TEDx Wellington has released a powerful video featuring Whare Hauora director Hiria Te Rangi speaking at their most recent showcase of ‘the best ideas the capital has to offer’.
In her speech, Ms Te Rangi talks about the death of her beloved grandmother from a preventable respiratory illness caused by the cold, damp state-owned home she lived in. Respiratory illnesses are the third largest cause of death in New Zealand and they affect 70,000 people every year.
When her grandmother died, Ms Te Rangi was already establishing a charity to provide families with home sensors to measure the temperature and moisture levels in each room of their home.
“In my shame, I had already almost fixed the problem. But I wasn’t quick enough. That first prototype [sensor] was still a hazard, so I didn’t install it in my nan’s room,” says Ms Te Rangi in her moving speech.
Whare Hauora is now an established organisation with the capacity to create ten thousand home sensor kits every two months. But Ms Te Rangi says her organisation is one of social change, not just health measurement.
“Whare Hauora built from love, powered by grief. We stand as an act of defiance in this world where money is valued far more than people.”
Since officially launching in 2017, the organisation has run home sensor trials with families in Porirua and Central Wellington as the prototypes evolved. The organisation has also fundraised for hundreds of kits through a ‘buy one, gift one’ model’ where people who supported their initial PledgeMe campaign bought a kit for themselves and a kit to be donated to a family in need.
Much of Ms Te Rangi’s time has been spent ensuring the kits can be made in bulk, ethically and affordably. She hopes to get the first mass shipment of the latest sensor kits into New Zealand and out to supporters and families in need by the end of this year.
The next steps for Whare Hauora involve getting more community trials on the ground, and they’re currently running a PledgeMe campaign which lets community organisations pool their funds towards getting bulk sensor kits made.