25 years in the Community
IN 1994 a new organisation was set-up out of the Heretaunga District Council of the Māori Women’s Welfare League. Mandated to deliver one programme, vision and hearing checks in six Kōhanga Reo in Napier, Te Kupenga Hauora - Ahuriri was resourced with two part-time staff and a volunteer manager who the organisation found means to koha to quarterly.
A quarter of a century has gone by with Te Kupenga Hauora - Ahuriri now delivering many more programmes and having impacted the lives of thousands of whānau across the region. It is here that CEO Audrey Robin finds the true value and heart of the organisation. Something that she considers has remained constant throughout their journey.
However, something that has changed is the environment that they operate in. Being responsive to these changes is one of the reasons identified as contributing to their ongoing presence.
“We’ve needed to recognise changes and respond accordingly. Especially when it comes to recruiting and service innovation. We try to ensure that we recruit those that are the best fit for our community and that our services are appropriate for those we are supporting,” she says.
She is resolute in not doing things the same old way, but striving to do things better, confident that this leads to better results and best use of the confined funding allocations they receive.
Audrey credits partnerships and collaborations, some formal but often informal, with other organisations as another key strategy.
Reflecting on the last 25 years, Audrey notes the contributions of all staff and Board Members, especially those that have worked with Te Kupenga Hauora - Ahuriri for more than a decade. They remain a highlight for her. “They have ridden some pretty tough times, stayed and taken up the challenge. It’s wonderful to have them still here helping to steer the ship.”
Steering the ship into the future is a current focus for Audrey as she acknowledges that she is coming closer to the end of her tenure as CEO. “I recognise the need to reset the dial in terms of our leadership to keep us moving forward. I’d like to leave the ship in good hands and want to give my successor an opportunity to test their style of leadership.”
As she continues to work with her Governance team around succession and keep the ship steady on the horizon, she shares her hope for the future. “My hope is that Te Kupenga Hauora - Ahuriri will continue to serve the community better than what they have received in the past. It’s not about throughput and staff numbers, incomes or bottom lines. At the end of the day it’s about the difference we make for the whānau we’ve supported.”
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