Harakeke - Parents for Parents started in Waitākere as SKIP Waitākere, and has been enabling parents of children under five to support each other to be the best parents they can be for over two years.
Some parents of children under 5 in Waitakere reported feeling isolated and unsupported. Our insights showed that having child-friendly places and activities where parents can meet other parents would make a difference to whānau well-being and improve social connectedness.
In 2016 we launched a short film produced and directed by Briar March - starring some of the SKIP Waitakere parent leaders, as well as some of the parents, children and whānau who attend parent-led activities in Waitakere.
What are we doing?
We’ve used our entire innovative action model on this parenting innovation process.
In 2014, we worked through the first four stages. We trained and supported local parents to gather insights through empathy interviewing; led a series of ‘innovation injection’ sessions; looked at key research on parenting; and held a community whānau event. This gave us a group of co-designers who we worked with to curate a comprehensive understanding of parenting in Waitakere. That group of co-designers was made up of parents, creative provocateurs and people that support parents - together they identified behaviour change goals, target audiences and then gathered more people to generate ideas on how to achieve change.
We then developed a clear plan to reduce social isolation of those parenting under 5 year old children in Waitakere.
A key part of that plan was to support parent leaders to run regular (weekly) activities in their own social networks and communities for parents. We are now working with a group of 30 parent leaders and supporting them to run 30 weekly activities across Waitakere.
In 2017 we scaled Harakeke to the Kaipātiki area of Auckland's North Shore where we tested the insights developed in Waitākere with the community in Kaipātiki, and have active Parent Leaders now holding weekly meet-ups .
Our current focus is on sustaining and growing the initiative in Waitākere.
An initiative recruiting and supporting parent leaders to run weekly activities for parents.
Parents have told us that participating in parent-led activities as a leader and/or participant has strengthened their confidence as parents and as role models in their community. An evaluation was carried out to better understand the impact of the programme from the perspectives of the parents and whānau taking part in it.
“Many of the discussions which have taken place at the meetings have been important and heartfelt. Mothers have discussed issues such as postnatal depression and anxiety as well as the difficulties experienced with a new baby in the family. Other mothers have always been supportive and offered helpful advice.”
“It was so good to have innovate change on board as they work really well at a grassroots/community level which was crucial to the success of our parenting innovation process.”
Elizabeth Goodwin, Community Investment, Ministry of Social Development