Introducing Manawa Ora

21 December 2021

Manawa Ora is a tikanga tool for lived experience storytellers.

Manawa ora illustration Manawa ora illustration

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Humans have been telling stories for millennia. Our stories reside in our bones, in our whakapapa. Like pūrakau, they anchor, enrich and inspire us, guiding us home to ourselves, lighting fires of hope, ahikā, and social change.

Manawa Ora is for all lived experience representatives, including storytellers, whānau, youth, consumer advisors – basically anyone employed to work from a lived experience perspective.

Building upon their lived experience knowledge of storytelling work, Mahitahi Trust and Mind and Body Consultants explored the needs and practices of lived experience storytellers.

Wananga Wananga
Some of the participants at the full wānanga who designed the Manawa Ora resource.

"There were common aspirational reasons why people shared their stories, like hope, healing and educating others. These reasons brought feelings of positivity and energy to their mahi. We also heard from people doing this work repetitively, feelings of overwhelm, burnout and isolation," says Sheree Veysey, Project Lead for Mind & Body Consultants. “Te Hiringa Hauora and Nōku te Ao allowed us to explore creating a framework to better support storytellers.”

After consulting with 57 lived experience storytellers via wānanga, survey and kōrero with rangatira, Manawa Ora, a new tikanga resource, was developed. It intentionally moves storytelling away from the individual and towards a whānau-focused, knowledge-sharing model.

Employing a strengths-based Te Tiriti partnership was critical in developing the tikanga. "It was important for Mahitahi Trust to lead this kaupapa because of their expertise in mātauranga Maori," Sheree says. "Coupled with our joint experience delivering Like Minds workshops, we were able to share knowledge and learn from community to create this taonga."

Whanaungatanga, mātauranga Māori and kotahitanga, are the guiding principles or pou used throughout the Manawa Ora resource. Each pou is designed to reduce experiences of vulnerability and overexposure and increase connection to the kaupapa and one another through wānanga.

“The promotion of ‘we’ the collective with an intersectional lens is important,” says Brontē Jefferies, Project Lead, Mahitahi Trust.

“A good lived experience leader remembers that there are differences and nuances in our collective experiences while demonstrating that we all have very similar needs for human connection, and we all have a collective need for the reduction of discriminatory systems that harm our whānau.”

A tikanga framework enables systemically safe storytelling. Brontē is challenging the sector to commit to the Manawa Ora tikanga in their strategic plans to protect the mauri and human rights of all whānau sharing their stories.

In it's 25 year history, a lived experience collective has emerged from the work of Nōku Te Ao: Like Minds. These brave, generous storytellers have led the kōrero on distress and discrimination. They are our rangatira who hold immense knowledge about the art of lived experience storytelling.

Many have spoken of the incredible gifts sharing their story has given them, their whānau and the wider community, experiences of mana motuhake, freedom and joy. But our stories are potent; we have not always drawn on the powerful mātauranga that exist within our experienced storytellers. They have had to navigate the sea like Kupe and wrestle giant wheke in their wake. Yet their triumphs also carry words of caution; sometimes, telling stories without tikanga can have a cost.

Listen to Manawa Ora

Listen to our podcast and hear the stories of lived experience story-tellers and for more information about Manawa Ora.

Listen to Manawa Ora

Listen to our podcast and hear the stories of lived experience story-tellers and for more information about Manawa Ora.