About Us

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Te Oriori

We are a kaupapa Māori mental health and wellbeing support service for whānau in Ōtautahi (Christchurch, NZ), with tamariki aged 0-12 years. 

Launched in 2019, Te Oriori is provided through Purapura Whetu Trust, a kaupapa Māori non-government organisation that provides a range of free health and social support services for all ages across Waitaha (Canterbury, NZ).

Our tamariki are taonga, born to thrive and have opportunities to develop gifts handed down from our tīpuna. Through our service we model compassion, connectedness, and nurturing with kai and unconditional aroha to whānau, wrapping them in korowai as they heal and become stronger. 

A lullaby

Te oriori is a lullaby which represents the karanga as you come into this world and are awakened by tihei mauri ora. Te oriori gives us a message from the past that acknowledges our tīpuna, the child in the present, visions for the future, and dreams for eternity. Te oriori is a daily gift.


In our artwork, bonding and attachment are represented by long hair and deep roots. Our tāne speaks confidence and safety into the taringa of our wāhine. He speaks that he has the courage to protect and listen with his heart to the beat of his whānau. The ūkaipō or breast, acknowledges rest and kai – physical and spiritual.

[Painting by Olivia Ryan 2019]

Learn more about our kaupapa on our home page and our kaimahi below.

Meet the team

Aroha Wetere

Te Oriori Team Leader

Ko Taupiri te maunga
Ko Waikato te awa
Ko Tainui te waka
Ko Tainui te iwi
Ko Aroha Wetere toku ingoa

Kia ora, my name is Aroha and I am the Team Leader for the Te Oriori service at Purapura Whetu. I support a team of community support workers, group programme coordinators, and a counsellor who each bring something special and unique to the team.

I have enjoyed watching Te Oriori grow over the past few years, with many new programmes being created to meet the needs of whānau. I have had the pleasure to connect and engage with a range of whaiora accessing our service, seeing whānau grow in confidence and find their purpose in life.

I joined Purapura Whetu in 2017, I am a registered social worker and am currently undertaking postgraduate studies through the University of Auckland. I enjoy listening to music and am a mother of three beautiful boys.

Ko te ahurei o te tamaiti, arahia ō tatou mahi.
Let the uniqueness of the child guide our work.

Alice Tickell

Kaihaumanu – Clinical Lead, Child & Family Therapist

Ko Te Upoko te Tahu Mataa te Maunga
Ko Okana te Awa
Ko Takitimu te Waka
Ko Waitaha, ko Ngāti Mamoe, Ko Kai Tahu ngā Iwi
Ko Ngāti Irakehu ko Ngāti Mako, Ngarahura ko Ngāti Moki ngā hapu
Ko Alice Tickell nee Te Marino toku ingoa

My role in Te Oriori is to provide clinical support for all clients enrolled in the service.

I originally trained as a primary school teacher in the 90’s and then ventured into social work with an interest in learning and behaviour. As the years passed and my own whānau grew, I worked for Māori Woman’s Welfare League, gaining deeper insights into our Māori health and wellbeing. I have studied counselling and more recently, art therapy.

In the last 20 years, the focus of my work has been with our māmā and pēpi. Over the last seven years, I have included children and teenagers within my role. I enjoy working with every age group and am passionate about emotional release work with tamariki. This includes play therapy and art therapy.

Polly Hobson

Te Oriori Programme Coordinator 

Ko Waikato te awa
Ko Tainui te waka
Ko Taupiri te maunga
Ko Waikato te iwi
Ko Ngāti Mahuta ko Ngāti Maniapoto ōku hapu
Ko Taniwha te marae

I have the privilege and honour to work for Purapura Whetu as the Te Oriori Programme Coordinator for whānau with tamariki of 0-12 years of age.

I followed my eldest tamariki through Kohanga Reo as Kaiawhina and have volunteered in programmes for tamariki, rangatahi, foodbanks, and community support for the vulnerable and homeless, where I was inspired to complete a Health and Wellbeing (Social Support) Levels 4 & 5, that led me to joining this team in February 2022.

I enjoy spending time with whānau and friends that inspire and empower me to be the best I can be, so that I can do the same for others, with the aim of changing families and changing generations. 

He aha te mea nui o te ao? He tangata! He tangata! He tangata! 
What is the most important thing in the world? It is 
people! It is people! It is people!

This whakatauki talks of the importance of human connection and relationships. This is what creates community and enables people to flourish. It values the human being in all of us and reminds us of what is most important – not money, not success, not a job or a thing – it is people.

Tiffani Field

Te Oriori Kaitautoko 

Ko Aoraki te maunga
Ko Waimakariri te awa
Ko Pakeha te iwi
Ko Tiffani Field toku ingoa

Kia ora, my name is Tiffani and I work alongside parents/caregivers, pēpi, and tamariki, in their own homes and communities, empowering them to meet their goals and aspirations for their whānau.

I am so grateful to be able to work at Purapura Whetu in the Te Oriori Team. I have been an Early Childhood Teacher (20+ years) and have various qualifications in teaching and special needs. Most of my previous roles have been in the community.

