The long term vision, super power babies and budget announcements!

When I was in Timaru a couple of weeks ago at the South Canterbury Primary Health Care Symposium, I came across the most beautiful book, the Super Power Baby Project.   The book features the most dazzling portraits of children with chromosomal and genetic conditions, taken by photographer Rachel Callander.


The wonderful aspect of the project is that Rachel asks each whānau to identify the ‘super power’ that their baby possesses.  Each child is revealed as bringing out special gifts in their family – teaching and inspiring them to see the world through new ideas.

 Photography by Rachel Callander, Super Power Baby Project

Photography by Rachel Callander, Super Power Baby Project

On the way to TImaru, we stopped at Rakaia where we met a fabulous group of mothers, who were also passionate about the super powers of their babies.   These women constitute REACH – a registered charity fund-raising for research into child cancer.  They are going to be at the Palms Mall in Christchurch, today Saturday 28 May, between 11am-2pm.    It’s a “hair-raising” event in front of K-Mart where you can get a full head shave; a crazy hair-do or simply wear a gold ribbon in your hair.

  Hon Dame Tariana Turia at Rakaia with the REACH team

Hon Dame Tariana Turia at Rakaia with the REACH team

Rakaia has been in our minds following the week in which Rakaia – Tahu a Tao was crowned the winner of the Ahuwhenua Awards in Hamilton.  The whānau who own this farm near Ashburton have a long and proud history dating back to 1886.  Now that’s succession planning in action!


For the first time in its 83 year history, a Te Waipounamu farm won the prestigious Ahuwhenua Trophy BNZ Māori Excellence in Farming Award dairy.

“Kingi Smiler, Ahuwhenua Trophy Management Committee Chairman, says Rakaia Incorporation have huge local support behind them and they had a wonderful story to tell about the history of the farm and told it beautifully. He says the story relates to how they had taken back control of their lands after suffering through the colonisation process. He says the decision to convert the land to dairying was a brave one at the time and there is now a great sense of pride amongst the whānau about what they have achieved and the way they have done this”.   


We had a great night at the Ahuwhenua awards in support of Rakaia – Tahu a Tao; Ngāi Tahu Farming (Top 3), Ash Campbell (Runner up Young Māori Farmer), and Westport’s Jack Raharuhi from Ngāti Kāhu who was crowned the 2016 Ahuwhenua Young Māori dairy farmer of the year.

As we think about success, it has been really inspiring to see all the photos flooding Facebook, with those whānau members who are graduating this week and wearing the pride of their whānau well with every step they take.  There is something so special about being able to celebrate the hard work, the commitment and the dedication of students who advance through their course of study and achieve a tohu to signify the efforts made.

  Congratulations to Te Huaki Puanaki and Rochelle Paki in graduating this week with a degree in Māori Performing Arts

Congratulations to Te Huaki Puanaki and Rochelle Paki in graduating this week with a degree in Māori Performing Arts

Next week I will be taking a trip to Blenheim to visit with the rangatahi at Tiramarama Mai, which is all about preparing our young people for success.  One of the wonderful features of this initiative is the recognition that there are different ways of learning which can still be just as significant in paving a pathway to future opportunities.  Tiramarama Mai works on the premise of encouraging exposure to te reo me ona tikanga Māori practices all within an accelerated learning environment.

It seems absolutely appropriate to be returning to Marlborough the week after receiving the news that Whānau Ora funding will increase, following Budget 2016.  Tiramarama Mai was the first official launch that Te Ururoa Flavell attended as a new Minister for Whānau Ora.   He had been really impressed at the enthusiasm and the momentum that had come together through Te Rūnanga o Ngā Maata Waka ki te Tau Ihu.   I am sure those rangatahi were on his mind this week when he said, “the demand for Whānau Ora is growing as more whānau seek to take control of their own lives.  It is clear from my visits and engagements across the country that the success of Whānau Ora is driving demand and this additional funding will support the Commissioning Agencies to meet the need.”

Also happening next week are four strategic hui called by the Whānau Ora Iwi Leaders Group to gain an understanding of what our experience of Whānau Ora is like in the South.  If you want to go along and share your view – and I really encourage you to do so! – here are the dates and venues:

  • Monday 30 May, 10am-12pm; Christchurch, Te Whare o Te Waipounamu, 15 Show Place
  • Tuesday 31 May, 10am-12pm, Dunedin, Scenic Hotel, Southern Cross, 118 High Street
  • Tuesday 31 May, 3-5pm, Invercargill, Ascot Park Hotel, cnr Tay St and Racecourse Road
  • Wednesday 1 June, 10.30am-12.30pm; Hokitika, the Beachfront Hotel, 111 Revell Street.

Finally – as the countdown to 31 May advances – please don’t leave it too late to register your application for Wave Three of Whānau Ora funds.  Let’s see your whānau become the motivation for strengthening the super powers within your sight!

And in case you were wondering – yes – there’s even a Whānau Ora element to milk.   Maania Farrar and I marveling at the base of Miraka  - “nurturing our world”.   Miraka has an inter-generational commitment to the business, it lives its values, kaitiakitanga, whanaungatanga, tikanga is synonymous with the Miraka brand.   It’s all about the long term vision – and that’s Whānau Ora!