Wellbeing Navigators ready to help returning New Zealanders
7/08/2020 12:16:48 p.m.

Returning New Zealanders accommodated in Rotorua are being given extra help with any challenges they may face with Wellbeing Navigators stationed at each of the hotels.

The seven Wellbeing Navigators were welcomed to Lakes District Health Board yesterday. After a two-day orientation process they will begin their roles within the managed isolation facilities on Monday.

The roles were created to meet the wellbeing needs of the guests staying across the three Rotorua hotels being used for the isolation process.

They complement the two welfare officers who have been working with guests since the first two hotels opened in June.

Liz Carrington, who is the Wellbeing and Welfare Response Manager for COVID-19 and Managed Isolation Facilities, provided wellbeing resources for staff during the lockdown. When the isolation facilities opened up she developed welfare packs for guests but identified a greater need for services.

“We’re very pleased to be welcoming these new staff members on board,” Liz says.
“This is a unique to Rotorua concept in terms of reaching out through iwi to find the people to fill these roles. Four out of the seven identify as Maori and we see these roles as an extension of our manaakitanga in Rotorua.”

The navigators are seen as a conduit between the guests and the services they require. They are supported by the DHB.
The navigators will help guests with their onwards travel plans and be the main contact for guests who have other welfare needs, such as clothing and education resources.

Their orientation process includes learning about infection control and PPE through to how different organisations fit into their work.

One of the new navigators said it was “an honour” to work with manuhiri.

“Being a part of this is an honour,” says Kahira-Rata Olley (Ngati Rongomai, Ngati Pikiao).

“I’m excited to get to work. Wellbeing of our whanau is important to me and when I saw the job advertised I thought it was for me. I already do these things in the community.

“It’s about manaakitanga of our whanau returning home, supporting them and giving them awhi from a distance.”

Lakes District Health Board is responsible for the healthcare of all returned New Zealanders in the three managed isolation facilities.

“This extends to wellbeing as well as physical health, so we’re pleased to be able to bring these new members of staff on board to make the transition to returning to New Zealand as smooth as possible,” says Gary Lees, Lakes DHB Incident Controller.


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For more information contact: Sue Wilkie Communications Officer or Alison King, Communications Contractor Phone extn 7944 or mobile 027 242 3652