Tūtakitaki ngā waka; tūtakitaki nga tangata

It is a very precious moment in time to have in one room the people who inspire you every day by their leadership and legacy; the people who encourage you to be more by their example; their self-less sacrifice and their relentless enthusiasm, and those people who have made your life so magical by the blessing of their life.

The painter, Pablo Picasso once said “the meaning of life is to find your gift.   The purpose of life is to give it away”.

It sums up to me the exhilaration and the example of a whānau-centred life.   As I look around this morning, I see a room over-flowing with people who have gifted their service to whānau in multiple ways.  My job this morning is to share some of those stories with you.

Tūtakitaki nga waka; Tūtakitaki nga tangata.

This symposium is inspired by the notion of a meeting place in time and geography; where waka meet and whānau come together.   You bring with you your stories, your memories and your passion about what sets your soul on fire.

Our speakers yesterday set the wheels of imagination spinning.   They told us to take nothing for granted; to live up to our purpose; to be all that we can be.

They asked us to reflect = in this historic setting – on our own histories; to confront intergenerational trauma with intergenerational resistance and a resilience born of those courage of those before us.  They reminded us to press pause; to care for ourselves; we cried, we laughed, we danced and we sang, and most of all we shared story.

 The Wairau has a special place in my story.  As a child of the seventies, I was raised here in the days of endless summer.  We swam in the emerald rivers of the Pelorus, not knowing we were in the natural kainga that formed at the junction of the Rai and Te Hoiere –Titi Raukawa; to be watched over by the kaitiaki Kaikaiawaro.

These were momentous days in the Māori renaissance.  In September 1972 Nga Tamatoa presented a petition with over 30,000 signatures to have te reo Maori taught in school.  Yet the only context I can remember even hearing te reo rangatira, was by virtue of being a Patupaiarehe in the Brownie pack.

The basis of a new treaty justice was being formed in this era.

While I was feeling virtuous from walking the 18 mile hikoi from Picton to Blenheim; Dame Whina Cooper led 5000 people from Te Hapua in Northland to Parliament in Wellington, to protest Maori land loss.

 

In 1975, identity came to the fore.   For me, that identity was all about self-image – wanting to fit in -  responding to the constant taunts of “four-eyes” by writing a short story, “The day I won a beauty contest”.

 

I’m pictured here with my best friend Jane Grooby.   We did everything together, biked to school, had sleepovers, shared our hopes and dreams – and yet not once in those childhood days did I know of the whakapapa connection to Kati Huirapa ki Puketariki; to Kati Mamoe; to being Māori.   Her father, Alex, was immersed in Māori health, in the early days of Maataa Waka; all to which I was oblivious to.

 

The writer, Mark Twain, said that the two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.

 

For me, in my childhood in Wairau, I was ignorant of the very stories that formed the tapesty of this land; ill-equipped to call myself tangata tiriti  - those who come to this nation through virtue of Te Tiriti o Waitangi.   That sense of unknowing has been a powerful driver in my own search for meaning; my passion to contribute to a stronger future for all our children to inherit.

 

And so I come to our story – Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu.

Much of what we have heard over the last three years has shared the ‘what’ – the core business of commissioning; our investment pipeline; the challenges for Navigators in working with whānau; our collective mahi in the areas of family violence, suicide prevention, mokopuna ora.

But our greatest learning is that people don’t come to Whānau Ora as a business or a service, they come because they believe in the approach.   It’s all about the why.

They come because ordinary is not in their nature; they want to discard the tyranny of the average for something all together more spectacular; in line with their own uniqueness.   They come because they believe in their right and responsibility; their obligation and their honour to create a better platform for tomorrow.

In doing so you have all become game-changers, you have stepped up beyond the comfort zone and shown us that a revolution can begin with one.

Sometimes your purpose has come from tragedy – the loss of a loved one.   Other times, as for Janice Lee of Koha Kai, it comes from a burning sense of social justice – that people with disabilities not only have the right to employment and to independent income, but also to live well.

