The Magic of Murihiku - Whānau deserve the best.

I was thinking about the way that speakers sometimes draw on the strength of the kōrero, Tū Te Ihi, Tū Te Wehi, Tū Te Wana, to encourage us to focus on the power, the awesome potential and the thrill that comes with the rush of life.  This week we were shown how that korero permeates the project known as the first 1000 days.   The idea is simple:  whanau deserve the best.  The team at 1000 days want to ensure every baby, every mum and dad, every whanau have that “little bit of special” to start the journey of life.

As you walk around this beautiful old home, every step reinforces the wonder of life.  The house is wrapped in layers of love: big fluffy pillows; fresh spring flowers; little messages of inspiration to lift the thoughts.   

1000 days operates on the belief that whānau lead their own transformation; it is an ‘unhurried approach’ in which the house offers an environment of promise, a chance to hope.   Big chairs to sink into; new approaches to learn about. Professor Linda Gilkerson from the Erikson Institute recently shared with the team the FAN Model (Facilitated Attuned Interaction). That’s a flash way to say we need to tune ourselves into the parents’ needs in order to increase their confidence to raise their children.  That approach is applied to all that they do (“We write our reports asking ourselves, what would our whānau think if they were to read it?).

The team bring into the house the skills of midwifery, early childhood, nursing, infant mental health, paediatricians, social work.   But the greatest qualification they bring is their belief in recreating the sense of a village raising the child.   And the magic is working – the local Rotary club help by mowing the lawns; the ladies across the road are making quilts for the bassinet. It’s all in the attention to detail; the quality of care.

Another exciting initaitive we heard all about was the Kohanga Ora ki Murihiku proposal that Te Putahitanga has recently funded through our Navigator allocation.  

This project is at the heart of Whanau Ora : it involves the care and nurturing of pepi and tamariki mokopuna in the strong, warm net of whanau.   The initiative will work with over 100 babies in Murihiku, across eight kohanga, supporting whānau to learn about different child-rearing practices; to participate and protect in all that we treasure as Maori;  to grow whānau knowledge, skills and capabilities to achieve their goals.


The initiative is being championed by Ngā Kete Matauranga Pounamu Charitable Trust who are wanting to create a Centre for Excellence for whānau wellbeing in Murihiku.   While there, we were blown away with the artistic magic of DEOW who has created this powerful mural for Ngā Kete.

There’s nothing like getting out of the usual routine; breathing in the fresh seabreeze on the Bluff peninsula; immersed and inspired by the expression of ‘ora’ at Awarua Whānau Services; Te Rūnanga o Awarua; Rangatahi Tumeke, and so much more.

A fabulous couple of days in Murihiku reminded us of the power of te ihi, te wehi, te wana; consolidating the sense of such a simple signpost for life: “All our whānau deserve the best”.