I am excited about connecting whānau that come to our groups at the Phillipstown Community Hub, to one another, as these are where long-lasting relationships often happen. Being able to share ideas, strategies, strengths, and skills, is such an awesome thing and everyone always has something to offer.

I am married to Jake and we enjoy going out dancing and to quiz nights. I love to be near water and we are lucky enough to live near a beach. I also enjoy swimming and walking our two elderly dogs who are our ‘babies’.

“Be a rainbow in someone else’s cloud.” – Maya Angelou

Penny Whitelaw

Te Oriori Kaitautoko 

Ko Tararua te maunga
Ko Manakau te awa
Ko Tainui te waka
Ko Ngati Raukawa te iwi
Ko Penny Whitelaw toku ingoa

Kia ora, I am excited to work alongside mama and tamariki in the Te Oriori space at Purapura Whetu. Within my work, I enable mana enhancing practices by incorporating manaakitanga and whanaungatanga. I am privileged to meet mama and tamariki and look forward to supporting them on their own unique journey. 

I have two children of my own and I am happily married. Originally from Wellington, I now call Ōtautahi home. I enjoy being in nature, spending time with whānau/friends, and stepping out of my comfort zone often to accept new challenges.

Poipoia te kākano kia puawai.
Nuture the seed and it will bloom. 

Anna Ah Kuoi

Te Oriori Kaitautoko 

He aha te mea nui o te ao?
He tangata, he tangata, he tangata.

We are the protectors and nuturers of our next generation. It is our responsibility to ensure children live good, fruitful, safe lives.

I am honoured to be able to work within the Te Oriori team, supporting whānau to be the best they can be. 

I am a mother of two older children, however my work life has been and still is working with people. My past work has been in social work, mental health, quality systems, and early childhood.

It is exciting to see the growth that our services are nurturing. 

Maggie Raerae

Te Oriori Kaitautoko 

Ko Ruapehu te maunga
Ko Maungarongo to marae
Ko Ngati Tuwharetoa te iwi
Ko Maggie Hira Raerae toku ingoa

I am privileged to have joined the Te Oriori team as kaitautoko. I am humbled and blessed to be working within a kaupapa Māori organisation. 

My passion is working with a variety of age groups to provide services that can bring out the best in them. I look forward to learning, and supporting our whānau and community to the best of my ability. 

Whilst working at Purapura Whetu, I am also studying towards my career in Social Work. I love art and music and am currently working on my second album. 

Ko nga mea kei mua i a koe he nui ake i nga mea kua pa ki a koe. 
What’s ahead of you is far greater than what you have been through.
Peter Smith Emadi

Jessie Fozzard-Costigan

Te Whakaruruhau Intern Psychologist 

Ko Tuao Wharepapa te maunga e rū nei taku ngākau
Ko Punakaiki te awa a mahea nei aku māharahara
Nō Māwhera ahau

Kia ora koutou, my name is Jessie and I am an Intern Clinical Psychologist at Te Oriori. I am currently completing my internship as part of my final year of post-graduate training in clinical psychology through Te Whare Wananga o Waitaha, University of Canterbury.

My role involves psychological assessments and therapy with whānau and tamariki who may need extra support with their taha hinengaro. I look forward to getting to know you through whakawhanaungatanga, to create a safe space where we can work in partnership to build on your strengths and create positive change for you and your whānau. 

Prior to studying psychology, I worked for many years as a registered nurse in community and inpatient mental health settings with tāngata whai ora of all ages from diverse backgrounds. This fuelled my passion for supporting people with their mental health and my desire to continue learning about therapeutic approaches that can make a real difference in people’s lives. I am honoured to work within a Kaupapa Māori service and receive guidance on whānau centred care and Te Ao Māori values and tikanga.

In my spare time, I enjoy being with my partner, whānua and friends, spending time in nature, and playing the piano.

Mark Wallace-Bell

Te Whakaruruhau Intern Psychologist

Ko Ben Nevis maunga
Ko Nevis te awa
Ko Ngāti Pakeha Wallace Clan te iwi
Ko Kotirana ahau
Ko Mark Alexander toku ingoa

Kio ora, My Name is Mark. I am an intern Psychologist finishing my training with Te Oriori service at Purapura Whetu this year.

I have a background in nursing and health psychology in the UK before emigrating with my whānau to Aotearoa in 2004 to work as a Health Science Lecturer with Otago University.

I currently work at Canterbury University as a Lecturer in Motivational Interviewing and behaviour change. Motivational Interviewing is about working with people in the spirit of partnership, acceptance and compassion and empowering people to bring about change in their lives.

I am passionate about helping people to live their lives more fully and helping them acquire the knowledge and skills to manage the many challenges that mental health difficulties bring.

In my spare time, I play guitar, ride bikes and garden which all nurture and support my wairua and develop my creativity. I think it important to try and achieve a balance between work and play.

Purapura Whetu Logo

Te Oriori is provided by Purapura Whetu Trust.
All rights reserved 2021.