Whānau Ora in Te Waipounamu has been motivated by the heart-work of aspiration; the opportunity of advancing wellbeing.   And as our Prime Minister and our Government embark on a journey to a Child Wellbeing Strategy, it is timely for a greater examination of wellbeing by the name we know best – Whānau Ora.   Everything you need to know about Wellbeing you will find written in the seven pou –outcomes that reflect a bolder attitude, families standing in their truth

The first pou is that whānau will be self-managing and empowered leaders.   We saw the impact of this at Omaka Pa; Kiley shared the amazing story of Te Pa Wananga – an innovative kaupapa Maori learning village that will be the incubator of the next generation of leadership.

In a low income community in Dunedin, the whānau of the Corstorphine Hub have grown kai, set up a playgroup, distributed cooking kits, constructed a tunnel house.

In our NAV nation we see a band of champions dedicated to working with whānau – to bring out their uniqueness; their complexity and their desire to be in charge of their own destiny.

Pou Rua: to lead healthy lifestyles – has had a profound impact in Te Waipounamu.   He Waka Kotuia demonstrated  the power of transformation in their workshop yesterday.   They epitomise their tribal challenge: He Kaha uia Te Kaha  : to foster a sense of community and family pride.

At the end of last year a group of over twenty health and wellbeing exponents took part in the Aoraki Summit  - challenging themselves physically and mentally to the will of Tawhirimatea and Ranginui.   There is nothing that tests your mettle quite as much as a 15km walk in 30 degree heat or an unforgettable 30km paddle down the Pukaki.

A dozen years ago Professor Mason Durie published measures of Māori wellbeing which are synonymous with Whānau Ora.   Those measures included to promote manaakitanga; pupuri taonga (guardianship); whakamana (empowerment); whakatakato tikanga (future generations); whakapumau tikanga; whakawhanaungatanga.

One initiative that models these broad capacities in action is KOHA : Kia Ora Hands Aotearoa.  The approach includes rongoa and mirimiri in a context of te reo and tikanga.

Wananga Taiao at Koukourarata is about the world’s finest blight free, virus free potatoes while also growing a maara kai; engaging their whānau in horticultural qualifications; creating a wananga at home.

Hale Compound Conditioning represents the flourishing vitality of Corey and Manu Hale, devoting their lives to encourage wellness amongst the generations through their mobile gym and lifestyle programme.

Pou Toru champions the opportunity to enable all whānau to taste life to the utmost.

LoveChi our Angels Trio set up a text-a-lunch strategy to support whānau whose children were going hungry.   But they did much more – they showed us all that every child is worth our love; our collective responsibility to do right by them.

 He Whakapiki Mauri sets itself the challenge of enabling whānau with disabilities every opportunity to live their best life – to dance with reckless abandon, to make every moment count.

Bros for Change started from that same dream that James Downes shared in seven words: to want a better life for them– nurturing a hunger to reach out, to live without fear, to live well.

And later today you can learn more about Te Ara Raukura – a partnership between Ngai Tuahuriri and seven kura in the eastern cluster of Christchurch to increase connections to whānau, to culture, language, identity and leadership.

The fourth pou is around participating in Te Ao Maori, whether via Te Ataarangi as being celebrated here in Te Tauihu; through the creation of reo pēpi – children’s books that have had phenomenal success or at the other end of the spectrum Ties That bind us – poems and short stories reflecting whānau experience in Murihiku.

At the night market we met up with Waka Whenua – the Puha sisters who were driven by the complete lack of cultural competency that characterised their birthing experiences, to want to create ipu whenua – sacred vessels to protect and hold the whenua until it is returned home.

Pou Rima is around wealth creation and future making.

A key factor in success has been in setting out a pathway to sustainability – whether it is through Manaaki products; or Kakano Café with the effervescent Jade Temepara – soon to have her own show on Maori TV.   During the year we were delighted to release the results of analysis by economist Professor Paul Dalziell that revealed for every dollar spent in one of the initiatives – He Toki ki te Mahi – there would be seven dollars return.

