Ma te rongo, ka mohio; Ma te mohio; ka marama; Ma te marama, ka matau, Ma te matau ka ora.
Through resonance comes cognisance; through awareness comes understanding; through understanding comes knowledge; through knowledge comes life and well being.
Tautoko Services was formed in January 1996 by a core group of committed people with extensive experience and expertise in disability services and other community services with the support of Ngāti Toa. Ngāti Toa were part of all our planning meetings and when the name of the organisation was discussed “Tautoko” was endorsed as an appropriate title that expressed the nature of the support we intended to provide. The Kauri became the logo which encompassed a joint understanding we had of the role we would play within the community. The concept of being a bicultural organisation was based on the definition “having or combining the cultural attitudes and customs of two nations, peoples, or ethnic groups.”
Tautoko was successful in tendering to set up a support service for people “whose behaviour challenges”, that was independent from ongoing service provision and started delivering that service in August 1996 across the lower North Island and Nelson-Marlborough. For over 18 years Tautoko provided positive behaviour support using essential lifestyle plans, to thousands of young people and their families and to adults living at home and in other disability services and provided training in new ways of supporting people.
When Tautoko and Options started, NZ had several institutions still in existence in which people lived segregated lives. The only community alternatives were group homes or sheltered villages and day services. The Tautoko team was involved in the deinstitutionalisation process of Porirua Hospital, Seaview, Ngawhatu, Braemar and Kimberley and supported many people deemed as challenging into community settings.
At the same time Options in Community Living was being developed in the late 1980’s in Palmerston North and shared the same principles and recognised the need for innovation in new community alternatives. Options was based on a unique service brokerage pilot, modelled from a Canadian agency that was set up by families who felt the needs and rights of their children were not being met by institutions and traditional service models. Options in Community Living lobbied the government for individualised funding and now thirty years later personal budgets are starting to be made available to individuals and whānau.
In 1997 Tautoko recognised a gap in the Nelson area for a service that supported adults to live in their own homes as an alternative to group homes. This service was called Neighbourhood Connections, a supported living service which spread across Nelson Marlborough. Options and Neighbourhood Connections were involved in the development of the supported living movement across NZ and worked closely together in bringing person-centred approaches into support work.
We have such a rich, unique history, which is made even more special because we are the result of two organisations who started around the same time and voluntarily merged on July 1st, 2014, to become Tautoko-Options. Three years later we started our journey to self-managing. We have often talked about how both organisations shared similar values, beliefs, and ways of working and that this was why we came together quite seamlessly!