What is Whanau Pakari?

Whanau Pakari is a service run in conjunction with the TDHB that supports children and their whanau who struggle with weight issues and making healthy lifestyle choices.

Contact Person

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Kayla Jones

Health Development Advisor - Whanau Pakari
Phone: 027 384 3277

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Back to Whanau Pakari

Whanau Pakari (Active Families) 

What is Whanau Pakari?
It is a support service for 4-16 year olds with weight issues and uses a team of health professionals to support the child/teen and whanau. 

The name means: 'Healthy self-assured whanau that are fully active'. 

It evolved from a need to create a service for children, adolescents and their whanau dealing with weight issues in Taranaki, given the alarming rise in weight related health issues the region.

Who is Whanau Pakari run by?
Sport Taranaki and the Taranaki District Health Board have collaborated to deliver the service.

What are the objectives of Whanau Pakari?
To educate and empower whanau to take control of their own lives. To enable whanau to make healthy lifestyle changes that will be sustainable once they have moved on from the service.

What makes Whanau Pakari unique?

  • It is community based – the assessments happen in the home.
  • It is accessible to all – region-wide.
  • It 'demedicalises' weight issues – but medical support/overview remains.
  • It targets Maori and Pacific peoples but is open to all.
  • It involves the whole whanau to support the child/teen.

Who makes up the Whanau Pakari team?
Dr Yvonne Anderson (paediatrician/HRC senior clinical research fellow)
Lisa Wynter & Michelle Butler (Healthy Lifestyles Co-ordinator),
Niamh O’Sullivan (dietitian) (health research assistant).
Kayla Jones (health development/physical activity advisor)
Kate Treves (psychologist)

How do children/whanau get onto Whanau Pakari? 
Referrals can be accepted from general practitioners (GPs), practice nurses, pediatricians, public health nurses, kaiawhina, Maori health workers, Whanau Ora navigators, other Maori health providers, B4 school checks coordinators, dietitians, well child services and youth workers. We also take self-referrals. CLICK HERE TO SELF REFER

What sort of support is provided to children and their whanau once they are involved?

  • One on one family support and group sessions.
  • Physical fitness assessments and fun weekly physical activity sessions.
  • Cooking sessions, virtual supermarket tours.
  • Input from the programme dietitian, psychologist and healthy lifestyles coordinator.
  • Specialised adolescent based workshops and activity sessions.

How long are the children/whanau involved with Whanau Pakari?
Six - Twelve (12) months.

How many children have been involved with Whanau Pakari?
Whanau Pakari has received over 600 referrals since it started in January 2012. This is an overwhelming community response compared with most services being offered around the country. However, there are still many children and teens that could benefit from Whanau Pakari support across Taranaki.

Where is Whanau Pakari run?
It is run across Taranaki, with group sessions held in Hawera and New Plymouth.

What strategies does Whanau Pakari employ to reach Maori tamariki and their whanau?

  • Improved accessibility with a home visit model across the province – this has led to a 45% participation rate by Maori.
  • Ongoing Hui with Maori health providers and stakeholders.

What are the potential impacts of Whanau Pakari support?
There is no childhood weight support service as comprehensive in New Zealand; therefore Whanau Pakari will provide unique and valuable health research knowledge around childhood weight issues and cardiovascular and metabolic outcomes for overweight children and adolescents.

For those interested in finding out more about Whanau Pakari, who should they contact?
For referrals, please email Lisa Wynter (Healthy Lifestyles Co-ordinator) or Michelle Butler on [email protected] or phone on: 06 753 7777 Extn 8729, mobile: 027 910 7253.