Another happening week in Whānau Ora

This week has been a hectic week of busy-ness on the business of Whānau Ora.


In moments of chaos, these photos from ‘Hikoi Waewae’, sharing the peace and tranquillity of Carews Fall in Te Tai Poutini are like a cool, calm source of sustenance to remind us how ‘ora’ is intimately linked to our connection to our environment.   

The rivers of Te Tai Poutini seem a long way from Lambton Quay, where I spent a few days this last week.  

The discussions were ambitious: Moving the Maori Nation; Investing in New Zealand’s children and families; the future and potential of Whānau Ora.   At the heart of all the korero was the need to be ‘child-centred within the context of whānau’.  It is an important principle of belief.   So many of our waiata reflect the question:  If you were to pluck out the centre of the flax bush, where would the bellbird sing?

Te pa harakeke provides a philosophical context for understanding ‘child-centred’.   The outer layers of the flaxbush are our extended whānau, the inner leaves our parents; and the heart of the flaxbush – the rito – is our children, safe, protected and nurtured within the warmth of their whānau.   The loss of any one layer leaves all the other layers also vulnerable.  It is not just vulnerable children: it is vulnerable whānau.

The beautiful Emily-joy Lilley, of Hikoi Waewae

The beautiful Emily-joy Lilley, of Hikoi Waewae

Public Health Champions

On Friday I spoke at the future of public health symposium at Te Wharewaka in Wellington about the power and potential of whānau.


Our greatest opportunity and challenge lies in creating and fiercely protecting the optimum environment for whānau to restore themselves to the essence of who they are; to believe they are their own best strategists and design thinkers; and to do everything possible to plant the seeds of change by investing in champions; promoting courage and identifying the advocates and agents of change that will shape a future we can all be proud to be part of

The symposium was also an opportunity to honour the 2016 Public Health Champions: Anna Reed (Christchurch) and Catherine Healy (Founder of the New Zealand Prostitutes Collective.  Both women have spent close to thirty years advocating for safer, healthier, stronger environments for the rights of sex workers; as well as making a unique contribution to broader public health debate in sexual health and HIV and AIDS.


Catherine Healy, Helen Leahy and Anna Reed    

Catherine Healy, Helen Leahy and Anna Reed


At the same event, Metiria Turei was honoured with the Tu Rangatira mo te Ora award.  In accepting the award, Metiria acknowledged the inaugural recipient of the award, Hon Dame Tariana Turia; as well as the thousands of women who have been public health advocates in the wider arena; in homes and communities.   


Adrian Te Patu, from the Public Health Association with Metiria Turei, Tu Rangatira mo te Ora    

Adrian Te Patu, from the Public Health Association with Metiria Turei, Tu Rangatira mo te Ora





Te Pāpori o Whakatere – Incubator Agenda

On Friday, the ongoing incubator wananga of some of our whānau based entities continued at the University of Canterbury - Te Whare Wānanga o Waitaha.   There were a wide range of issues covered during an action packed day:

  • Where law and business meet

  • Risk mitigation

  • Working session on ACC

  • Insurance

  • Policies and procedures

  • Strategic plan



Co-ordinating Collaboration in Kaikoura


This week Te Ra Morris and Karl Waretini returned to Kaikoura with a focus on enterprise planning workshops with Lorraine Hawke; Riria Allen and then a group – in the photo, identified as Hau Kainga.   Under the shade of veranda between the whare at Takahanga marae the collective energy was re-invigorated through the discussion – as evidenced in the workshop outcome and result sheets. Whānau walked away feeling inspired and a clear sense of direction to think about before returning to the next hui on 18th November.


1000 Days in So many Ways

On Wednesday our sharp-as negotiating team spent an exciting hour with the Minister for Social Development, Hon Anne Tolley.  The team consisted of Aimee Kaio and Prue Halstead from the 1000 Days Trust; Hana O’Regan, General Manager Oraka for Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu and Dr Vili Soututu, Executive member of the Pasifika Medical Association; and community paediatrician, and myself.  We had a great discussion and it was exciting to see the iwi, the clinical and the local all singing the same song.  Minister Tolley was really interested and engaged in what will it take to keep all our babies well and thriving.




Rangatahi Tumeke in the Catlins

At the 2016 Public Health Association symposium, the digital story of Rangatahi Tumeke was launched.

Rangatahi Tumeke aims to transfer traditional mahinga kai (traditional ways of gathering and cooking kai) knowledge and build cultural pride through rangatahi camps, tourism, and the connection to whakapapa and whenua.  The Rangatahi Tumeke whānau have aspirations for future development and developing a sustainable business. They have successfully gained funding to develop a marketing plan, for research, a web page and for a project manager to continue business development. The Catlin’s has significant untapped potential and as manawhenua living on their turangawaewae they hope to create a sustainable intergenerational business that reflects their passion for the whenua, moana and ngahere.

Check out the video here


Sexual Violence


As part of the Ministerial Group on Family Violence and Sexual Violence, consultation is occurring around Te Waipounamu.   The sexual violence prevention workstream is focusing on reducing duplication of services; moving away from ad hoc funding; working towards an investment criteria; and greater visibility, reach, consistency and coverage of programmes and initiatives.


Primary prevention involves changing attitudes, behaviours, and social norms at a population level to increase factors that provide protection from violence, and decrease risk factors to prevent violence from ever happening.


This week we have obviously been stalking Hana O’Regan!! Captured here at the sexual violence prevention hui on Friday, our navigator co-ordinator, Maire Kipa and policy analyst, Alice Matheson

This week we have obviously been stalking Hana O’Regan!! Captured here at the sexual violence prevention hui on Friday, our navigator co-ordinator, Maire Kipa and policy analyst, Alice Matheson



Tu Pono : Te Mana Kaha o Te Whanau

The sexual violence hui followed directly on from a workshop to evaluate the effectiveness of the Integrated Safety Response pilot.   Held in the Aranui Community Centre in Christchurch, the hui looked at how to address the complex issues around services and support for perpetrators to address their attitudes and behaviours; how to create opportunities for healing; how to inspire a renewed focus on whānau.   There were representatives of Nga Maata Waka, Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu, Te Puna Oranga, Te Whare Oranga, manuhiri from Te Whakaruruhau Waikato Women’s Refuge, NZ Police, researchers and evaluators and many others.



Last Words

This week, our eldest daughter graduated from high school.  The parting words from the Year 13 Dean are worth repeating: ‘Be bold enough to use your voice, brave enough to listen to your heart, and strong enough to live the life you’ve always imagined’.


Next week

  • Judge Andrew Becroft, Commissioner for Children, is speaking at the Christchurch Bridge Club on Tuesday 8 November, leading a conversation about placing children at the centre of our thinking.    RSVP to


Luke EganComment