David and whānau thrive through Whānau Ora support
WHĀNAU is everything to David Kirkpatrick. The heavy transport engineer has raised eight children of his own and after a fatal asthma emergency took the life of oldest daughter Alicia, David chose to raise her three daughters Maia (14), Jaezahn (11) and Coco (3), in order to keep them together and close to family.
Te Kupenga Hauora – Ahuriri Whānau Ora Navigator Verna Huata first had contact with David and his whānau when Alicia was young. Verna’s support was welcomed at a time of grief, when David and his wife separated and their children needed guidance to work through the process. Her connection with the whānau was again strengthened with Alicia’s passing and the support she was able to provide through her Navigator role.
“Having a Whānau Ora Navigator has been helpful for us. It was like we were looking down a tunnel and couldn’t see all the stuff around us. We didn’t know what was available or on offer to help us. Three years on, we wouldn’t have moved forward as we have without Verna’s help,” says David. He describes that the support she has given them has seen them move forward in “leaps and bounds”. This includes assistance with health issues such as asthma, getting their correct WINZ entitlements so David could stop working to care for the girls, accessing food, getting them involved in the Big Brother/Big Sister mentoring programme and setting up basics such as furniture and living requirements. “Verna has made sure that we were going forward, not backwards.”
With his moko’s now thriving, David has quietly started his own business constructing trailers. Utilising his past engineering skills and tapping into a keen market amongst his old shearing colleagues. It allows him the flexibility to still be there for the girls when required and work using his professional know how. He is confident that the future looks bright for this next generation. “Verna has helped and guided us. She continues to support us all so that the girls to stay on track.”
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