahi and have a joint voice in advocating for play in other sectors”, says Kylie.
One of the key initiatives that Anna has led, is the Neighbourhood Play Systems prototype work alongside the tamariki of Cobham School, Elgin. Anna succeeded in ensuring Elgin was one of four communities where the prototype is being tested around the country.
The comprehensive assessment of the neighbourhood and the surrounds of Cobham School, has evaluated the opportunities identified through an assessment and consultation process, for creating playful neighbourhoods through tamariki-led play initiatives.
The Blueprint from Sport NZ and ARUP is a radical approach to urban design in that it places our kaupapa partners, our tamariki and whānau, at the centre of the design process.
The Bluprint takes a Te Ao Māori view of the health and well-being of the Elgin Community and the broader play system. This reflects the high proportion of Māori who live, learn, work, and play in Elgin and the holistic approach of the Sport Gisborne Tairāwhiti Manawakura kaupapa. Utilising the Te Ao Māori framework of Te Whare Tapa Whā as a tamariki-friendly urban design tool, has allowed the tamariki to identify five opportunities for a healthy and equitable Elgin Neighbourhood Play System. To read more about the Play opportunities (insert link).
With the collective support of Sport NZ, ARUP and Gisborne District Council, Sport Gisborne Tairāwhiti and Healthy Families East Cape explored and tested the Neighbourhood Play System Blueprint of play sufficiency, within the suburb of Elgin and the neighbourhood surrounding Cobham School.
As we move into the next phase of the Neighbourhood Play System prototype, which seeks to experiment and test opportunities identified by the tamariki, we are excited to strengthen enduring relationships with mana whenua, and bring to life the insights and opportunities set out by our tamariki.
“Lots on the plate for next year which starts with working alongside some new additions to the Play Champion space and understanding how we can collectively make an awesome impact on the Play System. Supporting the tamariki voice into action will be high on the to do list next year. Anna and her multi-agency crew have done an awesome job of building tamariki that are now urban designers so bringing their visions to life and having their voice heard by decision-makers is a real focus going forward”.
“The opportunity to influence work in other spaces could have happened without the role being co-funded but does give more weight to the partnership because we have invested in each other's mahi”.
“Connecting to the opportunities and strengths in each organisation gives Anna variety and increases the opportunity to learn and develop. With Anna sharing Personal Development opportunities or engaging in mahi in Healthy Families East Cape it's an opportunity to bring in the different perspectives of people. I know the team strengths activity with the HFEC team definitely gave Anna an opportunity to look at her skills and strengths in a different way”, says Kylie.
Toni June, HFEC, Manager has been part of this co-partnership journey from conception to implementation and speaks to how the partnership approach has had impacted on Play in the region.
“I’ve really enjoyed our partnership with Sport Gisborne-Tairawhiti. Kylie and Stefan’s exceptional leadership has made this a very easy relationship, and the hidden influence of our collaborative approach to the Play role has seen some very deep outcomes achieved by our Anna, including the Neighbourhood Play System and also the impending Play Advocate role to sit within Gisborne District Council that, in itself, is co-funded by GDC and Sport NZ”.
“Looking forward, I can tell that the role of Play across our region, in general, has been brought to the forefront of everyone’s minds, and I can already tell that the co-funded approach of all and any roles in our region are favourable with our changing environments”. Says Toni.
The Neighbourhood Play Systems prototype and co-partnership play position between Healthy Families East Cape and Sport Gisborne Tairāwhiti, is an example of what can be achieved when you work towards achieving collective impact. This approach recognises that strong leadership is needed at all levels and creates the space for communities to drive action while acknowledging and valuing the role community plays in determining what they need to thrive.