The Fresh Prince of Whirinaki

From the passion and wonder of Whakarewarewa to the crisp still air of an Invercargill night, this week Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu has been doing the miles, in our mission to share the news about the three new investment funds:  Maara Kai; Whirinaki Fund and the Anahera Fund.


Reporting to the iwi

The week started off at Te Āwhina Marae in Motueka, where Te Rā presented our report on all the activities we have been doing to the iwi chair forum for Te Waipounamu, Te Waka a Māui. That was followed up immediately with the national Iwi Chairs Forum in  Whakarewarewa (Rotorua) which I attended as part of our regular session on the iwi leaders agenda.   


Reporting back to the iwi is really important to us.   First off – it is our iwi that stood tall in 2013 and stated they would put in a bid for the South Island Whānau Ora Commissioning Agency.  So wherever we go, we acknowledge the vision and the solidarity of Te Atiawa, Rangitane, Ngāti Kuia, Ngāti Koata, Ngāti Toa Rangatira, Ngāi Tahu, Ngāti Tama, Ngāti Apa-ki te Rā To, Ngāti Rarua.  But it is also important in these days of accountability and transparency, that we are answerable to the iwi first, to be guided by their aspirations.


Three new investment rounds

This week has also been a massive hikoi through Invercargill, Dunedin, and Te Tau Ihu in continuing our investment hui, to provide a forum for whānau to find out a bit more about the funding and the motivation behind it.

Part of the hui has involved a ‘line-up’ in which everyone was required to pitch their dreams in two minutes.   That’s harder than it sounds!   Your lifetime dream squashed into 120 seconds!

It has been so fabulous to see the energy that Whānau Ora is generating around Te Waipounamu.   Look at these smiles of the people who gathered at the Quality Inn at Nelson.

Whirinaki Fund / Move Our Motu

On 6 October 1943, a waiata was performed at the Ngarimu Memorial in Ruatoria, to pay tribute to the memory of Lieutenant Moana-Nui-a-Kiwa Ngarimu, who had been awarded the Victoria Cross for bravery, determination and outstanding leadership.


That waiata, E Te Hokowhitu-a-Tū, reflects on the bravery Lieutenant Colonel Charles Bennett had recalled of Ngarimu:  “Displaying courage and leadership of the highest order, he was himself first on the hill crest, personally annihilating at least two enemy machine gun posts”.    Although wounded in the shoulder and one leg, he insisted on staying with his men.


It is that spirit of courage and collective determination that we are drawing on in the Whirinaki Fund.   As in the waiata,  “Whirinaki, whirinaki Tātou katoa; Kia kotahi rā”, Depend, depend
each upon the other and stand together as one.

Our fight for health and fitness, for survival of the people, is worthy of our most dedicated boldness of spirit, that fearless pursuit of wellbeing that will see us living longer, stronger, healthier, happier.  Together, as whānau.

Over the course of two days we have had three keynote speakers: Gilbert Enoka from the All Blacks management team, his field is performance enhancement.  Heather Skipworth – the founder of Iron Maori and Dallas Seymour, former All Black and NZ Sevens Player.


The focus on the wānanga is to develop great ideas for getting whānau moving; to share the passion about their inspiration in working with their whānau, whether that be for hīkoi on the land; for urban hīkoi; for waka ama; for whānau gym time.   It’s about working with those whānau members amongst us that some describe as vulnerable; and building on their strengths to start a movement for change.   We had everyone from young and old, short and tall, fit and not-quite-so fit!

And of course it’s not just about elite sports – it’s about dance and movement and activity of all types that gets the blood rushing, and the feet tapping,  including these five fresh five Prince of Bel Air lookalikes….

Finally, for all our mothers, Taua, Nannys, Aunties, mums-to-be: have a beautiful day on Sunday.   You are the heartbeat of our whānau; your presence in our lives is the touchstone that we look to for our confidence, our courage, our sense of purpose.   We celebrate you, we pay tribute to your life of sacrifice and devotion, and we treasure you not just on Mother’s Day but every day, for now and evermore.