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First community workshop on Marae by power industry
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21 October 2019

First Community Workshop on Marae by Power Industry to Combat Whānau Energy Hardship

A new grassroots pilot partnership between the power companies and Māori Urban Maori Authority is being tested out tomorrow at a South Auckland marae in the hope of reducing energy hardship. Empowering whānau through more informed choices is the intention of the first-time ‘EnergyMate’ hui being held at Ngā Whare Waatea Marae from 10am to 12.30pm tomorrow.

The wānanga will teach whānau how to read their power bill, what energy plan is right for them, who the energy providers are, and how to be more energy efficient in a fun, interactive session.

“Simple steps like setting the heat pump at the right temperature or putting draught stoppers around windows and doors can make a noticeable difference to energy bills,” says Veronica Henare, Whānau Ora Manager at MUMA.

“Bring your bills and curiosity whānau“ it’ll be a practical and helpful hands-on hui that’ll build on everyone’s energy literacy skills in the hope that there will be a positive ripple effect before the next power bill comes in.”

Proactively tackling energy hardship in a practical way has been a focus of MUMA this year.

Henare’s entire Whānau Ora workforce of Kaiārahi “ navigators have been trained as EnergyMate coaches to go in the homes of whānau to mentor on how to heat it efficiently along with energy saving tips to make it go further.

“I absolutely believe in this kaupapa whole heartedly. It’s not uncommon for our mentors to come across a $1500 power bill “ one whānau had one for $5000 - it seems extreme but it was for medical reasons, yet needed to be repaid bit by bit.”

Since April Veronica’s team has been to over 50 whānau homes and vouch for how valuable the service is. “It connects us with whānau and whānau with the power retailers.”

“Currently under Whānau Ora we also provide building financial capability mentors that are funded through Fincap in Wellington. So for me, EnergyMate compliments what we do as a kaupapa Māori provider.”

“What we’ve discovered is that all our whānau when they come to Whānau Ora“ there’s a key common element amongst all of them and that is they’re struggling financially.”

“At the crux and root of it all is lack of finances “ there simply isn’t enough pūtea to go around due to whānau being on limited incomes,” she says.

Nationally a cohort of EnergyMate coaches has been trained to assist whānau in high need areas of Porirua, Rotorua and South Auckland.

“Energy poverty affects nearly 100,000 households according to recent media data1. So Whānau Ora in response is all about uplifting our whānau with strengths-based initiatives. Given so many struggle in this area, we wish to praise the power and lines companies for spearheading the EnergyMate hui and may it become a regular fixture in our marae diary,” says Henare.

The wānanga will be facilitated by Miranda Struthers, an Electricity Retailers’ Association’s Accessible Energy Advocate.

“EnergyMate is possible through funding from retailers Genesis Energy, Nova, Meridian, Mercury, TrustPower, Contact, and Prime Energy, region-specific funding from lines companies Vector in South Auckland, Unison in Rotorua, and Wellington Electricity in Porirua, the Energy Efficiency Conservation Authority (EECA), and support from Fincap,” she says.


Copyright © 2019, UMA Broadcasting Ltd:

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