Twirling their way to well-being

By Petrina Wright | Posted: Monday January 29, 2024

Residents in Presbyterian Support Southland's aged care homes are set to benefit from the Poi Rere project, thanks to an Age friendly fund grant.

Presbyterian Support Southland (PSS) is one of 13 organisations to receive the Age friendly fund grant from the Office for Seniors. The fund provides up to $15,000 for projects which promote the inclusion of older people and help communities provide for their ageing populations.

The aim of the Poi Rere project is to enhance Māori traditions and well-being in aged care residents.  The project will involve residents in PSS's four care homes, their whānau, staff and the wider community coming together to learn about the whakapapa (history), tikanga (customs and traditional values) and the kawa (Maōri protocol and etiquette) of poi.

PSS pou tohutohu ahurea Māori/cultural advisor Michelle Ryland said they were very excited to receive the funding.

There were many benefits associated with the poi, she said.

"It’s not just twirling it around, there’s genuine research. It’s an excellent tool for keeping stimulated, and physically it helps residents with their wrist strength and balance.

“It’s also about the connection between hinengaro (mind) and hauora tinana (body), and with their whānau. When they’re connected, that is huge and gives them a wider sense of wairua.

Office for Seniors director, Diane Turner said bringing different generations together helped older people remain connected and have the confidence to continue to actively participate in their community.

“With the right planning and support we can create age-friendly environments where everyone, regardless of age, feels valued, connected and able to actively participate in the community.”

For more information on the projects, the recipients and the Age friendly fund go to: Funding for age friendly communities | Te Tari Kaumātua (