Tama Nui: Leveki ti Ofaofa e Vagahau Niue

The new Oranga Tamariki Act promotes the importance of mana tamariki, whakapapa and whanaungatanga; recognising the vital role that connection and belonging play in the wellbeing of our children.   This is a concept that is shared with many cultures, as this week being Niuean Language Week reminds us.   In the blog this week we introduce Whānau Ora Navigator for Oranga Tamariki, Mamaeroa Ngata- Stevens.   We take a look at how navigators have been working with the shearers in the South, and holding PATH planning workshops in the top of the South.   We also share some insights from this week’s harm reduction conference which celebrated thirty years since the needle syringe exchanges were established – a world wide first.

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Planting the Seeds of New Life

This week’s blog is influenced by the concept that you can’t bury a seed.  

 

We share some of the discussion at the national Oranga Tamariki hui in Wellington; profile KOHA (Kia Ora Hands Aotearoa) which we have just released a digital story about; highlight  nominee in the Southland Community Environment Awards for Whakaoraka, Jade McGuire and promote the workshop held last weekend in Gore by Murihiku Pounamu.

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Indifference or Initiative: That is the question

I caught up with Murihiku kaumātua, Michael Skerrett, at the Koha Kai event this week.   He told me, with a chuckle, that he should probably retire some time soon.  I found that hard to believe.   When you look at the commitment he has made in so many areas to protecting our special environment, to be tangata tiaki, I can’t ever imagine him retiring.  One particular priority he has made is in protecting the recovery of the  taonga species of toheroa on Southern beaches.  This week’s blog takes some time to talk about toheroa, to celebrate the Koha Kai graduates, and focusing on women in leadership in Christchurch prisons.

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The String to our Kite

I am always in awe of our kuia and koroua who talk so easily about matters of the flesh – broaching the topics of sexual pleasure, the functioning of our body parts and the relationships we have amongst ourselves.  

 

They are completely unphased by terminology or content: speaking as naturally about these issues as they would a meal between friends, a visit to the coast, a trip down memory lane.   And that is exactly how it should be – that our sexuality, our health, our wellness is a conversation that we can all participate in.

 

This week, Matua Brownie took on that same skill in talking with us at Rehua Marae about the symptoms and the treatment of prostate cancer.   In his straight-forward way, he took out all the fear and focused on the facts.   In doing so, he reminds us of the wisdom of the ancestors, who included all these ideas as part of the topic for waiata, for haka, for karakia, for cultural heritage.   We must not forget – cultural amnesia is as damaging as the ignorance or fear that stops us from being well.

 

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Isn't she lovely

This last week we have been reflecting on the leadership of women over 125 years ago, but also more broadly to reflect on the foundation laid in creating the future we inherit today.  At the turn of the 19th century, Māori women were writing letters and memoirs, petitioning newspapers; editing newspapers, appearing before commissions of enquiry; giving evidence in court; appearing in front of the Native Land Court.  And they were part of the campaign for gaining universal suffrage as well!

 

That same energy of constant activity; the enthusiasm to mobilise a movement; the power of political and policy activism is still thriving in 2018.   We celebrate the women in our lives today, as with every day, me aro koe ki te hā o Hineahuone: Pay Heed to the Dignity of Māori Women.

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Kia Kaha te reo Maori

The initiative of encouraging Māori women to communicate with each other through the Māori newspapers of last century was taken by women such as Niniwa i te Rangi, Meri Mangakahia and Pani Te Tau. These papers inspired wahine Māori to collectively organise and to speak with a unified voice.  Next Wednesday 19 September, Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu is holding a celebration, to acknowledge the entrepreneurial success, the diverse skills and the multiple talents of wahine Māori who 125 years to the day since Women’s Suffrage was achieved continue to inspire us in spreading the Whānau Ora approach.

As we celebrated this week, te wiki o te reo Māori, it is a great time to remember those pioneers and champions of both te reo and Māori political movements who have laid the foundation for Whānau Ora to follow.   This week we feature some of our new language champions, as well as catchup on two key conferences that occurred.

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Life’s a journey: Complete it!

Does your pay packet influence how you feel?  Does money make you happy?   Or when you are happy, do you feel more productive and able to contribute?

Happiness is not generally on the agenda of Treasury conferences, but it was this week.  We heard that happy individuals earn more, they  have a more positive outlook, they are more proactive with opportunities.  But the nature of cause was not so clear – are they happy because they are earning enough to provide for a greater quality of life?

This week we also feature some of the success stories of the southern enterprises who are pioneering a Whānau Ora approach. 

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Flowers always make people better

This week He Kakano had its premiere opening on Māori Television.   The TV Guide promotesHe Kākano as “aims to make organic gardening easy and relevant to today, weaving together traditional growing methods with Māori ingenuity, to produce fresh tasty dishes. Wednesdays,7.30pm. On Demand available globally”.

