What is Whānau Pakari?

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

Contact Person

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Kayla Jones

Health Development Advisor - Whānau Pakari
Phone: 027 384 3277

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Back to Whānau Pakari

Whānau Pakari (Active Families) 

What is Whānau Pakari?

It is a support service for 4-16 year olds with weight issues and uses a team of health professionals to support tamariki, rangatahi and whānau. 

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

It evolved from a need to create a service for children, adolescents and their whānau dealing with weight issues in Taranaki.

Who is Whānau Pakari run by?

Sport Taranaki and the Taranaki District Health Board have collaborated to deliver the service.

What are the objectives of Whānau Pakari?

To educate and empower whānau to take control of their own lives. To enable whānau to make healthy lifestyle changes that will be sustainable once they have moved on from the service.

What makes Whānau 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 Māori and Pacific peoples but is open to all.
  • It involves the whole whānau.

Who makes up the Whānau Pakari team?

Dr Yvonne Anderson (paediatrician/senior clinical research fellow)
Lisa Wynter & Michelle Butler (healthy lifestyles co-ordinators)
Niamh O’Sullivan (dietitian/health research assistant)
Kayla Jones (health development/physical activity advisor)
Dr Kate Treves (psychologist)

How do children/whānau get onto Whānau Pakari? 

Referrals can be accepted from general practitioners (GPs), practice nurses, paediatricians, public health nurses, kaiāwhina, Māori health workers, Whānau Ora navigators, other Māori health providers, B4 school checks co-ordinators, 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 whānau 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 co-ordinator.
  • Specialised adolescent based workshops and activity sessions.

How long are the children/whānau involved with Whānau Pakari?

Six - Twelve (12) months.

How many children have been involved with Whānau Pakari?

Whānau Pakari has received over 650 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 tamariki and rangatahi that could benefit from Whānau Pakari support across Taranaki.

Where is Whānau Pakari run?

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

What strategies does Whānau Pakari employ to reach Māori tamariki and their whānau?

  • Improved accessibility with a home visit model across the province.
  • Ongoing hui with Māori health providers and stakeholders.

What are the potential impacts of Whānau Pakari support?

There is no service as comprehensive in New Zealand for addressing weight issues in young people. Because Whānau Pakari is linked to clinical research, it will provide valuable insights into what works for tamariki, rangatahi and their whānau, and inform further service development.

For those interested in finding out more about Whānau Pakari, who should they contact?

For referrals, please email Lisa Wynter or Michelle Butler (healthy lifestyles co-ordinators)  on [email protected] or phone on: 06 753 7777 Extn 8729, mobile: 027 910 7253.  

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