To Plant a Garden is to believe in tomorrow

This week, Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu, has been mobilizing the power of the gardener, to focus on the living works of art being created around Te Waipounamu.   In our two day wānanga based at Kākano Café in Christchurch there was ample evidence that those who plant a garden, plant happiness.   


Attending the wānanga were whānau involved in our commissioned initiatives with the Maara Kai at Parerarua (Te Hauora o Ngāti Rarua, Blenheim); the Wānanga Taiao o Te Rūnanga o Koukourārata (Port Levy); one of our latest initiatives, Soul Full; the healthy lifestyle champions of Hale Compound Conditioning; coaches, researchers, whānau members.  

‘I just came for the pie’

During the two days, we climbed the mini buses to visit the maara kai site at Wai Ora Trust; at Lincoln University (Biological Husbandry Unit in conjunction with Te Rūnanga o Koukourārata) and to sit together, to smell the flowers, and discuss possibilities for collaboration.   While the business of growing food crops, and maximizing the potential of the whenua is pivotal in creating self-sufficiency, it is also about leading healthy lifestyles, valuing the tupuna heritage of seeds passed down throughout the generation; and it is about whānau working together to create their own livelihood into the future.

Hale Compound Conditioning visionaries, Korey and Manu Hale, at their maara kai at Wai Ora Trust

Hale Compound Conditioning visionaries, Korey and Manu Hale, at their maara kai at Wai Ora Trust

During the hui a couple of people walked off the street, and joined in on the kōrero.   

Eventually they revealed they had come for the titi pie that has been earning a reputation around the city!  During our brief conversation one thing led to another and we realized some points of connection – a weaving workshop this weekend, a focus on health and fitness, the possibilities of coming together with Te Wānanga o Aotearoa to focus on the wellbeing of whānau.

Essentially that was one of the takeout messages from the hui – take the time to listen, to observe, to literally smell the roses.  Dr Richard Hunter – twenty years in agricultural science – and champion for the Mara Oranga e Mara Kai project of Te Hauora o Ngāti Rarua – talked about looking at the plants that the birds like to devour – they will be the plants that are best to eat.  Read the signs of the land – check out which soils are susceptible to threat.   Silverbeet might only need a drink once a week – taewa require more care.   Sustainability is also about recycling –mulching up the oyster shells and kina and sprinkling them on the soils for the richest fertilizer.

Dr Richard Hunter, on the far left, sharing some of his secrets to a flourishing crop

Dr Richard Hunter, on the far left, sharing some of his secrets to a flourishing crop

The wānanga was a wonderful opportunity to engage in knowledge building; to share the opportunity to be seed-savers, to create opportunities for all our whānau to be nourished by kai which sustains the puku and is easy on the wallet.  Its about becoming forest-builders; engaging with the food chain from seed to plate, to focus on production, on preparation, and on succession planning.  Showing all our children the miracle of plants blooming under their careful watch.

While some of us in Ōtautahi were counting the days in which it takes to cultivate a great potato crop (apparently 110) there were Navigators, Coaches and whānau in Ōtepoti counting the wonders of 2-3-7.


And for those who have forgotten, 2-3-7- is code for a great way of reporting progress:….

  • 2 types of accountability (population and performance accountability)
  • 3 types of performance measures (how much did we do?  How well did we do it?  Is anyone better off?)
  • 7 questions from means to ends: baselines and turning the curve; to make life better for our whānau
Te Putahitanga training in RBA, Scenic Hotel, Dunedin

Te Putahitanga training in RBA, Scenic Hotel, Dunedin

Influencing Policy

You might have seen our submission earlier this week on substance addiction.  

Early notice now for free workshops on ‘influencing policy and making submissions’ in Christchurch 23 May and Wellington on 31 May.   If you want to register, email


Te Putahitanga Consultation Round

We started off the round for Wave Three commissioning at the Addington Co-op on Monday night.  Fabulous turnout; inspirational kōrero from Manaia Cunningham sharing the momentum from Te Rūnanga o Koukourārata; and palpable excitement about the three new rounds : Maara Kai; Whirinaki Fund/ Move our Motu and the Anahera Fund.

  • Monday 2 May, 4-8pm; Scenic Circle, Dunedin
  • Tuesday 3 May, 4-8pm, First on Windsor, Invercargill
  • Wednesday 4 May, 4-8pm, Quality Hotel
  • Monday 9 May, 4-8pm, Arahura Marae, Hokitika

Whirinaki Fund

Life is certainly moving with incredible pace.   Next week the Whirinaki Fund / Move our Motu wānanga is being held at Hagley Oval, 6-7th May.


Te Kākano o Te Totara Leadership Wānanga

Juxtaposed either side of “move our motu” is the leadership programme which starts off on 5th May at Tuahiwi Marae; takes part in the wānanga on 6-7th May, and then finishes off on the 8th May.


Leadership Begins at Home

To finish this week, leadership has been very much on my mind.  On Monday night I had the privilege of attending the Hinetitama Workshop at Spencer Park, where young wahine Māori learnt from their tuakana, their aunties, their kuia about self-development – te whare tangata; pūtake tū ōriori, safe relationships, protection, environment and behaviours.   There was something quite magical about four generations of a whānau focusing on strategies for wellbeing and strengthening one another to stay secure and confident in our own skin.

Taua Kiwa Hutchens with Ariana Mataki-Wilson at the Hinetitama Workshop

Taua Kiwa Hutchens with Ariana Mataki-Wilson at the Hinetitama Workshop

It must have been te hunga wairua at work, that the same four generations of whānau met with Tā Mark Solomon immediately before he made his announcement that he would not be seeking re-election as the Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu Representative for Kaikōura, recognising that this would result in his role as Kaiwhakahaere of Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu coming to an end.

Te Puna Oranga, one of our commissioned initiatives, came to present Tā Mark with their strategies and posters around effectively addressing violence within the whānau.  The taonga they presented Tā Mark with, the images enclosed within ‘Whakatōkia Te Kākano o te Haa’, are simple yet profound statements of faith in the ability of whānau to determine their own solutions; to focus on the positive; to plan from a position of strength.   


It was entirely appropriate, therefore, that as we greeted the announcement from Tā Mark with a range of feelings, we could also feel inspired and mobilised to honour and acknowledge the leadership of whānau; a powerful statement that represents so much of the vision that Tā Mark has led with, Mō tātou, ā, mō kā uri ā muri ake nei – for us and our children after us.