Health and education professionals from around the world will be given an insight on the effectiveness of using a Māori co-design approach from Healthy Families Waitākere Māori Systems Innovator, Vikki Ham.

Vikki has been invited to host a workshop at the 23rd International Union for Health Promotion and Education (IUHPE) conference. She will share how a Māori co-design approach puts whānau at the centre of determining their own health, wellbeing and how the environment plays a key role.

Vikki says the workshop will largely focus on co-design work around the redevelopment of Ōpanuku Reserve.

“Healthy Families Waitākere supported rangatahi (youth) from bilingual units from Henderson Intermediate and Henderson High School through a co-design process to help them explore what they would like to see included in a playground.”

Panuku Development Auckland is in charge of the redevelopment and have brought these ideas to life, creating 17 Māori worldview play elements in the reserve’s playground plan.

 “The best part of the co-design process was seeing the social connectedness rangatahi naturally had with the environment. They helped to create a space that promotes physical activity through fun and play, as well as reflect Māori cultural local history, which can be enjoyed for generations to come.”

With 25 years of experience in Māori public health, Vikki wants to share ideas around co-design through a Māori lens, a model Healthy Families Waitākere regularly applies to initiatives.

“A Māori worldview way of thinking is that co-design is about kotahitanga (togetherness), manaakitanga (caring) and whanaungatanga (relationships, whānau, community),” she says.

“It is about giving tangatawhenua (indigenous people) the opportunity to really be part of a journey or process of discovery.”

IUHPE is committed to improving the health and wellbeing of people through education, community action and the development of healthy public policy. The conference runs from April 7-11.