Sustainability is a key focus of our Whānau Coaches, our contract advisors and something we are very keen for government to understand the wider value.

The sixth pou is one that has been of particular relevance to our whānau in the wake of the Kaikoura earthquakes, flooding, fires, cyclones, tornados – and it is in that setting that a whānau centred approach unites with our navigators to help consolidate resilience; to walk tupuna lands; to be supported to be our best self; to address the savage realities of violence to others and oneself through reliance on whānau.

And finally, we end with a focus on treasuring the land and the sea; on setting up collective food kitchens and maara kai; on protecting and preserving taonga for our mokopuna to cherish.   A reminder of he ngakau aroha : the loving heart that brought manaakitanga to the core in the aftermath of disaster.

We are all storytellers. The ones I have shared today are but an entrée into a feast of stories that connect people with purpose.   Stories teach us about ourselves; our legends and our legacies, our insights and plain common sense advice.   They disrupt deficit thinking, they confront racism and inequalities built from difference.   Our stories make the invisible centre stage; bring the priorities of the marginalised and dispossessed to the surface.

They demonstrate how we serve others; how we practice our values; mau te ara, kia ora ai te whānau.

Every-time we share stories we have an opportunity to share a memory of value to us.  

It was fabulous last night to dance to the wonder of the Aotearoa Allstars .   And it reminded me of one final story:

Recently one of our beautiful kuia, Myra Wineera from Takapuwahia, reflected on her experiences as one of the alltime Maori female pop-groups of the sixties, the Shevelles.  

The Shevelles performed at the Hollywood Bowl, toured concerts in Salt Lake City, San Francisco, and Honolulu.

They could have been huge – but as staunch Latter Day Saints they refused to sing on Sunday – a factor which eventually limited the Māori Supremes ability to take on the world.   Their difference defined them; rather than inspiring respect for a life led by faith; their principles became a barrier to their opportunity.

But half a century later, that flame of talent has passed on to another generation with the story of their mokopuna, your mokopuna; Keala Settle.  

The real life story of Keala and her struggles to fit in as someone with Maori, American, Pacific Island and European heritage inspired the hit song, This is Me, which recently won the Golden Globe for Best Original Song in a Motion Picture.

 

The theme of the song, as inspired by this mighty mokopuna, is all about embracing your differences and standing up to the world to carve your own path.   To not let the attitudes and constraints of others confine her in any way. 

Her own story – her life experience – became the source of hope for not just the movie in which she starred, but indeed for audiences across the globe. 

Tutakitaki nga waka; tutakitaki nga tangata is powered by the call to be fearless; to be audacious in our articulation of our dreams; to imagine a future in which the wellbeing of our whānau is guaranteed through the efforts we make today.

Just as Huriawa of the Waikoropupu Springs, watches over her children across the many springs that form the networks of waterways across Aotearoa; you here; are all guardians of the special places, the seeds of life, which enable us to plan for our future.

And if there is one undeniable fact about the beauty that bubbles under the surface around us, it is that it requires all of us to preserve and protect, to be vigilant in maintaining the mauri, in nurturing the life force.

 

That is perhaps the greatest story yet to be told – how do we make Whānau Ora grow every day?. 

 

How do we address our own unknowing; to reflect and keep check on our behaviours; our attitudes; our ways of being.  

 

What can we each do to unleash the potential of whānau; to draw upon the richness of whakapapa; to reframe the narratives; to demonstrate aroha in action; to hold firm and fast to all that makes us unique.

 

Ultimately, that is the convergence we most desire – a collaboration of hearts and minds – that will enable every whānau to be a sphere of influence, a site of safety; and a flourishing sanctuary of self-determination.

