Tūtakitaki Ngā Waka, Tūtakitaki Ngā Tangata

 The Waka Converge, The People Converge




For more information please contact Lee Luke at
or phone 03 3296975

Each year Te Putahitanga o Te Waipounamu holds a gathering to celebrate, learn and share the collective stories of Whānau Ora across Te Waipounamu. Add to this a range of inspirational and influential keynote speakers to inspire attendees and you have the Te Putahitanga o Te Waipounamu Symposium. 

This year will be the first time the Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu Symposium has been held outside of Otautahi/Christchurch and will be held in Blenheim near the Wairau Bar, or Te Pokohiwi o Kupe. This iconic site where the Wairau River meets the Pacific Ocean in Cloudy Bay has been described as the birthplace of New Zealand, given it is one of the most important archaeological sites of this land. The Wairau Bar was probably the first major economic and ritual centre in the new colony. Successive studies have put the arrival of the first waka to this site between 1288 and 1300.   

The people arrived at Wairau Bar in ocean going waka, it is a place where Polynesian fish hooks, plants, shells, shark teeth and sea mammals were found.   The Wairau Bar was rich in inanga, eels, flounders and shellfish.   It was indeed a site of great bounty.

This is the journey of Whānau Ora.   That we come from the four winds, bringing our unique histories and heritage with us.   We have a whakapapa that is a source of enduring knowledge to draw upon to solve contemporary problems with courage, with innovation and with insight informed by experience.   We are born of greatness; our life’s work is to draw upon our stories to ensure we can all flourish.

Our Symposium commences on the 22nd of March but is preceded by a Maori business Forum on Wednesday 21 March, hosted by Te Puni Kokiri – The Ministry of Māori Development and Westpac and supported by Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu. The day will conclude with the inaugural Te Pātaka o Wairau Night Market operating from 4pm to 9pm at Seymour Square, Blenheim. 

Day two and three will comprise the Whānau Ora Symposium and will be held at the Marlborough Convention Centre.  International and national speakers, the Prime Minister and the Minister for Whānau Ora have been invited to speak at the Symposium.   Other highlights will be showcase entity presentations; workshops; and of course, the conference dinner!   

The symposium is an opportunity to promote initiatives, foster collaboration, incubate new ideas and network with like-minded individuals and initiatives, as well as to provide vital feedback to whānau, hapu, iwi, Papatipu Rūnanga and other key stakeholders about the broader values associated with Whānau Ora outcomes.

It is an ideal means of being able to elevate and recognize the incredible commitment of whānau, navigators, entities, coaches and hapu and iwi support across Te Waipounamu.

Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu is committed to building the capability and capacity of whānau within Te Waipounamu. We hope you enjoy the time together.

The symposium is an opportunity to demonstrate the progress whānau are making when they are supported and encouraged to become self-determining and innovative. Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu is proud to be able to invest and support Whānau Ora initiatives that are future focused and make a sustainable impact in our communities.

 We look forward to sharing some of the many successes and solutions with you.