If Whanau Tahi Director Steve Keung was getting paid by the kilometre, he’d be pulling in Microsoft founder Bill Gates salary.
But the thousands of kilometres travelled by the Kiwi software provider chief over the past few months is not for money but to advance the whanau and Whanau Tahi, the IT solution developed by Waipareira.
Keung’s travels have taken him to Hawaii, San Francisco, Seattle (for a meeting with Microsoft executives), Nevada, the Yukon and Canada as well as Los Angeles.
That’s not including the thousands of kilometres driven throughout New Zealand. And everywhere Keung goes, he’s been sharing Whanau Tahi to like-minded companies and Indigenous organisations.
“I’m confident we are on the right track,” he says.
Drawing on over 25 years of experience of its parent, Te Whanau O Waipareira Trust (the Trust), Whanau Tahi Ltd. has developed the Whanau Tahi Navigator (the WTN), a line of business software application that supports caseworkers, management, and Whanau collaboratively in the achievement of aspirational outcomes.
Keung and Waipareira CEO John Tamihere were fortunate to be part of the 21-strong high level Maori Health and Social Services delegation sponsored by Callaghan Innovation that visited the US in April.
Others included New Zealander of the Year Dr Lance O’Sullivan, Te Pou Matakana Chair Merepeka Raukawa-Tait and CEO of Te Kohao Health, Lady Tureiti Moxon.
“The greatest learning was that we are doing things in New Zealand that are ahead of the curve in what people are trying to do off shore,” Keung adds.
“Whanau Ora and the frameworks and tools that underpin that - including Whanau Tahi - are certainly ahead of the rest of the world.
“There are solutions that are patient-centric, but the big difference with us is that they spend a lot of time reporting back to funders on how money has been spent on a particular individual, rather than on whether it is supporting the entire whanau and helping them make generational change.”
Keung says the highlight of the US trip was the presentation to the the 2015 Tribal Self Governance Conference in Nevada, the first time in the conference’s history that another indigenous nation was invited and presented.
“We were acknowledged at the conference as leaders in the space of Whanau Ora, whanau-centric and family directed models of care,” Keung adds.
“It was a marvellous opportunity in the US with the Indigenous peoples because they also recognise culture and families’ importance to healing and wellbeing. They acknowledge that they too have fallen into a system focussed on the dollars and not the families.”
Looking back, Keung says the presentation ‘resonated’ with the Indian tribes attending.
“There’s collaboration to be held,” he adds.
While the delegation team headed home after the conference, Keung travelled to Canada for another Whanau Tahi presentation and then back to Los Angeles.
Keung also paid tribute to Callaghan Innovation for their support during the trip and their foresight after Whanau Tahi last year signed a Memorandum of Understanding with funding organisation.
“Whanau Tahi is fortunate to have a partner in Callaghan Innovation,” adds Keung, who arrived back home this week, where he will spend a few days at home before heading, back to the US to link up with Auckland Mayor Len Brown’s delegation in LA in June.
Waipareira Chair Raymond Hall is also part of the mayoral delegation includes.
“We are working on an agreement with the City of Los Angeles and that will hopefully be in place by the time the Auckland mayoral delegation arrives,” Keung adds.