Te Whanau Tokotokorangi Trust was initially formed in 1992 by a group of Māori parents and other community workers who were undertaking the Certificate in Teaching People with Disabilities course delivered by Waiariki Polytechnic. It was there they discovered there was no services in the Rotorua area providing, encompassing or promoting our cultural values, so they mooted the idea of setting up a Trust. In so agreeing to set up a Trust, the interim trustees decided to further up skill themselves in business management, financial management, human resource management, social work and Māori studies. With these recently acquired skills and a passion to work with the people, this newly established venture was ready to conquer the world. A plan was formulated of what, where, why and how this was all going to happen and a proposal was developed.
In 1992 following many discussions with kaumatua, it was decided to take this proposal to a hui-ā-iwi being held at Ruamatā Marae in Rotorua. It was there the Trust received its name and also a mandate by iwi to provide services under the korowai of Te Arawa.
Although the Trust operates under the korowai of Te Arawa, we are a pan-tribal organisation and our doors are open to all ethnicities who wish to engage and embrace our cultural values. Initially the Trust was set up as an alternative to existing structures. But, after many years of hard work and advocacy we firmly believe we are now an established player in the health and social environment.
In 1995 the Trust was offered a contract by Ministry of Health to provide residential care for people with intellectual disabilities. The Trust saw this as a vehicle to promote Kaupapa Māori and an opportunity to teach and educate people, as well as offer employment. With this in mind the Trust recruited prospective staff members and engaged them in specific training prior to the official opening of its first home. With the assistance of Housing NZ the Trust was able to open this home in March 1996.
The initial Whamere (residents) came from either family homes or other service providers, however with the de-institutionalisation of Tokanui Hospital in 1997 the Trust accepted an influx of Whamere (residents) to integrate or re-integrate back into the community. This provided an opportunity to open more homes, therefore offering more opportunities for employment and education.
Te Whanau Tokotokorangi Trust is about offering opportunities, an opportunity to care for people, an opportunity of self discovery, an opportunity to learn new things, but most importantly to value that everyone has a unique ability to touch the lives of others in some way.
A respected elder of ours once said “Put the people first and the money will follow” and this in the mantra we try to follow, however he also said “Don’t let anyone abuse that goodwill.”
Finally the Trust would like to acknowledge the contribution of all the kaumatua who have guided us on our journey. Some are no longer with us today, but their presences still permeate throughout the organisation. We have been truly blessed.