23 years of 'whatever it takes'
Established in 1989, Pathways was first known as Rakau Ora Trust. The organisation was formed by a group of people concerned about homelessness and a lack of support for people with experience of mental illness in Waikato.
Pathways emerged at a time when the mental health sector was dominated by institutions and large group houses. We saw the need to be different, introducing a model of community-based, residential support in quality accommodation.
Since then, our services have been shaped in response to feedback from the people who use them, their family/whanau, the passionate Pathways team and examples of best practice from around the world. Pathways is now the largest community provider of mental health support choices in the country.
Throughout the journey we have been driven by the courage to be different; the passion to help positively shape lives; and a spirit of 'whatever it takes'.
Throughout Pathways' history the karanga has gone out, calling all Pathways people to come together for a three-day hui to shape our future direction.
Over the years, many Pathways regions have had the opportunity to organise and host the hui, alongside local iwi. Kaumatua and Kuia affiliated to each of Pathways regional offices are the kaitiaki (guardians) of the hui – representing Pathways at the powhiri, guiding the organisation on marae kawa, and again representing Pathways at the poroporoaki.
The hui was created, in particular, to give Maori a voice where tangata whaiora and whanau from across the country could celebrate, relax and influence the direction of Pathways’ services. The marae is a supportive environment for everyone to share their views - through formal oratory on the paepae and informal korero over kai.
When everyone, including tangata whaiora, whanau, Pathways employees, managers and trustees, come together in the safety of the marae setting, they are able to step outside their usual roles to share ideas and aspirations. Key stakeholders from funding and planning agencies and senior politicians within the health sector have also attended Pathways' hui, providing unique opportunities to air opinions or concerns about current issues and government policy.
The strongest message to come out of each hui was that people want their stories to be heard. People want to know that we’re listening to what they have to say. At the heart of this is respecting the individual and their hopes and dreams. This is strongly aligned to Pathways’ focus on individual outcomes and our belief that one size does not fit all.
Best practice, best outcomes
Pathways supports people to flourish. To achieve this, Pathways takes an outcomes-focused approach, discovering what is most important to each person and supporting them to make their goals a reality.
Our outcomes focus also means we are driven towards working in ways that are known to make a positive difference. Pathways is committed to implementing outcomes-focused service models and practices that have been evaluated and are known to really help change lives. Where they don't exist, we develop them.
Support services have come a long way, but the journey is far from over. Pathways will continue to focus on enriching lives, seeking out new possibilities, developing innovative ideas and actively pursuing an array of community-based solutions. With a long and successful history; the continued support and input of people using services and their family/whanau; the strength and backing of the Wise Group; a dedicated workforce; and the courage to do 'whatever it takes', we are well placed to meet the challenge of our future.