Founder, Whai’s letters of Hope
Whaiora Patrick hails from Kawerau in the heart of the Bay of Plenty. Her pride & joy is her daughter, Zahvina-Joe.
Whaiora’s passion in life is to raise awareness around mental health and suicide, particularly for the rangatahi of New Zealand. Both of these issues are deeply connected to her own personal experiences growing up. As a suicide attempt survivor, Whaiora uses her testimony of hope to help young people realise their self-worth and their purpose for belonging in this world. She does this through public speaking at events, fulfilling an urgent need for the country to start having open discussions around youth suicide and suicide overall.
Whaiora is currently studying towards a Graduate Diploma in Youth Development with WelTec, having graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (Media Studies major) from Massey University in 2018. As a Future Leader, Whaiora met with Talei Bryant and Mica Harloff, and created a youth-led social enterprise called ‘The Find Your Fish Movement’, which helps young people find their passion in life through a variety of workshops.
Recently, Whaiora has combined her experiences and skills in writing to help other New Zealanders who may be struggling themselves. She now runs a project called ‘Whai’s Letters of Hope’, where she sends handwritten letters to anyone in New Zealand who needs a pick-me-up or a ray of sunshine in their lives. All they need to do is provide their postal address to firstname.lastname@example.org. If they feel comfortable they can provide a bit of info on their situation (people can also nominate their loved ones). Whaiora writes every letter by hand, and makes it unique for each person, so it’s more personal; more meaningful.