PŪAO TE RĀ - URAMAI TE RĀ : Closing Address - Ta Mark Solomon

The last three days have provided us with endless opportunities to reflect; to celebrate and to connect within the context of a Whanau Ora approach.

We opened our wananga with the leadership of Ngāi Tūāhuriri, followed by the welcome of Dr Taku Parai, speaking for Te Taumata.   It is appropriate to recognize the leadership of the nine iwi – we can be forever proud of the mobilization, the momentum and the manaakitanga of the mana whenua who stood together to create the foundation of Whānau Ora in Te Waipounamu.

First speaker up was my whanaunga, Maruhaeremuri Nihoniho – sharing the mana of guardianmaia.com; using technology to encourage us to make choices wisely; the gods are watching.

Rangimarie Parata-Takurua encouraged us to learn the game; play the game to change the game.   Her message was: restore; reconnect; reignite, reset: embrace hautututanga, to be as comfortable with a poi and a patu as a pen.

Jaye Pukepuke spoke to us about Bros for Change : how to harness the negative traits of violence, ambition, and aggression – how to turn away from polluted masculinity; to instead become the dawn, the care, the light, the compassion.

Our first day ended with our international speaker, Jo ann Kauffman, who challenged us to move from transactional relationships into relationships of transformation.

Our second day started with an opening address by our Pouārahi – Helen Leahy, inspired by the message ‘hope is our shape-shifter’; that we need to focus on all that is right, rather than who we think are wrong; that we need to back ourselves; believe that we can be the best version of ourselves.

Minister Mahuta was the first keynote speaker of day two.   She told us that culture connects communities; that government can be an activator; am enabler, a good Treaty partner.  

The Minister was followed by three sensational speakers who gave us all the lift we need to know our tomorrow is in great hands.

Tamatha Paul : our Head Girl on Steriods – truly demonstrated that the village brings you up – the village of Tokoroa – the village of a loving whānau.

Ezekiel Raui  was a glittering example that extreme pressure creates diamonds; in his case, a diamond that is half kūmara, half coconut.   He told our rangatahi – sit in the front seats of the hui – be part of the change.

Sonny Ngatai -a champion to revitalize te reo; a huge advocate for self-belief – talked about being the best possible version of the person you want to be.  His upbringing was around servant leadership.

Yesterday afternoon started off with Eugene Ryder - born into the gangs – and experienced in creating opportunities to learn.  His message to the gang is only listen to the first three letters of the word ‘can’t’; dream bigger, expect more of yourself and for your next generation.

Cath Savage talked about our model as emancipatory : believe in your stories.  She told us that what whānau need is intensely political – the solutions are in our own hands.

Pari Hunt ended our day in speaking of and for the Nav Nation.   We so value these champions of the human spirit who are visible through their advocacy; who are distinguished by the power of their belief.

Inbetween our keynote speakers we have had a series of amazing workshops.   Te Putahitanga o Te Waipounamu wants to thank all of you,  for your commitment and your enthusiasm in sharing your inspirational examples with us.

·        Navigator Tīnana collective

·        Ngāti Koata

·        Ōnuku Marae

·        Omaka marae

·        Kanohi ki te Kanohi

·        Whānau Connectors

·        FUSH

·        Te Ha o Kawatiri

·        He Toki Apprenticeships

·        Ngāi Kuia

·        Maranga Mai Te Waipounamu

·        Whakaruruhau

Last night our Whaea, Dame Tariana asked us the question, are we there yet?   Are we truly investing in the wellbeing of the whānau – the collective – as well as individual successes?

It is in that light, that I have the privilege of announcing the successful entities from Wave Nine.

On 21 January 2019 the Wave Nine ORA Fund was opened to the public. 

Seventy-four ORA applications were received by the closing date of 10 March.  Of these 61% of applications (45) were from new entities that had not previously received funding from Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu.

The total requested from the 74 applications was $8,124,889.37; over four times as much as we had available.  This has to be one of the major challenges for our commissioning agency going forward – if we are truly to back whānau to dream the dream and put plans in place, we must have sufficient funding available to invest in your ambitions.

In yesterday’s address by Cath Savage, she urged us to support our tall poppies so they have a field to grow in.  It is my great pleasure now, to share the names of those applicants we will be investing in from 1 July 2019: our largest field yet – 32

1.   Waihopai Runaka Inc, Invercargill

2.   Onuku Rūnanga, Ōnuku

3.   Te Ahi Wairua o Kaikoura Charitable Trust, Kaikōura

4.   Toi Atea, Christchurch

5.   Maraka Consultancy, Picton

6.   Whiria ngā muka, Te Waipounamu

7.   Koha Kai, Invercargill

8.   Whakatu te Korowai Manaakitanga Trust, Nelson

9.   Whenua Kura, West Coast

10.  Te Ora Hou Otautahi Inc, Christchurch

11.   Ngati Apa ki te Ra To Charitable Trust

12.   Pounamu Promotions Ltd - Hawaiki Kura, Blenheim

13.  Kahukura Pounamu Charitable Trust, Christchurch

14.  Kiwi Kai Nelson Ltd, Nelson

15.   Tumokomoko, Aparima Riverton

16.   Native Arts Aotearoa, Motueka

17.    Ascend Whanau Services, Nelson

18.   Te Kaihinaki Ltd, Moeraki

19.   Otakou Smokehouse, Dunedin

20.    Te Tauihu Tonga Ltd, Te Tauihu

21.    Kiri 4 Art, Canvastown

22.   Te Whatu Manawa Maoritanga O Rehua Trust, Christchurch

23.   Reeves Whānau Trust, Picton

24.   Manaaki Ngahere Trust , Blenheim

25.    Roberts Family Trust, Blenheim

26.   Te Arahanga, Nelson

27.    Jam Designer Wear, Blenheim

28.    Puhoto Stem Academy, Te Waipounamu

29.    Whetu Ariki Charitable Trust, Christchurch

30.    Te Rūnanga o Ngā Maata Waka , Christchurch

31.     Noaia Charitable Trust, Christchurch

32.     Ārai Te Uru Charitable Trust, Dunedin

Finally, I want to end with some thoughts about our challenges ahead.

In the video from Boys from Change, one of the young boys said “Yesterday I thought I was going to quit – but I pushed through – and it was worth it.  It’s all about the attitude”.

Tamatha, Ezekiel and Sonny reinforced that message: to see every mistake as an opportunity to learn; every failure a chance to reset and do something different.

As your commissioning agency, our greatest wish is that we reach as many whānau as we can; that we explore every opportunity to enable your plans to take shape, your aspirations to thrive.

But our greatest task is a responsibility we share with you all – to be the dawn, the care, the light, the compassion.

The wonderful thing about the Whānau Ora approach is that every whānau can experience the change; every whānau can be the change. 

It is in that light that we want to call to the stage the team from Mokowhiti to thank them for their incredible manaaki to us all in hosting this event, Puao te Rā, uramai te rā.  The Whānau Ora symposium are a wonderful event to fill our spirits, to feed our souls, with the warmth of positivity, the stimulus of searching questions; the strength of connection.   We want to share some of our whānau taonga with you, to stand in your gardens as a symbol of all the seeds of hope you have planted through the work that you do.

We thank our brilliant MCs – Sista and Brother Che – we thank our inspirational teams of tautoko – Ariki Creative, Māui Studios, our kaimahi; our stunning keynote speakers; our impressive array of workshop presenters – and most of all we thank you all – for staying the distance, for advancing the kaupapa, for giving rise to our collective hope.

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