This week’s blog comes from our Navigator Co-ordinator, Maire Kipa.
It's a week after Mum and Dad's Hura Kohatu and I remember them as the plane flies over Maukatere. Its peak is sprinkled with a light dusting of snow. That explains the chilly Christchurch air at 6am. I'm on my way to Nelson to spend the day with the people of Te Tau Ihu.
I think of my Mum who taught me this waiata - the greatest thing is aroha in service for all people, everywhere.
Ko te mea nui, Ko te aroha
Hei kai tonotono i au
I o taua haerenga
I te ao i te po - e
I acknowledge the passing of Matenga Te Auhia Solomon, whom I knew as Marty. His sister Miriama Kahu and their whānaunga, Aroha Poharama, and of course Uncle Bill Solomon always made me feel at home at Takahanga Marae. Miriama Kahu was appointed the first Maori community health worker in Te Waipounamu in the late 1980s. We often worked long into the wee small hours discussing constructive analysis, social justice, decolonisation and article three of Te Tiriti o Waitangi. Marty would stop by at the break of dawn for a cuppa, chat and kai. The Solomon whānau were always about making plans, setting goals and living the dream step by step. Not in leaps and bounds but with a focus and commitment to whānau enterprise and social justice. I always left Kaikoura feeling refreshed, recharged, inspired and motivated. I miss them all; they were my Whānau Ora Champions.
It's 5.30pm and I'm flying out of Blenheim having spent the day with my colleague, Te Ra Morris, in Te Tau Ihu. This is the last leg of a three day hikoi travelling the breadth of Te Waipounamu. Over the past week I met with whānau in Invercargill, Dunedin, Christchurch, Nelson and Blenheim to hui about Whānau Ora navigation services. I reconnected with some familiar faces and met many new ones too.
As the plane sets down on the tarmac at Otautahi I am humbled and honoured to have had the love and support of my Whānau Ora Champions, the Solomon whānau, and of course my own Mum and Dad - Tihei Mauri Ora!