A gypsy at heart

We are all wanderers on this earth. Our hearts are full of wonder and our souls are deep with dreams
— Gypsy proverb

When I was a new teenager, I remember being desperate to get my ears pierced.   Every other girl at school (Wairarapa College) was so endowed, and I was surely the only 13 year old in history without a pair of sleepers or studs to my name.


My mother’s response was that ‘only gypsies wear earrings’.


It was a retort that wore no weight with me.   To be a gypsy – to travel the globe and be in awe of the incredible things people do with their lives seemed to be a pretty good aspiration!   


Sometimes, I feel like that dream has come true –that I’m lucky enough to be in the business of “wonder ora”.  


Wonder Ora: Awarua Developments

And nowhere is that look of wonder more evident than in the bright eyes of the whānau at Te Rau Aroha Marae and of Awarua Rūnanga.


This week we are so proud to launch our latest digital story:


For over thirty years the whānau of Awarua have been seeking new ways to benefit their marae, whanau and community.   They came to Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu with a focus for succession planning; nurturing a new generation of leaders to be supported in a variety of key areas such as governance, project management and financial management.


So they set out with us in April 2015, seeking to develop a road map to guide community development.   Membership of an Awarua Developments steering group was opened up to the entire Awarua database to get a range of skills and knowledge.   Over four workshops a strategy and a road map detailing a seven-year plan was developed. Another five hui followed to decide which three of their suite of project ideas they would pursue first.   The projects ranged from tourism, eco ventures, skin products, a café, sports programmes and mahinga kai. While it was a significant time commitment for whanau with full time employment and tamariki to attend the workshops and complete the follow up activities, they found the hui invigorating and fun.



Some of the crew of Awarua Developments at Te Rau Aroha marae in Bluff

Some of the crew of Awarua Developments at Te Rau Aroha marae in Bluff

Currently, the priorities of Awarua Development have been in two key projects: one an activity that would engage rangatahi; another utilising the resources of the local area.


Scavenger City: The vision is to create a container city arena that will host different types of structured gaming. Many tourists come to town but most only stay for a very short time. The project team wants to create a reason for tourists to visit and stay and are developing their activity to market to a younger age group


Oyster Exfoliate: The second project arose as the whanau looked at the resources of the local area. The whanau identified that in their own community discarded oyster shells were used for chicken feed, to pave driveways and to fill in potholes in the roads. The project team set about creating a range of nutraceuticals with a marine base including an exfoliate, night creams and day creams.


Have a look at their story in progress:  it’s excitement in action!

From the vast landscape of Bluff to the urban jungle of Christchurch it has been great to see the Maara Kai Project being undertaken at Ngā Hau e Whā Marae.

All of the whānau members involved in the initiative are viewed as a valuable resource and have a voice in programme planning, development and implementation, understanding what they are doing is highly important.   There is an emphasis on proactive behaviour where everyone is so keen on giving to others - “Manaakitanga”.  

Whānau members are invited to harvest a basket of food for their personal use, cooking tips are shared and future gardening dreams flourish. The concept of Whānau Ora is about supporting Māori whānau to achieve their maximum health and wellbeing – and as the whānau uncover their gardening potential, it is great to see the new landscape appear in front of their eyes.

Oranga Tamariki

While other things were happening at the Beehive this week, new legislation was introduced for the Children, Young Persons and their Families (Oranga Tamariki) Bill.


New purposes in the Bill also recognise mana tamaiti (tamariki), whakapapa, and

whanaungatanga of Māori children and young persons, and promote approaches that

support capability building at a whānau level.   The bIll promotes a child-centred approach that is “culturally authentic and successful in delivering improved outcomes for Māori children, young persons and whānau”.


There is a really significant new responsibility introduced in that the Bill broadens and clarifies the duties on the chief executive to provide a practical commitment to the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi. This is a major development.   By requiring measurable outcomes to be set for Māori children and young persons who come to the attention of the Ministry, and reporting publicly on those measures on an annual basis, the new duties explicitly recognise and reinforce accountability for the system’s impact on Māori children and young persons.


Strategic Partnerships with iwi are also emphasized.  The duties also provide a requirement to seek to develop strategic partnerships with iwi and Māori organisations to contribute to setting and achieving these expectations and targets. Strategic partnerships that are developed will seek to enable innovation, information exchange, opportunities for delegation of functions, and provision and review of guidance to support cultural competency as a best practice feature of the responsible department’s workforce.

Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu is really interested in your views.  Have a read on the bill and let’s start talking together.


Let’s hear it for our navigators


The Navigator Team on Tetramap training at the Antarctic Centre earlier this year

The Navigator Team on Tetramap training at the Antarctic Centre earlier this year

I just wanted to publicly acknowledge the heroic efforts of our Whānau Ora Navigators who have gone way beyond the call of duty since the earthquakes of 14th November.   Those who are most effected in Kaikōura, Ward, Seddon, Hurunui and other areas are immersed in the daily anxieties of being unware of financial support entitlements, being uncertain about employment or future housing, the tensions of whānau under pressure; the stress of poor communication hindering decisions.  Our Navigator team are helping to work through some of these challenges, one by one, while still trying to think of the bigger plan that each of their whānau deserve to hold uppermost in their thoughts.


Since the earthquakes first struck, we have an additional and new 133 whānau who have registered with Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu.   They are our greatest priority in helping to sort through the myriad of issues facing us in the Recovery project.


Wānanga at Rāpaki

Nau mai tauti mau e aku nui, e aku rahi, he karanga tenei ki nga uri o Wheke ki tenei kaupapa kawe korero.

Wananga tamariki series is open for registration targeted towards decendants of Ngati Wheke who would like to know more about Rapaki and the surrounding area. ...

Please register via this link




Finally, in spirit of Christmas, a couple of shots from our team representing at the Ngāi Tahu Christmas Party held out at Lincoln.  The night was a nineties theme so we had every character imaginable: the Fresh Prince; Spice Girls, Wiggles, Edward Scissorhands and the hedge (won the best couple award – the hedge was made of fresh leaves!); Tellytubbies; Beetlejuice; the Slash, Xena Warrior Princess; the Adams Family, Britney Spears, Queen Vic and Hato Paora alumni…you name it, the nineties rocked last night!

Luke Egan2 Comments