Last night at the laundromat a little boy asked me why my hair was orange. I told him that I chose tocolour my hair because I liked it. This weekend we have a much bigger choice than hair colour. We have a choice to contribute to the shaping of our future; to add our vote to the party/parties we want to run our country. Make sure all your whanau take up that right - and responsibility -to use your vote wisely.
This week was a big week for Aotearoa. It was te wiki o te reo Maori, Kia Ora te reo! On Wednesday we celebrated ten years since the signing of the Declaration of Indigenous peoples; later that night we attended the gala event for the opening of the Moana movie in te reo. And in the midst of that Te Putahitanga o Te Waipounamu launches some very exciting research!
Every three years politicians come together to stand on street corners and wave flags, to erect messages of hope in billboards scattered around the motu, to replace the debating chamber of parliament for podium in community halls, in marketplaces, in clubrooms and on television. And in the process each attempts to share their prescription for a brave new future that costs just two votes – a vote for a candidate and a vote for a party that best represents you and your aspirations. This week in Te Waipounamu Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu hosted the three hopefuls for Te Tai Tonga. But while the debates were being had, we take a moment to reflect back on the last seven years since the 7.1 magnitude earthquake hit Darfield, we take a trip to Rakautara and see for ourselves the scale of the damage still present since the November 2016 earthquakes in Kaikōura, and overnight a tornado whipped through Arahura Pa, in Hokitika. As we see whānau cope with such remarkable challenges, we are always aware that the greatest vote is the vote in ourselves, a vote that beliefs in the all enduring power of whānau to heal and restore.
With the fresh new face of Spring upon us it’s time to value the very essence of life. And there is no more important reminder of that than with the travelling show of shoes that is heading towards parliament, each pair of empty shoes representing the loss of a life to suicide.
From the Beehive where politicians swarm, to the real life beehive construction of Ngāti Kuia, this week we are featuring a range of exciting Whānau Ora intiatives that are emerging in Te Tau Ihu. And what a pleasure it is to launch our digital story of Angel’s Trio.
We have been loving our rangatahi on the stage this week – at Murihiku Polyfest In Invercargill; at FLAVA in Timaru, at Pese Wairua in Aranui, and He Waka Kotuia in Ōtepoti next step the world. And of course there was one reason that hundreds of tamariki flooded to Ngā Hau e Whā in Christchurch this week. And much as we all love him it wasn’t Matua Norm.
This week I have travelled in the extremes of weather – from the smooth blankets of snow covering the landscape, to the bumbling rubble of roads under construction. We have debated the journey of life from Te Kore to Te Po to Te Ao Marama. We have wondered how we can address the significant gap – 7.3 years – between the life expectancy of a Māori male (73 years) and a non-Māori male (80.3 years). And we have marvelled at the talents and the beauty of our tamariki. All in all a great week in the life of Whānau Ora.
As the first daffodils start peeping out of their winter blankets, our thoughts turn to the promise of spring. And so this week, we share the story from Westport – Te Ha o Kawatiri – where Dr Richard Hunter spent time inspiring about thirty of the whānau in the creation of their own maara kai.
We also share some of the stories that have featured in the news and on social media this week – Te Ha o Nga Rangatahi (featured in the Marlborough Express); Matariki X (Kakano Café and Cookery School) and a beautiful story about a man named Moon
Just over three years ago on 26 July 2014, Te Putahitanga o Te Waipounamu was launched in six simultaneous celebrations held across Te Waipounamu. This week, we reflect back on the successes and the challenges, while also highlighting some of the recent ‘new arrivals’ – a wonderful new digital story profiling ‘Manawa Ora’ at Whakatū Marae in Nelson; the visit to Mataura Marae and Koha Kai by Minister Te Ururoa Flavell; and the incredible energy of Mana Rangatahi in the heartlands of Ngāti Apa ki te Rā To.
Last night a former shearer contractor from Rangitane stock, was inducted into the illustrious New Zealand Business Hall of Fame. Mavis Mullins was recently named Outstanding Māori Business Leader for 2017, former president of Golden Shears and current chairwoman of Taratahi Agricultural Training Centre, founding member of Te Huarahi Tika Trust which initiated 2 Degrees. She has chaired Atihau-Whanganui Inc; and been a member of the Māori land protection authority, Ngā Whenua Rahui. Central to her success has been the unwavering commitment and inspiration of whānau. In her honour, we think about the message she has shared with us all: If we never take a risk we never go anywhere and in the Maori world we carry quite a heavy responsibility. We are upholding the tipuna of the past, while dealing with future generations. Risk isn't always bad, it's about sensible risk, and failure can be a serious learning opportunity". Here then, to risk, to responsibilities and to caring for the wellbeing of our future generations.
