Aotearoa shaken up this week

The images coming over the newswires have been staggering.   The land literally ripped apart.   Pāua and koura stranded on a desolate seashore.   Piles of rubble all that are left of homes.    A group of cows perched perilously on a hilltop waiting to be rescued.   


The central artery of Te Waipounamu’s travel pathway blocked by boulders, tunnels suffocated by landslide, bridges threatened with collapse.


But what is not visible in the media storm, are the children screaming as they are separated from their parents; the babies being flown out to the welcoming arms of whānau while the adults remain to start clearing the damage and reconstruct a new life.  Neither do we see the kaumātua, quietly weeping as they look around at their tribal birthplace, knowing they must leave behind their whānau home, carrying only memories into the future.


A footpath in Kaikoura

A footpath in Kaikoura

-Iain McGregor/FAIRFAX NZ

The devastation is evident everywhere you turn.


But so too, is the remarkable breathless touch of humanity than shines through the shadows.   The farmers who take up shovels, the kura getting their bake on, the colouring books provided for the kids, the handwritten notes saying “Kaikōura – you’ve got this”; “dear the people of Kaikōura, we are thinking of you” or a particularly touching note from “the loving people of the Darfield community”.


“We have learned too through the earthquakes….to be there for each other.  To help in whatever way we can.   For the strength of a place is its people”.


Destruction in Kaikōura

Destruction in Kaikōura


I have been so proud of our team from Te Pūtahitanga, who without a blink, boardered the helicopter to be with their whanaunga of Ngāti Kurī, shoulder to shoulder, heart to heart.


Over the week Haydon, Vania, Bailey, Rongo and Maire helped walk the streets, register whānau, pack up care parcels, and drop everything to show a bit of love.


Juli and her husband ferried people to and fro Tuahiwi, as did our Board Chair Matua Norm, taking the teams to Cheviot to get onboard.   Maania, Ben and Alice helped out at Tuahiwi Marae; Te Rā and our coaches Mel and Tyrone tried to work every hour possible to support the proactive direction of Rangitane ki Wairau, Ngāti Apa ki te Rā To and Ngāti Rarua in working with the Civil Defence in Blenheim.


I couldn’t be prouder of our team; I couldn’t be more honoured than to work alongside the visionary leadership of Ngāi Tahu who give their all and then a bit more, for the good of the people.   It has truly been astounding to see, once more, the manaaki, the overbounding generosity, the unstinting respect and responsibility that Ngāi Tahu demonstrates in trying to make a safe place for whānau.   I have been moved to tears in many ways this week, watching Whānau Ora in action in multiple expressions: the welcome packs for whānau; the hospitality demonstrated in over 7500 meals delivered with a smile, the local families who squashed into a car so that tourists would have a place to sleep, the blankets, clothing, baking, koha that keeps pouring in the doors of Te Whare o Te Waipounamu.


Saint Francis of Assisi once said “remember that when you leave this earth, you can take with you nothing that you have received – only what you have given: a full heart enriched by honest service, love, sacrifice and courage”.   It is a statement that captures the week that has been.



These beautiful “cultural blues” were awarded to the rangatahi of Moeraki as part of one of our commissioned initiatives, the Whakapiki Wairua plan delivered by Te Kaihinaki.


There were eight rangatahi chosen to receive these awards – four received them for the mahi at the marae they have undertaken during their six year journey with them; another four were chosen for their manaaki, hard work ethic and aroha ki te takatā during the recent wananga.



Last weekend, while Canterburians were enjoying the annual show, Te Pūtahitanga was being entertained with the amazing talents and potential of budding Māori entrepreneurs from Te Ranga Ngākau – Māori Business students from the University of Waikato.


Thirty or so students from Kahungunu, Tuwharetoa, Tuhoe, Ngāti Pikiao, Rongomaiwahine, Ngapuhi, Te Arawa, Ngāti Raukawa, Ngāti Porou and of course Waikato shared with us their aspirations and excitement of future careers in management and sustainability, public relations, economics, supply chain and strategy, accountancy, human resources and strategic management.  The kaupapa of their roopu is to encourage whakawhanaungatanga amongst all Māori management students through manaakitanga, awhi and tautoko. Their zest for their learning epitomized the meaning of mindfulness: “living your life as if it really mattered, moment by moment by moment by moment”.


Driving home tonight after a long week I couldn’t help but be struck by the awesome sight of the night sky; a landscape in the flames of a vibrant sunset.   Just five nights ago I had stood gazing in admiration at the super moon which brightened the night sky.   The supermoon of last Monday is the closest to the Earth until 2034.   It was indeed a sight for sore eyes.


It makes me think about the magnificence of the Māramataka – a calendar based on the nights of the moon .   The Maramataka marks the appearance of stars, bird and flowering plants; it depicts the warming of the earth; it is a powerful sign of the seasons and times.


Tirea – the new moon; good for fishing, eeling and crayfish.

Hoata: the moon is quite small.   A good day for planting.

Oturu: the full moon.   Not good for fishing or eeling but very good for planting.

Rākaunui: the moon begins to wane.


The natural wonders of our landscape remind us to hold hope – to remember that even though one day there will be hailstorms and snow, it won’t be long before the rays of sunlight light their way into our lives.  There is always another day ahead.


Luke EganComment