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Helping out . . . Arowhenua Whanau Services kaiwhakahaere (manager) Maria Parish (left) and lead nurse Jackie Corby say their services are always growing. PHOTO: GRETA YEOMAN

As 2019 gets under way, health may be on the minds of many people in South Canterbury. One organisation helping South Canterbury residents to improve their lives is Arowhenua Whanau Services. The Courier reporter Greta Yeoman finds out what goes on at its Temuka base.

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When Waka Kernohan was told he might have to go on blood pressure medication, he got on his bike.

The South Canterbury resident had turned up at Arowhenua Whanau Services’ (AWS) Temuka office, to be told by primary health nurse Jackie Corby that he had high blood pressure.

The 68-year-old then decided – due to his high blood pressure and other health factors putting him at higher risk for a heart attack or stroke – to change some of his lifestyle habits, Mrs Corby said.

While some people with high blood pressure have to go on medication, as it is a genetic rather than lifestyle-related problem, Mr Kernohan had been able to get on his bicycle to get fit and get his blood pressure down, she said.

In good health . . . Waka Kernohan (68) gets his blood pressure checked by Arowhenua Whanau Services primary health nurse Jackie Corby. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

Supported by Arowhenua Whanau Services, through weekly checkups with Ms Corby, Mr Kernohan has lost 6cm off his waistline and 7kg, his blood pressure has returned to normal and he is now fitter and less fatigued.

AWS provides free health services to Maori and non-Maori across the South Canterbury area, including primary health services, mental health support, smoking cessation and physical activity sessions.

Kaiwhakahaere (manager) Maria Parish said the organisation’s base in Temuka meant that if a patient came in for one issue, they could pop in to another staff member’s office to meet them ahead of another appointment.

All of AWS’ clinics are walk-in, with no appointments necessary. However, people can make a time to come back to the clinic, she said.

Arowhenua Whanau Services is also based at Timaru’s Community House from 9am to 4.30pm, at 8A Timaru Rd in Waimate from 9.30am to 4pm on Thursdays and at Te Whare Mahana in Twizel on the first Wednesday of each month, 11am to 2pm, weather permitting.