'Ditch the Average' : Ascend the Heights of Excellence

Last weekend our Taumata (iwi board) and General Partner Limited Board held a strategic hui at Ukaipo, the Rangitane Conference Centre at Grovetown.   

The first thing that struck us was the powerful symbolism of the Wairau River flowing as a carpet through the whare.  Te Putahitanga – an entity encompassing the convergence of the nine rivers, the nine iwi of Te Waipounamu – acknowledges the source of the Wairau which marks the rohe of Rangitane o Wairau.   

But there was something else that took our breath away when we first entered Ukaipo – and that was the sight of the signatures of all the uri (descendants) who so proudly bore witness to the Rangitane o Wairau Claims Settlement Act when it was enacted in 2014.   

Those signatures represented whakapapa in its full glory as well as reminding us all of another signature – that of their tupuna, rangatira Ihaia Kaikōura, who signed Te Tiriti o Waitangi on the 17th June, 1840, in Horahora-kākahu Island in Te Whanganui / Port Underwood.

Looking back over this week, it seems that everybody has had ‘their day’.



Sunday was Te Rā o Tamariki with fabulous festivities all over Te Waipounamu.

There was a Te Anau Playdate with Nature; Invercargill Children’s Day at the Fire-station; and Roxburgh’s Got Talent at Teviot Valley.  In Dunedin whānau went to “Big Little Day Out” and a Teddy Bears Picnic while over on the coast you could go to the Hokitika Family Carnival or Greymouth Children’s Day.  

From Rabbit Island, to Upper Moutere; to Selwyn and Spencerville, it’s great to see whānau celebrating the unique magic of our tamariki in so many wild and wonderful ways.

Te Rā o Tamariki, Spencer Park, Ōtautahi

Te Rā o Tamariki, Spencer Park, Ōtautahi

Midweek were the days for our wahine.  In Christchurch we had the pleasure and privilege of Ngāi Tahu champion, Sacha McMeeking as keynote speaker for the International Women’s Day Breakfast.   This year’s theme “Planet 50/50: Step it up for Gender Equality” was given fresh impetus by Sacha who encouraged us to ‘ditch the average’ (“averages are absurdities”); to be honest about who we are to unlock human potential; to own it and call it.  

Keynote speaker, Sacha McMeeking with Helen Leahy, and Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel at International Women’s Day

Keynote speaker, Sacha McMeeking with Helen Leahy, and Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel at International Women’s Day

It was an inspirational and moving tribute to the legacy of our inheritance from generations of women who have fought for the right to equality.   Sacha spoke with great feeling about our obligations not to squander that inheritance; to make the most of our opportunities.   And she reminded us all that in many whānau, domestic violence and sexual abuse may be only a memory away.  Powerful kōrero which demonstrated that Sacha was not only a girl who had been “utterly fearless on the bulrush field” but just as brave to say the things that matter.



The next night, over forty wahine gathered together at Kākano Café in Christchurch to hear inspirational speakers, while eating fresh and foraged nibbles at the Wahine Wednesday night.    It’s going to be a regular thing -  an inspirational speaker, great kai and a group of women to share it with.



Wednesday also saw the start of the Tāne Ora National Conference 2016 being held in Blenheim.  The theme, "Whakanuia ngā rangatira : Celebrating leadership” provided a perfect opportunity to recognise the outstanding contemporary leadership that champions the Tāne Ora kaupapa.   There were three themes to the hui: Tāne Tū : Strategy and Leadership; Tāne Kaha : Strengthen position of Tāne within our communities and Tāne Ora: Collective impact.   Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu sponsored ten rangatahi to attend the hui, as well as some of our Whānau Ora Navigators.  



The culmination of the hui will be the launch of the Tāne Ora Health and Wellbeing Indicator Tool.  Mana Tāne Ora o Aotearoa is committed to making a difference to Māori men’s health and wellbeing – promoting the vision that every whānau needs that grounding in Tāne Tū, Tāne Kaha, Tāne Ora.



And so we end the week, where we started, with our mokopuna, tamariki, rangatahi.


This week we celebrated the launch of the Mana Whenua Facilitators positions which are part of an exciting educational collaboration with the Ministry of Education and Mātauraka Mahaanui on behalf of Ngāi Tahu Papatipu Rūnanga in the greater Christchurch area.

With a vision of ‘Ekea te pae kahukura, Ascend the heights of excellence’, Mātauraka Mahaanui has a great journey ahead, and we congratulate Corban Te Aika and Dianne Collier on this fabulous opportunity.  You can email them at : mataurakamahaanui@gmail.com.

On Thursday 10th March we joined with the rangatahi at Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Te Whānau Tahi for the launching of Project Kāmehameha, research to inform design and delivery of career resources for Māori.  

Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Te Whānau Tahi is a great place for such a project to be launched.   Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu invests in an initiative run at the kura, Poipoia, which is a sustainable Māori education initiative initiated by whānau, for whānau.   Their focus is to empower whānau to be able to talk with their children about their learning, in reo Māori, while at the same time improve participation, engagement and achievement of students through enrichment and extension opportunities outside of school hours. 


The Kāmehameha research was really exciting.  It told us one thing loud and clear: rangatahi Māori have high aspirations; whānau have aspirations for their rangatahi.  There were some other really interesting insights into rangatahi thinking:

  • Rangatahi want us to broaden their worldview
  • Importance of defining and celebrating success
  • Career pathways in Te Ao Māori are thriving and on the rise
  • Careers as a lifelong journey
  • Walk the talk  - meet with people who live it not just say it.
Wharekura students at the launch of Project Kāmehameha

Wharekura students at the launch of Project Kāmehameha

Finally, we acknowledge the distinguished award won by Ngāi Tahu Holdings Allan Hickford who this week was declared Chief Financial Officer of the Year for 2016.  This is a great achievement which acknowledges the financial leadership of the iwi, and Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu wants to pay our tribute to the whānau, the hapū and the iwi who have enabled financial excellence to be right up there as one of their aspirations.  Ka mau te wehi!