 

 

Tūtakitaki ngā waka; tūtakitaki nga tangata

 

Helen Leahy

 

It is a very precious moment in time to have in one room the people who inspire you every day by their leadership and legacy; the people who encourage you to be more by their example; their self-less sacrifice and their relentless enthusiasm, and those people who have made your life so magical by the blessing of their life.

 

The painter, Pablo Picasso once said “the meaning of life is to find your gift.   The purpose of life is to give it away”.

 

It sums up to me the exhilaration and the example of a whānau-centred life.   As I look around this morning, I see a room over-flowing with people who have gifted their service to whānau in multiple ways.  My job this morning is to share some of those stories with you.

 

Tūtakitaki nga waka; Tūtakitaki nga tangata.

 

This symposium is inspired by the notion of a meeting place in time and geography; where waka meet and whānau come together.   You bring with you your stories, your memories and your passion about what sets your soul on fire.

 

Our speakers yesterday set the wheels of imagination spinning.   They told us to take nothing for granted; to live up to our purpose; to be all that we can be.

 

They asked us to reflect = in this historic setting – on our own histories; to confront intergenerational trauma with intergenerational resistance and a resilience born of those courage of those before us.  They reminded us to press pause; to care for ourselves; we cried, we laughed, we danced and we sang, and most of all we shared story.

 

The Wairau has a special place in my story.  As a child of the seventies, I was raised here in the days of endless summer.  We swam in the emerald rivers of the Pelorus, not knowing we were in the natural kainga that formed at the junction of the Rai and Te Hoiere –Titi Raukawa; to be watched over by the kaitiaki Kaikaiawaro.

 

These were momentous days in the Māori renaissance.  In September 1972 Nga Tamatoa presented a petition with over 30,000 signatures to have te reo Maori taught in school.  Yet the only context I can remember even hearing te reo rangatira, was by virtue of being a Patupaiarehe in the Brownie pack.

 

The basis of a new treaty justice was being formed in this era.

 

While I was feeling virtuous from walking the 18 mile hikoi from Picton to Blenheim; Dame Whina Cooper led 5000 people from Te Hapua in Northland to Parliament in Wellington, to protest Maori land loss.

 

In 1975, identity came to the fore.   For me, that identity was all about self-image – wanting to fit in -  responding to the constant taunts of “four-eyes” by writing a short story, “The day I won a beauty contest”.

 

I’m pictured here with my best friend Jane Grooby.   We did everything together, biked to school, had sleepovers, shared our hopes and dreams – and yet not once in those childhood days did I know of the whakapapa connection to Kati Huirapa ki Puketariki; to Kati Mamoe; to being Māori.   Her father, Alex, was immersed in Māori health, in the early days of Maataa Waka; all to which I was oblivious to.

 

The writer, Mark Twain, said that the two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.

 

For me, in my childhood in Wairau, I was ignorant of the very stories that formed the tapesty of this land; ill-equipped to call myself tangata tiriti  - those who come to this nation through virtue of Te Tiriti o Waitangi.   That sense of unknowing has been a powerful driver in my own search for meaning; my passion to contribute to a stronger future for all our children to inherit.

 

And so I come to our story – Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu.

 

Much of what we have heard over the last three years has shared the ‘what’ – the core business of commissioning; our investment pipeline; the challenges for Navigators in working with whānau; our collective mahi in the areas of family violence, suicide prevention, mokopuna ora.

 

But our greatest learning is that people don’t come to Whānau Ora as a business or a service, they come because they believe in the approach.   It’s all about the why.

 

They come because ordinary is not in their nature; they want to discard the tyranny of the average for something all together more spectacular; in line with their own uniqueness.   They come because they believe in their right and responsibility; their obligation and their honour to create a better platform for tomorrow.

 

In doing so you have all become game-changers, you have stepped up beyond the comfort zone and shown us that a revolution can begin with one.

Sometimes your purpose has come from tragedy – the loss of a loved one.   Other times, as for Janice Lee of Koha Kai, it comes from a burning sense of social justice – that people with disabilities not only have the right to employment and to independent income, but also to live well.

