Celebrating Multiple Pathways
In our work and in our living, we must recognise that difference is a reason for celebration and growth, rather than a reason for destruction (Audre Lorde).
Wairau River Photography
Mawhera River, Greymouth
The meaning of Te Pūtahitanga – the convergence of many rivers coming into one – was never more clear than in this last week as we have witnessed a feast of celebrations and graduations representing the incredible range of talents carried by whānau across Te Waipounamu.
Just as no one river replicates another – each flowing to its own rhythm – so too do the learning pathways that so many of our whānau are taking up and experiencing great success.
On Wednesday Te Pūtahitanga was honoured with the opportunity to present the graduands from He Toki ki te Mahi with their certificates. The demand for skilled tradespeople is expected to be high over the next few years – it is said in fact that our economic success as a nation will depend on increasing the skills and opportunities of Maori and Pasifika peoples who will make up an increasing part of our workforce. So the stand-out feature of He Toki ki te mahi has always been in its ability to employ Maori apprentices and place them with host employers in order to get their on-the-job work experience.
But it was not just the fact that the majority of trainees have secured jobs that made the graduation so exhilarating . Or that these apprentices are now fully equipped with all the necessary healthy and safety training, including having the required tools and equipment for the worksite . The real success in was the bursting pride of their whānau as they watched their respective trainee stand on the stage, clutching their certificates, and feeling the love.
Earlier that day we had been out at Tuahiwi Marae, at the official final AGM for He Oranga Pounamu - a Ngāi Tahu mandated organisation which was established in 2000 to lead the development and integration of health and social services in Te Waipounamu.
The focus of He Oranga Pounamu is clearly and squarely whānau wellbeing; Ko te oraka whānau i te tuatahi- Whānau wellbeing Comes First. The day was a great occasion to catch up with old friends – Matua Bill Edwards, a former trustee was there; as was Paul White, former Chief Executive of Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu and Gilbert Taurua, former Business Development Manager. We also caught up with long-serving staff member Vania Pirini and Rex Anglem.
We end the week with a special treat, which was sharing time with Joe McLeod of Marae Kai Masters fame. Joe, of Ngai Tuhoe, shared with us some of the salivating concepts that are found in abundance in his own show, Joe’s World on a plate. It was exciting to think about the potential for new ideas that are available on www.maorifoodchannel.com. Joe is determined to share his gift with kai widely – to maintain and protect the traditional culinary practices, tikanga, whakapapa, wairuatanga, mātauranga, hunting and gathering, foraging rites, food and hygiene practices.
Helen Leahy, with Master Chef Joe McLeod; NgaireTainui (Onuku rūnanga representative for Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu) and Maire Kipa (Navigator Co-ordinator for Te Pūtahitanga).
Māori trade training; health and social service delivery; indigenous knowledge around kai – all of these are just a few of the multivarious routes towards whānau transformation that come our way through the pathway of Whānau Ora. We can’t wait to see all the ideas around Te Waipounamu for investing in whānau potential. Applications have only been open just less than a fortnight – and already we have four applications in! Spread the word – the due date is 11 January 2016 – you are bound to know a whānau that is ready to go right now with their idea for making a difference. Let’s celebrate all the differences we bring to the Whānau Ora journey; come on – there’s no time to wait!