“If it’s to help our people, and all people – Te Waka Āwhina.” These are the words Māori pastorate Reverend Albie Martin spoke during Triton Hearing’s Taranaki Tour launch at Owae Marae, Taranaki.
Te Waka Āwhina is a Māori phrase which can be interpreted in English as ‘the canoe of support’ .
What Reverend Albie Martin is referring to is ‘Penelope’, Triton Hearing’s Mobile Hearing Clinic. Penelope is a 1949 Bedford bus that’s been fitted out with state-of-the-art diagnostic hearing equipment and operates as a full service Triton TeleAudiology clinic.
The innovative technology solution has allowed Triton Hearing to become the first hearing company in the world to provide the full range of mobile hearing health solutions via TeleAudiology.
On May 24th Triton Hearing and Penelope set off on a trip around Mount Taranaki finishing in Parihaka on June 10th – visiting local Marae and assisting Kaumatua.
Their objective was to screen, test and fit Kaumatua and as a result over the 17-day tour, they tested 60 and fit 20 with hearing aids on location at the Marae.
‘That’s just amazing... What you’ve done is come straight to the people,” said Hawera resident Gregg Parata. “The people see you coming onto their Marae, they’re engaged. That speaks volumes for our people.”
Triton Hearing is very aware of the importance communication plays in Māori communities because Māori history is an oral one that’s recaptured through the art of whaikōrero and waiata amongst other traditions, and we are honoured to be able to share the “gift of better hearing” with to those who need it most, so they can continue to play an important part in their communities.
While Triton Hearing has network of clinics across the country, seeing an audiologist can still be difficult for some New Zealanders, says the company’s Managing Director, James Whittaker.
“With Triton Teleaudiology, the challenge of distance is eliminated. Communication technology enables remote consultations and the delivery of audiological services even if the client and audiologist are hundreds of kilometres apart.”
With Penelope and Triton TeleAudiology we’re bringing quality service to people who don’t have easy access the hearing care they need.
“We wanted to put people from rural areas in front of the best Audiologists in the country. Even if they were separated by thousands of kilometres,” Craig Lett, Triton Hearing’s Head of Innovation, explained.
This tour provided the people of the Taranaki region with access to the full range of hearing services.
“Of course that’s what our people need because they don’t like going to hospitals and they don’t like doctors,” said Maata Wharehoka of Parihaka Pa regarding the accessibility ‘Penelope’ or ‘Te Waka Āwhina’ has brought to the community.
Some of the areas visited on this tour have never experienced on-site health services until now.
“I think I’ve been spoiled,” one woman in Manaia said while holding back tears.
Being able to embrace these communities the way they did is what Triton Hearing stands for. To provide hearing solutions and help improve the quality of life for the Kaumatua in the Taranaki region is just a small part of what they’re aiming to achieve in Aotearoa.
“I saw that when people came into the bus that they were cared for and they were respected and looked after. Even the bus itself was warm and inviting,” Hawera resident Tina Robinson explained.
The Taranaki Tour was filled with tears of joy - for our team and clients alike, as some experienced Better Hearing for the very first time - something they never dreamed was possible. We've had the honour of helping to change lives in even the most remote parts of Taranaki.
This is just one of many communities in New Zealand that have limited, if any, access to the hearing health they need. And it’s our mission to change that.