It takes the courage of champions to create the wave of change

This week we have been hot on the Tū Pono trail; attending hui in Invercargill and Hokitika; celebrating inspiration in the workforce; and having our monthly Board hui where the Board reviews our progress and checks out whether we are meeting the highest expectations they hold for Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu.


On Tuesday night, our rangatahi from Te Pā o Rakaihautu came back to Te Pūtahitanga and presented the fruits of their work.  Their challenge – set by Māui Studios and Iwinet (Digital Natives Aotearoa) was to create caricatures and logos which represented their unique character.  Understanding our own unique potential is critical to knowing our potential to apply for jobs and to eventually win a role.


Congratulations to Italy (the Nurturer); Te Rangitaunaha (The Protector); Faith (the Mastermind); Anahira (the Counsellor); Hineamaru (the Big Thinker) and Oraka (the Go Getter).


It was great to have Māori Television coming into our offices this week and showing the rangatahi in action; and promoting the Maia series of videos which feature our own Whenua Kura.  Have a look at what happens down on the farm….


Tū Pono

The roadshow this week ventured into the far South at Te Toimairangi Marae and then across to Tuhuru marae, in the land of Ngāti Waewae.

At Te Tomairangi we held our hui in a site that “reminds us that the spirit of the people, rose again, like a phoenix from the flames”.  This was a marae which was burnt to the ground in 2005, all that remained was one carving which was lovingly restored and now takes pride of place in the whare, reminding all who come through its doors of the history that helps define our kōrero.


The kōrero that came out of the hui reinforced the amazing solutions that can emerge, out of a place of absolute pain; and the desperate call for change.  We heard how one marae starts every hui reading their code of conduct, to ensure their behaviour is ‘mana-enhancing’.  There was a call for the kōrero to be had on the paepae; teaching our babies about the special respect for te whare tangata.


The kōrero continued the next day in the beauty of Tuhuru, the tupuna whare at Arahura in Hokitika.   Tā Mark stood up and shared his story with characteristic courage and the ultimate spirit of bravery, when you can talk about your own truth, your fears and failures, your disappointments and your despair.   In fact so moving was his kōrero that I’m sure I heard someone in the whare confide to her mate, “I should have married him!”.


Tā Mark talked about his wife, Maria, sending out a message to adults at a party – “no child will be left behind tonight”; sweeping up the tamariki and making sure they were safe and free from harm.  He shared the strategy of a neighbour who took down the numbers of registration plates that she didn’t recognize when they drove down the street.  Or the feisty little Pākehā lady who would march next door and confront her neighbour’s husband when things got out of hand “you want to hit someone, you hit me”.   


The Hon Dame Tariana Turia shared her love and life lessons, talking about the need to show some forgiveness and compassion; while also never, ever accepting that violence is part of our reality.  She told us we must be brave enough to have this conversation in every one of our homes.  We have to be fearless; to take our whānau with us.


There was some beautiful kōrero throughout the day: be active fathers; have courageous conversations; start every hui with a safety briefing – this is what we do in a fire, please be aware we are a violence free marae – we do not shout at or hurt each other.   The whānau set out a challenge: let’s overhaul the judicial system, reintroduce Sunday dinners, open the doors, pull down the fences.

Dame Tariana and Luana Harrison, in the warmth of the marae at Arahura, Hokitika

Dame Tariana and Luana Harrison, in the warmth of the marae at Arahura, Hokitika



Hangaia Te Urupounamu Pāngarau Mō Tātou

Another special occasion this week was to attend an event celebrating the gift that has grown out of the James Stewart Loper Bequest in the form of a resource, Hangaia Te Urupounamu Pāngarau Mō Tātou.


Ngāi Tahu Kaumatua and respected educational psychologist, Laurie Loper has made a bequest to honour the life and memory of James Stewart Loper through transformative, inclusive, evidence-based action focussed on Māori learners.  Shirley Primary School is reaching for the star in every student in that school and has as its vision Whaia te iti Kahurangi - enabling students to be risk takers, resilient, responsible , numerate, active thinkers and contributors.  Together they have co-created an opportunity to inspire mathematical inquiry through active conversations between tamariki, whānau and the wider community.


It was a privilege to witness Laurie Loper and Hohepaturanga Briggs gifting a taonga on behalf of Ngāi Tahu ki Tauranga Moana to Shirley primary children and whānau.  The Minister of Education, Hon Hekia Parata, gave a passionate address about the significance of a legacy of education – inspiring all of our children to want for more, to dream for the stars, to know they have been born into greatness.



I had the privilege of being a backseat passenger in the drive across the Arthurs Pass to the Coast, as a Knight and a Dame shared conversations.   Whaea Tariana talked about the last time she had crossed the Otira Gorge where she had been so petrified of the heights that she had virtually sat on the floor of the car, rather than look at the perilous view outside.   Yet despite her fear, she willingly put herself back in a vehicle that would traverse that same landscape, in her determination to support Tā Mark and the campaign of courage she believed he was inspiring.


It takes the courage of champions to create the wave of change that is represented in the opportunity created by Tū Pono; Te Mana Kaha o Te Whānau.  And it takes faith - faith to feel the dawn before it rises; to see far past the fog and into the horizons and to know there is a brighter day ahead. Courage and faith to face the truth, to see beyond the pain and fear, and know that all of our whānau are worth it.  That’s Whānau Ora in action.


Don’t miss out…..only two weeks to go till the Symposium of all Symposium!!!


It’s going to be so exciting.   We can’t wait to see the magic of Whānau Ora whether it’s expressed in Motueka or Murihiku; whether it’s in a café or a clinic, the whānau home or the marae, or along the tupuna trails that help us to recreate history and understand the essence of who we are.   There are going to be some great speakers, some beautiful organic kai, some stimulating kōrero, MPs, mums and dads, nannies and koro, mokopuna, cousins, company directors, entrepreneurs and entertainers, Board members and kapa haka fanatics, fitness freaks and iwi leaders.   It’s all about us – Te Aho Mutunga Kore; The Eternal Thread.


Next week : Te Pūtahitanga is in Temuka – 1pm Tuesday 28 June; at the Temuka Alpine Energy Lounge.  Come see us and catch up on what’s happening with your Whānau Ora Commissioning Agency.


Luke EganComment