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“Keeping up with the Kaumatua”

Until I met Rangimahora Reddy, I did not know anything about Rauawaawa Kaumatua Charitable Trust (Rauawaawa), its location, the depth and breath of services it offers across health and well-being, education and activities to support and enhance the quality of life of Kaumatua.

I was impressed.  The warmth of welcome, the immediate sense of community and a strong feeling of belonging – gosh what more could one want of a community facility.

Rauawaawa is located in Colombo Street, Frankton, Hamilton called Te Puna o Te Ora. Nestled into the surrounding commercial landscape on just over one acre of land, Rauawaawa celebrates more than 20 years of service delivery, whilst Te Puna o Te Ora has been active for over 75 years.

Rangimahora participated in CELF’s (Community and Enterprise Leadership Foundation) Elevate Leadership course in 2018, alongside 19 others.  Rangimahora, starts out by saying CELF has changed things for me and for Rauawaawa.  She shares her story with me.

“We have a big mission here at Rauawaawa. Whilst we have been gifted the land and buildings this grand old lady takes quite a bit of upkeep and, ultimately, we need to invest in renewed building assets to sustain us into the future. 

To do this we have worked through a collaborative process with our Trustees and Kaumatua, settling on a plan.  The price tag with this consented plan sits at $3.3m. 

“We mapped out how to achieve this.  There were key funders and criteria to meet. We worked diligently to meet the basic requirements, ensuring we had raised $100K as kitty and then submitted a strong application to our potential funder. 

During this time John Cook, a Trustee and Sponsor of the CELF programme, contacted me.  Thinking this could be the final dollars in the bucket to get us over or initial $100K mark I was quite excited at the prospect of the piggy bank being bolstered.

Finally, John and I sit down and John says…. Rangimahora, we would like to invest in Rauawaawa by providing you a place on the CELF programme.  So that you can grow, learn and connect with the community to help you build your new facility to realise Kaumatuas vision of this project.  
Oh, boy, at first, I did not know what to say, I was a little taken aback having my eyes set on the piggy bank contribution. 

And here is where things start to get interesting and outcomes far exceed that initial potential investment that I was hoping for.

My participation on the CELF leadership programme has connected me with a group of likeminded individuals across a vast range of organisations, for purpose (like us), for profit, sporting organisations and local government. 

We all took learnings, significant learnings that have altered many of our approaches, direction and ways of leading. We all shared and helped each other on this learning journey and have taken this back to our organisations and applied those learnings and have leveraged the connections we have made.”

As I was listening to Rangimahora’s story, I was so taken with the careful listening that has been done along the way.  Kaumatua, said “what happens, when I may not be able to visit Rauawaawa as my health or mobility does not allow me to be here, what does this investment look like for us”?
A great question!  And this is where technology will play its part in the design with the capability to join activities online - inclusion and connection is key to the success of this project.
One of the quotes Rangimahora loves “Nothing will make you fail faster than DOUBT!”
“Having missed out on our first go with our funder, which left us quite despairing, we were determined not to face such disappointment again and set about to create alternative pathways and options to take us closer to achieving our funding goal and not just waiting.  To be active and give our people a way to be involved in this process was important.

We had been recommended to try Crowd funding as a way to also show other Maori organisations that this was a viable option for raising funds.   A colleague and I participated in a Crowd funding program called Ta Koha through the Maori Womans’ Development Network and PledgeMe.  Oh, there was a lot to this, more than I thought.   I recognised quickly that the success of our crowd funding project was dependent on a whole raft of components right down to what we called the Campaign. By the way the name of campaign was “Keeping up with the Kaumatua”  

And this is where my CELFie colleagues contributed, their ideas, frank and genuine feedback, as well as mentoring, and the opening up of wider networks of influencers.  The CELF programme gave me confidence to take on some of these challenging situations, embrace the will of our people and call on the resource of those in the community around me.

This whole process and result demonstrated to me the power of contribution.

The result of the Crowd funding process was a boost in funding by $103K bringing us closer to the $800K needed to complete Stage 1.  Given the challenge to secure the full complement of required funds we have now reassessed the project that will be completed in stages.
This is so important for us, especially for our Kaumatua, who have poured heart and soul into this project and some of whom may not see the project completed in its entirety, however if we can get this out of the ground and start the building journey, what a wonderful return for everyone.

“And the journey continues” says Rangimahora, as we work on the vision for tomorrow, growing our opportunities, innovating and creating revenue streams that support our culture, heritage and values so that we can continue to support and enhance the lives of our Kaumatua.”

END:
For more information go to:  https://www.rauawaawa.co.nz/

Writers Note:
As I near the age of 55 myself, maybe the relevance of such facilities resonates more, my strong connection to and appreciation of our elders, and appreciation that they deserve, want and need services that go beyond basic health care.  
And then the sad reality that as community and family dynamics change, the growing older population is at risk of neglect and investment in the departure lounges of this world is often not a priority. 



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