By Brenda McQuillan, Pūkenga Manaaki
Whānau who attended the Christmas barbeque that was organised by the Te Piki Oranga Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) team agreed that everyone had a blast. One mum told us, “Everyone was invited... whānau really meant whānau!” A voucher donated by New World also ensured that there was lots of kai (and sunscreen) to go around.
The kaupapa behind the event was twofold – it was a chance for tamariki and rangatahi to have fun, relax and truly feel part of an event. Being the parent/guardians of a tamariki or rangatahi with mental health issues can be very isolating. Another mum who was there told us, “It can be quite hard to take the kids to events, and it often means staying home and missing out.”
It also gave parents/guardians a chance to interact. One mother said she was able to talk with other mothers and Te Piki Oranga kaimahi because “they understood and were tolerant” and that the day had given her confidence about her son’s future next year.
Two bouncy castles from Blast Bouncy Castles were very popular and the Nelson Fire Brigade played soccer, cricket and rugby with the tamariki and rangatahi and also sprayed the hoses on the children. One parent commented that she had been shy around firemen in the past but now felt much more at ease. The arrival of our Polynesian Santa was another highlight for many.
Given the success and positive feedback from everyone who attended the barbeque, the Te Piki Oranga CAMHS team are already thinking about ways to make this year’s event even better!