Hamilton’s Rauawaawa Kaumātua Charitable Trust has been championing the health and wellbeing of kaumātua for a long time, especially in the areas of affordable and appropriate housing.
That led the trust to set up the first Kaumātua and Housing Wellbeing Expo, aiming to help those kaumātua and whānau in this housing crisis.
Trust director Hokikau Chase Purcell is thrilled that today’s expo went ahead under strict health and safety protocols due to Covid 19 regulations, with kaumātua being the most vulnerable to the virus.
But she says she knows the reality of what is happening to kaumātua, living in terrible situations.
“We are getting old and cannot survive if our homes are not appropriate for living in. They are cold, damp and rotting,” Purcell says.
The main objective of the expo was to help the elderly into affordable and appropriate homes to live in. The expo featured workshops and guest speakers setting realistic pathways to support the elderly.
Rauawaawa Kaumātua trust chief executive Rangimahora Reddy spoke to more than 200 kaumātua at the Expo about hauora and housing and its importance.
“Our kaumātua haven’t really been brought together for a very long time and if you listen to reports from the Ministry and DHB we have got a pandemic surge on our tail,” Reddy says. There were also presentations from government bodies today explaining a shortage of housing, transitional housing, emergency housing and affordable and appropriate homes for kaumātua.
And, after hearing the reality of housing issues from these experts, Purcell is thankful for experts being there today.
“We are delighted that experts are here today in housing and health, sharing their knowledge and to support us, the elderly,” Purcell says.
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‘I’m left with nothing’
Kaumātua Paul Rau of Ngāti Koroki Kahukura and Ngāti Hauā lives in Tauwhare and is renting a place for himself and his grandchild.
He is shocked by the high price of rentals and is left with nothing at the end of the day. And with his own health challenges, living in these circumstances does not help him with his mental and physical well-being.
“The rent has skyrocketed and is a bit dear now and by the time I have paid my rent and food in the cupboard and fridge, I am left with close to nothing at the end of the day,” Rau says.
Reddy is quick to acknowledge that actions are being taken at a higher level among government and local agencies to help people like Raubut says it is all data collecting and researching at the moment.
“There is a lot of work going around with what makes for affordable homes, what made for homes that are age-friendly and so there is some great mahi going on in that space,” Reddy says.
Another important part of this expo was to give kaumātua the opportunity to get a flu jab. “If they were going to be there and their friends too, then it was an opportunity to invite them for a jab,” Reddy says.
The trust was also pleased today to talk about its plans for the first indigenous or Māori age-friendly dementia facility
“And with that journey, we will pull together all our learnings and we will share it,” Reddy says.
The trust will hold another expo on July 8.
Although Māori make up 15% of the total population, only 6% of all people 65 and over are Māori. The Māori population is increasing rapidly and by 2038 it is projected there will be 130,000 older Māori – 10% of the older population, and 12% of the Māori population.