Kotahitanga - Going far, together!

“In Africa they have a saying, "If you want to go fast, go aloneIf you want to go far, go together."

What an awesome weekend!  First there was the Silver Ferns winning the fourth and final test of the Constellation Cup in Perth.  Over the next 48 hours, the flash mob haka phenomenon erupted in black and white on Sydney’s Opera House; Brisbane’s South Bank, Melbourne’s Federation Square, Surfers Paradise and Perth.  And then of course the incredible result on Sunday morning, as the Allblacks took home the William Ellis Cup, making us all proud.


One of the key take-outs from the changing room was the impact of motivation, of inspiration, of performing like world champions on and off the field.    Sonny Bill Williams summed it up “Although there are only 15 players out on the field at one time we have got quality players throughout our whole squad and everyone dug deep….we push each other and I think that has got the best out of us”.


In many ways, every single initiative Te Pūtahitanga is investing in, is characterised by that same spirit of success; the determination to dig deep and get the best out.


So what will be the next global moment; reminding us we are winners not just at home but on the world stage.

The recent announcement that Christchurch would host the  Global Social Enterprise Conference in 2017 was exciting enough.   Te Putahitanga is now gearing ourselves up to see how we can ensure that whānau transformation is recognised as a unique expression of social innovation.

Here’s our policy advisor Alice Matheson, sitting with me and the magnificent Gerry Higgins, sitting on the Smile Couch after the announcement that Aotearoa would be host to the Social Enterprise World Forum.   Gerry Higgins is Chief Executive Officer at CEIS (Community Enterprise in Scotland) and a Director at the Social Value Lab, Ready for Business LLP, Big Issue Invest Scotland and Social Enterprise World Forum CIC.    When he says social enterprises are all about leaving a legacy for a better world, you believe him.

I came across a really good definition of transformation from Alan Cohen: “Scared and sacred are spelled with the same letters. Awful proceeds from the same root word as awesome. Terrify and terrific. Every negative experience holds the seed of transformation.”


Isn’t that the truth?  Every disruptive moment in our life holds the potential for learning; to think about what might be possible rather than all that we have lost.   There is no better place to be reflecting on this than in the city that shines with opportunity : whether it be the Gap Filler; Greening the Rubble; the Ministry of Awesome or Life in Vacant Spaces.

For Te Pūtahitanga, we are struck with the promise of possibility not just in Christchurch but across the width and breath of Te Waipounamu.  This week we took a drive over to Westport and spent some time with the whānau associated with Te Ha o Kawatiri.  With the support of Ngati Waewae and Ngati Apa ki te Ra To, the community has got together to look at new ways of resolving some of the issues impacting upon their lives.  They have come up with some great ideas : a community directory to give the people a platform to know where to go – a “resource toolbox”.   A young woman is leading the riparian planting project – looking for solutions to grow plants, reduce stock loss in wet areas, increase investment value and restore the quality of the water and land.   And while we were in our hui a young man walked in, full of passion and vigour to bring back waka ama to the Coast.  

Back in Otautahi, Whenua Kura another one of the initiatives we are supporting, invited their local community to a whanau hāngī at Waimakariri Farm on Thursday night.   What a great concept - the purpose being to bring the community and families together after a very busy calving season.  Applications are now open for five programmes beginning in February 2016 – the Whenua Kura Certificate in Agriculture (Level 3); the Whenua Kura Certificate in Farming (Dairy) (Level 3); Whenua Kura Diploma in Agriculture (Level 5); and the Diploma in Farm Management (Level 6). Whenua Kura have also added a Certificate in Organic Horticulture (Level 3), in partnership with Te Wānanga Taiao ō Koukourārata, to their suite of programmes.   Spread the word!

And to end a fantastic week of inspiration, innovation and imagination, we want to do a big shout out to two special birthdays last weekend:  the 30 year birthday celebrations of the wharenui at Omaka Marae, Te Aroha o Te Waipounamu; and the 25 year celebrations of Turangāpeke wharenui at Awhina Marae in Motueka.  Rā whānau ki a koutou!

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