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Official Opening Of Building Reconnects Toi Tangata To Its Heart Foundation Roots

Toi Tangata is looking to the future by reconnecting with its whakapapa as the Māori health agency moves its base to the Heart Foundation offices in Ellerslie. A dawn service led by mana whenua, Ngāti Whātua, to bless the building will be held on Wednesday 29 June 2022 to formally open the refurbished premises.

Darrio Penetito-Hemara, Toi Tangata Kaiwhakahaere Matua, CEO says moving the Toi Tangata headquarters to the Heart Foundation offices makes sense for the agency.

“Our team spans the motu, with satellite offices scattered from Hokianga in the north, through to Taupō, Rotorua and Ōtāne. With a smaller number of us now based in Tāmaki Makaurau, we had the opportunity to find a space that offered flexibility for those of us who live locally while also having the room to host the entire team when we come together,” he says. “When the opportunity to reconnect with the Heart Foundation came up it made sense in all aspects, but especially in terms of strengthening our ties.”

Kataraina Davis, Chief Advisor Māori for the Heart Foundation is looking forward to reconnecting with Toi Tangata and what it could mean with regard to improving outcomes for Māori around heart health.

“We are looking forward to coming together and creating a new relationship, being strengthened by it, and growing together,” says Kataraina. “We are really excited for the future of hauora Māori and whānau Māori, especially in regards to manawa ora. Everything Toi Tangata does and has done contributes to that.”

While the two organisations continue to operate independently, the move honours the historic connection and provides opportunities for potential future collaboration. Toi Tangata began as Te Hotu Manawa Māori Trust which was established in 1997 as an arm of the Heart Foundation. Its original purpose was to address inequalities in Māori heart health by providing services in the areas of smokefree, smoking cessation, rheumatic fever, and nutrition and physical activity.

However, with their services growing beyond that of heart health, the charitable trust rebranded and began trading as Toi Tangata in 2013. Now, Toi Tangata empowers people to lead healthy and active lifestyles using mātauranga Māori as the driving force.

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