Mahalia Katene-Takimoana (19) was living and studying in Wellington and dreaming of going into the Navy, when she discovered she was five-months pregnant.
It prompted a move back to Napier and initially knocked her confidence, seeing her “hide away at home.”
A close friend who was also expecting, suggested she get in touch with the Family Start service at Te Kupenga Hauora - Ahuriri and for almost a year, she has had Community Support Worker - Family Start Lavinia Martin as a sounding board as she embarked on parenthood and plans for her future.
Lavinia really admires Mahalia. “She’s figured out how to be a good Mum with little input from others and is very selfmotivated,” says Lavinia. Mahalia is a student at the Teen Parent Unit, where her son Nikau attends the adjoined early childhood centre. Being around the other babies and carers is of great benefit to Nikau, plus it’s convenient for Mahalia. Very soon she is heading off for 18-weeks basic training for the Navy and is busy completing 10 credits so that she has NCEA Level 3 – University Entrance. “I want to have options and I want a good career for myself and for my son.”
Lavinia’s support, as well as that from a Te Kupenga Hauora - Ahuriri Youth Navigator, has contributed to Mahalia’s determination to pursue this path while being a Mum. By focussing on the safety and development of the child, I’m able to be a steady presence in the background. It’s wonderful to see whānau prosper”, Lavinia asserts. “Lavinia is really helpful. She’s a calm voice and someone I can ask for help or advice. I would definitely recommend Family Start to others,” says Mahalia.
Providing support to hapū (pregnant) Mums and their children aged up to five-years, Family Start is a FREE service. Call Te Kupenga Hauora - Ahuriri on 835 1840 for more information.
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