 

Meanwhile in Murihiku the marae was rocking with the kaumatua health day; in Te Pā o Rakaihautu the Whānau Ora Review Panel was meeting lots of whānau associated with Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu

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Find a way

Some weeks are harder than most.  This one was one of those.   Too much sadness.   Too many stories of despair.  Yet in the pathway of pain there was also the shimmer of hope that shone through Mana-Wā: a symposium to celebrate and honour the mana of all our rangatahi.    It was a big week – a national justice sector summit attended by over 800.   The Minister for Whānau Ora visiting Te Tauihu.  And as we enter into the weekend we celebrate the regional presence of Te Waipounamu Māori Women’s Welfare League Regional Council 24-26 August.

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R.E.S.P.E.C.T


This week’s blog is influenced by two powerful women : the late Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, and the newly anointed Dame, Hon Tariana Turia.   We think about what respect means – in the context of

family violence; in the context of self-determination; in the context of Whānau Ora.  

 And we say a little prayer to you…..please make your submissions for the Whānau Ora Review! https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/Z5GCHGG

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Measuring what counts

Measuring what counts is top of our minds this week as we participate in a number of evaluations.  One was focusing on the progress achieved with literacy and numeracy; the other with our flagship policy, Tu Pono Te Mana Kaha o te Whanau.   Another major focus in the week just passed was the visit of the Whānau Ora Review Panel to Omaka Pa in Blenheim.

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Buffetting Blowholes and the unique wonder of the Pancake Rocks of Punakaiki

I used to be fascinated and terrified by the thunderous roar of the blowholes at Punakaiki on the West Coast.  My gaze would fix on the swirling waves below, as inevitably we would try to stand up against the force of the wind.    This week’s blog is all about using the force of whānau around us to remember what is important; to take our gaze away from all that is harmful to our health, and instead to stand strong and proud in cherishing the very essence of the life we are each gifted with.

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Paradise on Earth

The passionate agency of Mana Rangatahi at Lake Rotoiti was a beacon of hope for us this week as we watched the video which showed these young champions of Ngati Apa ki te Rā Tō in their prime.   We ended the week with a similar high note, as the thirty second ‘elevator pitch’ of our graduates of Te Papori o Whakatere revealed the talents and determination of the next generation of whānau enterprise.  Inbetween there was a rich selection of story, of hui, of reporting and a smidgeon of social media to place engagement at the top of all of our agenda.

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Kaua e kōrero mō te awa, kōrero ki te awa.

The challenges for our whānau can often appear insurmountable.   Low income, job insecurity, violence and abuse all serve to erode the spirit of our whānau.   The great thing about working with others is that together we can tackle these issues and look to shine light on solutions – whether it be in ‘creating the catalyst for Māori success’; healing the harm of hearts that are hurting, strengthening our capability to take on new horizons.   This week we take a look at some of these ideas:

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‘What is social wellbeing?’, this indigenous, homegrown model for holistic wellbeing is as relevant as ever

Māori health expert  Professor Sir Mason Durie developed the whare tapa whā model of health in 1982. This encapsulates a Māori view of health and wellness and has four dimensions: taha wairua (spiritual health), taha hinengaro (mental health), taha tinana (physical health) and taha whānau.   36 years later as government embarks on a child wellbeing strategy; Treasury launches a Living Standards Framework, and the Social Investment Unit asks ‘what is social wellbeing’, this indigenous, homegrown model for holistic wellbeing is as relevant as ever. Have a read.

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Ahakoa he iti he pounamu

Puaka / Puanga is such a special time of the year.   The rising of Puaka brings with it a cherished time to start anew, to build up our reserves, to focus on our strengths.   It is a time to become reinvigorated; a time to learn; a time to reflect.  This week’s blog celebrates the twenty graduates of the first Whānau Ora Certificate in the world; we share a story of a gorgeous entrepreneurial five year old; and the imagination and innovation of the phenomena that are Hana and My Father’s Barber.  

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Realisation of our dreams

The vibrantly beautiful Tina-Marie leant closely in to the circle of tamariki, and cajoled them to lift their kauae high, to pull their pakahiwi back, to make their tuara be tall and proud, to grasp their ringaringa – and to be the rangatira that they are born to be.   It represented the powerful optimism all of us held for the mokopuna who will graduate from Te Pa Wananga – the new kura opened at Omaka Pa this week.   Other developments in this week’s blog include a focus on our Navigator entities in the South; some special health literacy events held on the Coast and in Corstorphine Hub, and some amazing reflections from whānau about what Navigators do to make a difference.

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Self-awareness is at its core, the ability to see ourselves clearly

I heard a couple of great phrases this week at a conference on collaboration I attended.   “Listening is not waiting to speak”  or “Listening is like the trampoline : listen so you can bounce ideas…”.

We often undervalue the importance of effective listening; ‘waiting for our turn to speak’ rather than being open to the ideas of the person speaking to us, or the conversation all around us.   This week we share some of the different conversations that we have been party to over the last couple of weeks in Nelson, in Dunedin, in Kaikoura, in Christchurch and in Dunedin.

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