 

Whānau Ora in Te Waipounamu has been motivated by the heart-work of aspiration; the opportunity of advancing wellbeing.   And as our Prime Minister and our Government embark on a journey to a Child Wellbeing Strategy, it is timely for a greater examination of wellbeing by the name we know best – Whānau Ora.   Everything you need to know about Wellbeing you will find written in the seven pou –outcomes that reflect a bolder attitude, families standing in their truth.

 

The first pou is that whānau will be self-managing and empowered leaders.   We saw the impact of this at Omaka Pa; Kiley shared the amazing story of Te Pa Wananga – an innovative kaupapa Maori learning village that will be the incubator of the next generation of leadership.

 

In a low income community in Dunedin, the whānau of the Corstorphine Hub have grown kai, set up a playgroup, distributed cooking kits, constructed a tunnel house.

In our NAV nation we see a band of champions dedicated to working with whānau – to bring out their uniqueness; their complexity and their desire to be in charge of their own destiny.

 

Pou Rua: to lead healthy lifestyles – has had a profound impact in Te Waipounamu.   He Waka Kotuia demonstrated  the power of transformation in their workshop yesterday.   They epitomise their tribal challenge: He Kaha uia Te Kaha  : to foster a sense of community and family pride.

 

At the end of last year a group of over twenty health and wellbeing exponents took part in the Aoraki Summit  - challenging themselves physically and mentally to the will of Tawhirimatea and Ranginui.   There is nothing that tests your mettle quite as much as a 15km walk in 30 degree heat or an unforgettable 30km paddle down the Pukaki.

 

A dozen years ago Professor Mason Durie published measures of Māori wellbeing which are synonymous with Whānau Ora.   Those measures included to promote manaakitanga; pupuri taonga (guardianship); whakamana (empowerment); whakatakato tikanga (future generations); whakapumau tikanga; whakawhanaungatanga.

 

One initiative that models these broad capacities in action is KOHA : Kia Ora Hands Aotearoa.  The approach includes rongoa and mirimiri in a context of te reo and tikanga.

 

Wananga Taiao at Koukourarata is about the world’s finest blight free, virus free potatoes while also growing a maara kai; engaging their whānau in horticultural qualifications; creating a wananga at home.

Hale Compound Conditioning represents the flourishing vitality of Corey and Manu Hale, devoting their lives to encourage wellness amongst the generations through their mobile gym and lifestyle programme.

 

Pou Toru champions the opportunity to enable all whānau to taste life to the utmost.

 

LoveChi our Angels Trio set up a text-a-lunch strategy to support whānau whose children were going hungry.   But they did much more – they showed us all that every child is worth our love; our collective responsibility to do right by them.

 He Whakapiki Mauri sets itself the challenge of enabling whānau with disabilities every opportunity to live their best life – to dance with reckless abandon, to make every moment count.

 

Bros for Change started from that same dream that James Downes shared in seven words: to want a better life for them– nurturing a hunger to reach out, to live without fear, to live well.

 

And later today you can learn more about Te Ara Raukura – a partnership between Ngai Tuahuriri and seven kura in the eastern cluster of Christchurch to increase connections to whānau, to culture, language, identity and leadership.

 

The fourth pou is around participating in Te Ao Maori, whether via Te Ataarangi as being celebrated here in Te Tauihu; through the creation of reo pēpi – children’s books that have had phenomenal success or at the other end of the spectrum Ties That bind us – poems and short stories reflecting whānau experience in Murihiku.

 

At the night market we met up with Waka Whenua – the Puha sisters who were driven by the complete lack of cultural competency that characterised their birthing experiences, to want to create ipu whenua – sacred vessels to protect and hold the whenua until it is returned home.

 

Pou Rima is around wealth creation and future making.

