Kelly Jarvis

Te Aitanga a Hauiti

Kelly Jarvis is a respected Family Violence, health, and well-being figure with over fifteen years of invaluable service. Her professional journey commenced at Palmerston North Women’s Refuge as a Woman’s Advocate and Programme Facilitator. Today, Kelly continues to make significant contributions at Te Wakahuia Manawatu Trust Palmerston North, holding the positions of Family Violence Prevention Coordinator, Whānau Counsellor, and Rangatahi Team Lead.

As an eco-therapist and rongoā practitioner, Kelly takes an Indigenous-centred approach to wellbeing, which goes beyond the scope of Western therapies. Her model, Puawai, focuses on the intrinsic relationships between people, wairua, and te taiao, integrating rongoā Māori, creativity, and storytelling into a holistic healing journey. This approach has been shaped by her lived experiences and the powerful stories she has encountered in her work, providing her with deep insight and empathy.

Kelly's dedication to furthering her understanding and skills is evident in her pursuit of He Waka Hiringa, a Masters of Applied Indigenous Knowledge at Te Wananga o Aotearoa. Her current research project, ‘Poipoia te kakano, kia puawai’, aims to add to the collective growth of Kaupapa Māori well-being options available for rangatahi in our community, with a particular focus on kohine who are navigating the pathway through te kore, te po, ki te ao marama.

My philosophical view guides this research project: that we all have the restorative and regenerative powers of the universe within us. By re-establishing our intimate, reciprocal connection with te taiao, we open a doorway to be in tune with our ancestral intelligence, indigenous wisdom, and the activation of our innate sources of healing.

Her Hine Puawai programme is an embodiment of her approach to wellbeing. This 10-week, nature-based initiative for girls aged 10-16 encompasses Taha Hinengaro, Taha Tinana, Taha Wairua, and Taha Whānau, aiming to build resilience, nurture relationships, and create a sense of belonging. The programme guides participants to appreciate their innate mana and tapu as they transition into adulthood and blossom into their full potential. Kelly’s impactful work and philosophy were notably featured in a Stuff.co.nz article, "The Art of Letting Go and Pushing Past" (2018), highlighting her commitment to the community and innovative healing approaches.

Kelly is committed to enhancing the well-being of her community, using her knowledge and experience to support and empower individuals and whānau. Her master's project and ongoing community involvement underline her unwavering dedication to innovating therapeutic practices, making her a pivotal figure in her field and a source of inspiration for many.

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