Te Waipounamu has become water-logged; subject to treacherous slips and parts of our communities completely cut off. A civil state of emergency has been declared in Dunedin, Temuka, Christchurch; homes have been evacuated; record water falls have wreaked damage on a massive scale. During these times of crisis this is where we see whānau champions coming to the fore, helping to gather today residents, piling up sandbags to keep the floods at bay, and actively involved in a wide range of emergency services.
While the clean-up is just beginning, it might be best to keep inside, keep warm and reflect on some of the amazing examples of courage and resilience that emerge during times like this. This week we also acknowledge the loss of Dr Cliff Whiting, we share some of the celebrations of the Matariki awards, and reflect on the bold pioneers of coding and computational learning emerging out of Bluff.
This week we’ve been enjoying a surprise visit from the Minister for Whānau Ora who wanted to see for himself the progress being experienced with Whānau Ora initiatives. It was a fast-filled, passionate 24 hours, with all the entities excited to share developments with their Minister – from Hale Compound Conditioning to Boys for Change to Tane Ora to Tipu Taitama Voyaging Trust. Next week he’s taking his tour on the road to Nelson!
As we approach the dawning of Matariki on 17th July, it was a true blessing to be touching the edge of the universe in our trip to Rekohu / Wharekauri / Chatham Islands this week, as part of a stakeholder hui on the island. Our focus was to get together with a range of other stakeholders to consider the difference we could make together. Making a contribution was also upper in the minds of many of our new entities who have been signing up for Wave Six this last week. We end the week on a high, reflecting on the momentum that is being captured within the context of social enterprise.
As our office turned its focus this week to all the hustle and bustle of getting reports in, plans completed, invoices received for the 30 June cut-off, the air of entrepreneurship was still all around us. Christchurch had a focus on enterprise and HineBoss; the indigenous philanthropic funding report has just come to land, and of course all our Wave Six applicants are getting ready to get set and go. To cap off the week we had a brilliant day with Manu Korero – this year welcoming kura not just from Timaru but also Te Tai Poutini was there to share their stunning rangatahi – and take away a couple of the awards with it! Happy new financial year everyone!
We want the rangatahi voice heard. That was a theme that came through our recent wananga, Te Kakano o Te Totara. It is a similar theme that connected many of the experiences we had this week: a workshop on trauma-informed practice; leadership workshops on suicide prevention; support for ‘supergran’ to rid herself of addictions and regain a healthy life.
This week the nation – and indeed the globe – watched on to witness the unprecedented reconciliation package that was presented to the people of Parihaka, He Puanga Haeata – a new dawn. Across Te Waipounamu that spirit of restorative justice has been permeating our thoughts this week with the launch of the strategy that has emerged out of twelve months and twelve hui with the focus on Tu Pono: Te Mana Kaha o Te Whanau. We end the week in Invercargill with the champion team that has created Rangatahi Tumeke.
The other night I was reading my son a classic children’s book written many years ago..
By the time I’d finished son was fast asleep in the land where cats in hats stand on balls with a book on one hand and a cup in the other. Meanwhile I was hooked.
This week, our Navigators spent a fabulous couple of days engaged in PATH training; networking, downloading, sharing time together, relaxing in the peace of this divine landscape. One of our Arowhenua Navigators, Brenda Warren, summed it up best:
This week we head south into the chilly blizzard that met us as we travelled into the valley of Owaka. The blaze of a hearty fire and an energetic team of Maori medium teachers, resource teachers, advisors and mentors soon warmed the bones. We have been seeing the appreciation of Whānau Ora across the sectors in this week’s blog: Corrections, Justice, Education, Law. The aspiration for Whānau Ora was always to see it being applied across all portfolios, for all communities. Maybe it is finally an idea whose time has come!
The vibrancy and quality of this harvest from Hapai produce (Koukourarata) is symbolic of the fertility of Whānau Ora as it expresses itself in a multitude of ways across Te Waipounamu. This week we feature the excitement of Te Ao Hangarau as rangatahi took over the digital frontiers for a Tech week special. We fall even more in love with the wild luxury of the west coast as Tuia Te Tai Poutini releases its own story. And we celebrate the energy of the whānau from across Te Tau Ihu as they enter into the discussions around Tu Pono: Te Mana Kaha o Te Whānau.
Te Waipounamu. Land of shimmering shores. Sun-blasted landscapes. Rippling waters basking under puffs of cloud. In the two years since I took up the Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu baton, I have fallen in love with this beautiful island of such rich contrast.