A key factor in success has been in setting out a pathway to sustainability – whether it is through Manaaki products; or Kakano Café with the effervescent Jade Temepara – soon to have her own show on Maori TV.   During the year we were delighted to release the results of analysis by economist Professor Paul Dalziell that revealed for every dollar spent in one of the initiatives – He Toki ki te Mahi – there would be seven dollars return.

 

Sustainability is a key focus of our Whānau Coaches, our contract advisors and something we are very keen for government to understand the wider value.

 

The sixth pou is one that has been of particular relevance to our whānau in the wake of the Kaikoura earthquakes, flooding, fires, cyclones, tornados – and it is in that setting that a whānau centred approach unites with our navigators to help consolidate resilience; to walk tupuna lands; to be supported to be our best self; to address the savage realities of violence to others and oneself through reliance on whānau.

 

And finally, we end with a focus on treasuring the land and the sea; on setting up collective food kitchens and maara kai; on protecting and preserving taonga for our mokopuna to cherish.   A reminder of he ngakau aroha : the loving heart that brought manaakitanga to the core in the aftermath of disaster.

 

We are all storytellers. The ones I have shared today are but an entrée into a feast of stories that connect people with purpose.   Stories teach us about ourselves; our legends and our legacies, our insights and plain common sense advice.   They disrupt deficit thinking, they confront racism and inequalities built from difference.   Our stories make the invisible centre stage; bring the priorities of the marginalised and dispossessed to the surface.

They demonstrate how we serve others; how we practice our values; mau te ara, kia ora ai te whānau.

 

Every-time we share stories we have an opportunity to share a memory of value to us.  

 

It was fabulous last night to dance to the wonder of the Aotearoa Allstars .   And it reminded me of one final story:

 

Recently one of our beautiful kuia, Myra Wineera from Takapuwahia, reflected on her experiences as one of the alltime Maori female pop-groups of the sixties, the Shevelles.  

 

The Shevelles performed at the Hollywood Bowl, toured concerts in Salt Lake City, San Francisco, and Honolulu.

 

They could have been huge – but as staunch Latter Day Saints they refused to sing on Sunday – a factor which eventually limited the Māori Supremes ability to take on the world.   Their difference defined them; rather than inspiring respect for a life led by faith; their principles became a barrier to their opportunity.

 

But half a century later, that flame of talent has passed on to another generation with the story of their mokopuna, your mokopuna; Keala Settle.  

The real life story of Keala and her struggles to fit in as someone with Maori, American, Pacific Island and European heritage inspired the hit song, This is Me, which recently won the Golden Globe for Best Original Song in a Motion Picture.

 

The theme of the song, as inspired by this mighty mokopuna, is all about embracing your differences and standing up to the world to carve your own path.   To not let the attitudes and constraints of others confine her in any way. 

Her own story – her life experience – became the source of hope for not just the movie in which she starred, but indeed for audiences across the globe. 

 

Tutakitaki nga waka; tutakitaki nga tangata is powered by the call to be fearless; to be audacious in our articulation of our dreams; to imagine a future in which the wellbeing of our whānau is guaranteed through the efforts we make today.

 

Just as Huriawa of the Waikoropupu Springs, watches over her children across the many springs that form the networks of waterways across Aotearoa; you here; are all guardians of the special places, the seeds of life, which enable us to plan for our future.

 

And if there is one undeniable fact about the beauty that bubbles under the surface around us, it is that it requires all of us to preserve and protect, to be vigilant in maintaining the mauri, in nurturing the life force.

 

That is perhaps the greatest story yet to be told – how do we make Whānau Ora grow every day?. 

 

How do we address our own unknowing; to reflect and keep check on our behaviours; our attitudes; our ways of being.  

What can we each do to unleash the potential of whānau; to draw upon the richness of whakapapa; to reframe the narratives; to demonstrate aroha in action; to hold firm and fast to all that makes us unique.

Ultimately, that is the convergence we most desire – a collaboration of hearts and minds – that will enable every whānau to be a sphere of influence, a site of safety; and a flourishing sanctuary of self-determination.

 

 

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