Travelling the Southern Roads

This week saw me swept up in the beauty of the Mataura, travelling the Southern roads to Bluff for an incredible community wide hui in the vibrant beauty of Te Rau Aroha marae.   While the winds and rains roared outside, there was a sizable gathering of whānau, community supporters, local residents who came to hear the story of the Awarua Hub.


Terina and Danielle Stockwell at the Awaura Rūnanga hui in Te Rau Aroha marae, Bluff

Terina and Danielle Stockwell at the Awaura Rūnanga hui in Te Rau Aroha marae, Bluff

The Whānau Ora initiative being pioneered by Awarua has eight long term goals:

  1. To maximize cultural, social and eco-tourism opportunities

  2. To have a rongoā based pharmaceutical and cosmetics micro industry

  3. To have opportunities in farming and fishing (including aquaculture)

  4. To have a centre of excellence, research centre and aquarium

  5. To have a community and youth centre with a sporting arena

  6. To have an aged care and retirement centre that provides respite care

  7. To have a rejuvenated tourism and retail centre

  8. To have specialist tertiary education and training.


Jason Harrison explaining the broader project plan

Jason Harrison explaining the broader project plan


On Monday night two particular initiatives were launched.   The first was Scavenger City.   The goal is to target 25-40 year old males to attract them to Bluff to take part in a competitive, interactive, time-limited, real game experience, based in the former Landfill.   The team have acquired great support from the local Council, the Bluff Community Council, Bluff tourism – and the wider public.


Tyrone Strongman explaining the concept of Scavenger City.

Tyrone Strongman explaining the concept of Scavenger City.

The second current initiative is marine cosmetics based on the humble oyster shell.   All in all a wonderfully inspiring night of innovation and passion.


On Tuesday we had our final of the six regional conversations that have taken place under the mantle of Tū Pono: Te Mana Kaha o Te Whānau.   Early on in the hui, Tania Mataki shared with us the five winning ways to wellbeing: to be present, to be connected, to be active, to learn something different and to take notice.   Great inspiration for a hui of honesty, courage and creativity.


Helen Leahy (Te Pūtahitanga); Superintendent Tusha Penny (Police); Ariana Mataki-Wilson (Te Whare Hauora); 16 year old shining star, Cheyenne Aiono and in front the legendary Aunty Kiwa Hutchens at Tū Pono in Dunedin.

Helen Leahy (Te Pūtahitanga); Superintendent Tusha Penny (Police); Ariana Mataki-Wilson (Te Whare Hauora); 16 year old shining star, Cheyenne Aiono and in front the legendary Aunty Kiwa Hutchens at Tū Pono in Dunedin.

The hui maintained the high standard of kōrero and challenge, to lift the lid on the secrets of violence; to be there for our tamariki - mai te tīmata, mai te mutunga.  We heard about one couple who follow the ‘eyes on’ policy.  At every hui they take their children with them one of them will be charged with keeping an eye on where their kids are and with whom.  Another talked about being the poutokomanawa for her whānau – taking the mokopuna home with her rather than allowing them to be around alcohol.


Cheyenne Aiono with Tā Mark Solomon

Cheyenne Aiono with Tā Mark Solomon

Tā Mark concluded the hui with the challenge: we will be back to see what you have done, what difference has been made, how we keep our families safe and well.  It is a great opportunity to stand up, speak out and create a better safer future for all our families.


I then made the trip from Dunedin to Hawkes Bay to witness the talents on fire from 39 kapa haka groups from over 400 secondary schools throughout Aotearoa.   Te Waipounamu was well represented by the passionate performances of:

  • Te Kapa Haka o Te Toi Huarewa: comprising Te Whānau Tahi, Christchurch Boys High and Hornby High School of Christchurch.   Established in 2015, the group was formed to provide experience and opportunity to rangatahi living in Waitaha and to instil in them the tikanga and values of te ao Māori.  This year’s competition will be the first time the majority of the group’s performers have tested their kapa haka skills at the national level.

  • Te Wharekura o Arowhenua: Established in 1998, Te Whare Kura o Arowhenua represents Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Arowhenua.

  • Te Rourou Kura (Te Tau Ihu and Te Waka a Māui).   Established in 2004, Te Rourou Kura is a combined secondary school team based in Nelson and affiliates with all iwi and marae from Te Tauihu o te Waka ō Māui.

  • He Waka Kotuia.   He Waka Kōtuia from Te Waipounamu is a combination of King’s High School and Queen’s High School, and are affiliated to Kāi Tahu, Kāi Te Ruahikihiki and Kāi Te Pahi.


It was a remarkable festival of talent and meaning.    There were waiata paying tribute to Whaea Tariana Turia; there were many waiata tangi honouring loved ones and leaders lost over the last year; there was a consistent focus on rangatiratanga, on mana motuhake; the dialect of Kāi Tahu featured strongly; the roopu tautoko across Te Waipounamu was humbling as our schools rose to tautoko each other – Maraka Maraka!


The tragic circumstances around homelessness; the versatility of Te Aute and Hato Paora boys-on-poi; the harmonies, the acrobatic physicality, the strength and above all passion of our rangatahi was unbelievably inspiring.  Our future is in good hands.


Finally, the week ended on a high with two of our staff attending a wānanga in Blenheim where Professor Mason Durie and Rangimarie Naida Glavish shared their stories, strategies and skills around Whānau Ora.   


The Marlborough Children’s Team, Nelson Marlborough District Health Board, Te Hauora o Ngati Rarua, Te Runanga o Rangitane ki Wairau and Te Putahitanga ki te Waipounamu, came together to offer Marlborough children’s workforce, and staff of Iwi/ Maori organisations a unique opportunity to share in their wisdom.


Professor Mason Durie (July, 2014)

Professor Mason Durie (July, 2014)




Some ideas around Whānau Ora Commissioning for whānau from Professor Durie:

  • Whānau@Home recognises the importance of relationships between whānau members.  Whānau@Home is about inter-generational ties, current lives, and future aspirations
  • Whānau@Māori recognises the heritage, culture, whakapapa, and other connections that link whānau to te ao Māori
  • Whānau@Large recognises that whānau live in communities and are integral members of wider society.


Finally, if you want to fall in love, burst with pride, get mobilised and motivated – please have a look at our fabulous kapa haka roopu from Te Waipounamu – those rangatahi truly make us all proud.   Ngā mihi nunui ki a koutou, ngā rangatahi ngā rangatira mō āpōpō.


Luke EganComment