We've Got Your Back
This week, I was privileged to attend the Toi Tangata Hui a Tau at Te Wānanga o Raukawa in Otaki. My focus was on the connection between Whānau Ora and Toi Tangata -
The logo of Toi Tangata represents the pursuit of excellence, achieving the highest point in one’s life. The angle represents the highest point, maunga/whare/upoko, all core elements in the development of health, economic prosperity, academic excellence and community. It was a wonderful hui with people glowing in good health and sharing their great passion for activity, for fitness, for nutrition, health and wellness. One of the awards they presented was the “Whetu maiangi” award – an award which recognises someone with a contagious attitude of positivity who always applies themselves wholeheartedly toward the task at hand. Isn’t that just beautiful!
It was great to meet up again with Darcy Karaka who had previously been a participant in Te Pūtahitanga Hothouse in 2014. Everyone who attended that event has spoken of his enthusiasm for a kaupapa Māori approach to fitness – it is heartening to see him put that energy into his new role as Senior Lecturer (Pūkenga Matua) at Te Wānanga o Raukawa, based at Ngā Purapura.
One of the other keynote speakers was Dr Ihirangi Heke (Waikato/Tainui), a health and physical activity consultant, a sport psychologist, a motivational mentor for many. He speaks of atuatanga, environmentally based information, alongside of kaitiakitanga and tipua. His view is that when we enter events such as the recent Coast to Coast, we should always be cognizant of the maunga, the awa, the tupuna trails, the cultural narratives that shape the heritage of that land. Coast-to-Coast, a multi-sport 243 kilometre challenge leaves Kūmara Beach on the West Coast, crossing the main divide, and finishing on New Brighton Beach; areas steeped in stories of those who have travelled before us.
Thinking about the connections with the whenua, on Tuesday night it was wonderful to be at the final night of the Live the Dream showcase, in which the ten graduates pitched their ideas to an enthusiastic audience at the Town Hall. We were very proud of Keefe, whom Te Pūtahitanga had sponsored for the nine week programme.
It has been a pretty exciting week – with the opening at Omaka Marae in Blenheim of PĀ KIDS, a marae based kaupapa Māori programme.
The focus is on strengthening and nurturing cultural identity; the notion being that if your child is in, your whānau is in! At the pōwhiri this week, forty tamariki and matua attended. They now have two sessions per week and are at full capacity. Way to go Pa Kids!
Pa Kids is not the only thing happening at Omaka Marae. In fact one could ask what isn’t going on! This week, in line with the Pā Ora, Pā Wānanga initiative which is being supported by Te Putahitanga, they advertised for
- a Fitness Coordinator to assist with establishing a Marae based gym/sports initiative which focuses on and promotes kaupapa Maori healthy lifestyles;
- a project manager to investigate establishing a Maori medium School at Omaka Marae; an environment which is based on kaupapa Maori philosophies, pedagogies and values, where achieving is the expectation and our tamariki can succeed as Māori;
- and a Sales and Marketing Manager, to help to develop market and sell Maori inspired condiments that has been developed and made on the Marae.
Finally, as we move towards the fifth anniversary of the 22 February 2011 earthquakes in Canterbury our thoughts are with the whānau for whom next week will be a painful reminder of the tragedy that is forever etched in their hearts. During next week, the inaugural People in Disasters Conference 2016, will be held at The Air Force Museum 24-26 February 2016 in Christchurch. Have a look at some of the abstracts and see if there’s something for you.
What better way to end this blog than to see the smiling dial of Raniera Dallas, Whānau Ora Champion for Whenua Kura - a Ngāi Tahu led partnership between Te Tapuae o Rehua, Ngāi Tahu Farming and Lincoln University, which seeks to grow Māori leadership in agriculture. Te Pūtahitanga is really proud to support this great initiative which essentially is about leadership in life.
The thinking behind the tshirt – ‘I’ve got your back’ is simple yet profound: no matter the kaupapa, no matter the issues – we’re here for you; we will do what it takes, we will demonstrate the courage, the boldness, the strength that it takes to be a mate.