As the autumn leaves start to shed, it’s time to brace ourselves for the winter, deal to some of the challenges, and celebrate ourselves along the way. This week we have been out on the Tu Pono road – in Temuka and Dunedin; our Navigators have been meeting in the South to mobilise their momentum for the mahi they do; and we’ve attended some fabulous celebrations – Manawa Ora in Nelson and the 20th birthday celebration of Te Roopu Tautoko ki te Tonga in Dunedin.
The symphony of colour that represents Autumn signals a time that is ripe for change. This week across Te Waipounamu conversations about how to make this change real have been taking place in vivid and variable ways: addressing family violence through the hui at Tuhuru Marae in Hokitika on Thursday; planning whanau futures at Te Awhina Marae in Motueka and debating the importance of innovation in a marae justice hub hui at Nga Hau e Wha.
And we end the week, coming together with others from across the nation – Louise Nicholas (National Sexual Violence Survivor Advocate and New Zealander of the Year); Nicola Atwool; Ken Clearwater (National Manager of the Male Survivors of Sexual Abuse Trust) and Rachel Smith (Family Violence Death Review Committee) – to discuss the culture of family and sexual violence at the Queenstown Memorial Centre.
One of my favourite poems is one by Robert Frost, where the poem ends
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference
This week, BoysIIMen, (Kaiapoi Style) showed us how lives can change by making a decision to travel a different road.
As Cyclone Cook whips up amongst us, why not warm the heart by catching a few of the stories of people who have made a difference through simply ‘being the change’.
“To be heroic is to be courageous enough to die for something;
to be inspirational is to be crazy enough to live a little.”
Katie Robinson is on to a good thing. She knows that the quickest way to a whānau heart is through the puku. This week Soul Full was launched www.soulfullsuperfoods.co.nz. When in Christchurch, come along to 91 Hereford Street, Wednesday to Friday; 9.30am-2.30pm. We also had a very big week – celebrating the signing of our Outcome Agreement; signing an agreement for a Whānau Ora Navigator in Wharekauri; RBA training in Dunedin; A and P show in Ward!
This week we had a taste of everything – the magic of the vision of Mataura; the unique legacy of the leadership of Ta Mark Solomon; an international conference of the children of incarcerated parents, literacy on the beach in Blenheim and much more. Have a read!
This week there must have been something in the water. Literally. The third reading of the Whānganui River Bill (Te Awa Tupua) took place in Parliament while Ngati Tama ki te Tauihu were in the High Court fighting for their rights to protect and safeguard their tribal treasures, in the form of Te Waikoropūpū Springs. We had the privilege of visiting these beautiful waters in Takaka on our hikoi north, along with Kaiteriteri, Onetahua marae, Te Awhina Marae (Motueka) and Whakatu Marae in Nelson.
We also went to the opposite end of the motu in the RBA Training in Invercargill and then landed at Lincoln for the Unleash the Maui conference. There was a hui with the Minister for Whānau Ora too. All in all, quite a week.
There was a beautiful korero given to one of the rangatahi at Tuhuru Marae in the land of Ngati Waewae this last week. “We say that people don’t find pounamu; pounamu finds us. In much the same way, you found us – and in that we know we have been blessed”. It was just one of multiple examples of love; manaakitanga in action. Sometimes the way we talk to each other can be bruising; it can shatter confidence, it can erode self-belief. This week through the eyes of Tuia Te Taipoutini we marvelled at simple strategies in communication to make the difference we need if we are committed to a better world. It was ‘mana-enhancing’ in every sense. And you know - that’s Whānau Ora in every day life.
This week at Te Pūtahitanga we discover Project Kete, Introduce our whānau enterprise coaches, Inspirational Whānau Stories, Awarua Whirwhiringa Graduation, We are looking for a Communications Advisor and the release of Wave Six!
This week tens of thousands of us from across the globe have flocked to Kahungunu Park in Hastings, we’ve linked in to Te Matatini or Māori Television via ipad, iphone, PC, or the big screen.
The reason being: Te Kāhu o Te Amorangi – the heavenly cloak – the theme for Matatini 2017. NgātiKahungunu has left nothing to chance in their desire to welcome everyone to the lands of the Takitimu waka. Heretaunga and Ahuriri have come together to offer the gesture of manaaki – pallets of apples, pumpkins and onions for families to take home; the shimmering beauty of pāua every where one looks, a site of perfection for the waka of ngā hau e whā to arrive at and celebrate the cultural extravaganza that is our national kapa haka festival.
This week’s blog takes us there – while at the same time acknowledging the sobering significance of the powerful memorial created to remember and reflect on six years since the devastating earthquakes of 22 February 2011.
Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu says they aim to empower and uplift rather than preach and patronise. The Whānau Ora agency visited some of the people who have received Whānau Ora funding to gain an understanding of how the scheme works in the South Island.