Life is a process and our journey is to solve its problems

The blaze of lupins at Birdling Flat is deceptively alluring.   How can something so beautiful threaten our environment?  Yet the hard-coated seeds can be spread for miles, having the capacity to strangle other plant life in their wake, much like the more commonly known broom.

Little did I know when we went walking at Waiwera in the weekend that it would be an image that would return to me during this week.   Christchurch played host to an international conference on sexual violence against men and boys.   The last time such a conference took place in Aotearoa was twenty years ago.   It was almost as if what is not talked about does not exist.

One of the themes discussed at the hui was that often young men are ‘groomed’; flattered with compliments, given opportunities that made them feel special (such as driving a car); given gifts and affection.   Yet underneath the ‘gloss’, lurked danger.

The forum smashed through many commonly held myths, such as that:

  • Boys and men can’t be victims

  • Most sexual abuse of boys is perpetrated by homosexuals

  • boys who are sexually abused go on to bite or sexually abuse others (the Vampire Syndrome).

I would get home from karate lessons, after the ‘additional lessons’ that none of the other 13 year boys would get, and would brush my teeth till it bled, so that I could wash it away.  I went from being a 13 year old A student, to taking up alcohol, drugs, attempting suicide

Most important of all, the conference was an opportunity to remind ourselves of the grim reality that 1 in 6 - that is 15 per cent, or up to 300,000 of New Zealand males have experienced sexual abuse in their lifetime.



Ta Mark Solomon told the forum of a  survey conducted on behalf of the Male Survivors of Sexual Abuse Trust of 1,076 New Zealand residents aged 18 years and older.


In that study, Māori were significantly more likely to report personally knowing someone who had been a target or recipient of unwanted sexual behaviour or attention (81 percent), compared with 56 percent of all respondents surveyed and 60 percent of Pakeha.  And yet what he also said, is that 76%  of family violence incidents are not reported to the Police.


Don’t think because we’re broken, that we’re not clever.   We have survived through a life of anger and hate, and can still stand strong with pride and courage as a survivor

There was a wonderful session by Albert Pooley – Author / President / Founder of the Native American Fatherhood and Families Association.   He talked about a cultural model  to truly love the people whom we serve

  • It builds trust

  • It starts to heal

  • It repairs relationships

  • It strengthens self-worth

  • It bonds and unites families, friends and communities.


Graham Jobson (Ontario); Albert Pooley (Native American); Daniel Mataki (Māori); Anthony Newcastle (Aboriginal)

Graham Jobson (Ontario); Albert Pooley (Native American); Daniel Mataki (Māori); Anthony Newcastle (Aboriginal)

One thing I particularly loved from Albert from a little gem he told me as I congratulated him on his speech:

“Life is a process – your journey is to solve problems.   If you stop solving problems – you become the problem.  If you let others solve your problems – you give away your power – and that’s the worst sort of problem to have’.

Money, money, money

This week the Treasury came to town, and spent some time meeting with us; hearing about our commissioning model, visiting some of our entities, and asking plenty of questions.   Their interest had been inspired by the research from Professor Paul Dalziell, notably that for every $1 invested in Whānau Ora you might get $7 in return.

In their day with us they visited Te Pā o Rakaihautu and Hale Compound Conditioning to see the impact of a whānau centred approach in a school setting, in the gym headquarters; in our every day life.   

They appreciated the complexity of our performance outcome framework and were interested in the progression through outcome measures that Olga talked to them about.   The team was interested in better understanding cultural measures of wellbeing. 

The Treasury party was as follows:

  • Atawhai Tibble – Principal Advisor, Social Investment Agency.  

  • Struan Little, Deputy Secretary, Budget and Public Services

  • Trevor Moeke, Principal Advisor

  • Nic Drew-Crawshaw | Senior Analyst – Māori Development and Welfare 


A particular treat for Trevor Moeke was meeting up with whanaunga : Te Mana and Hiruharama Moeke.

National Certificate and National Diploma in Hauora

On Thursday this week it was a delight to be at Rehua to celebrate and honour the 24 graduates from the National Certificate and National Diploma in Hauora Maori.    The students had come from as far South at Tokomairiro (Milton); across to Te Tai Poutini, and from Te Piki Oranga in Nelson, as well as Christchurch.

Check out the speech here



Te Papori o Whakatere

We have had such a busy week this week.  On Thursday and Friday Tu Maia headed off with the first wananga for Te Papori o Whakatere.   The first wananga was called, ‘Plotting your poutama’ and it was all about the over-arching strategy.   The wananga was inspired by the drive to develop, test and progress short, medium and long term plan.   It is so exciting to see everyone who has come together to focus on their respective visions and strategy.

The incubator programme took place at Te Ao Marama (Te Whare Wananga o Waitaha).   Some of the topics of the two days included:

  • Whakapapa: Standing strong in your journey – the Why

  • Wawata : long term vision setting

  • Online Business health check survey

  • Consolidation of professional supports for the next session

We finished the end of the first couple of days with a brilliant session at Maori owned business, FUSH, in a celebration with the Otautahi Maori Business Collective Network.

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What’s Coming Up?

Saturday 11 November : Shaken Not Stirred – The Feelers, Dillastrate, Soulsystem

Free family event at Takahanga Marae, Kaikoura, 2pm-8pm.


Saturday 11 November, Kaiapoi Community Gardens Open Day; 10am-1pm

Kaiapoi Borough School, Hilton Street.   Gold coin appreciated.


Thursday 16th-Sunday 19th November 2017.  Tu Toka Tu Ariki; Taumutu Awhitu Estate;

Tu Toka Tu Ariki are a wairua based whānau that will embrace and nurture the traditional practices of au-kati (smoke, alcohol, drug and violence free)-  whakamana te whānau; promote humility, enrichen, enhance and empower one’s wisdom, promote the wellbeing of whānau, hapu and iwi, celebrate whakapapa and inspire Maori.

Powhiri 6pm, 16th November.

Email : or contact Te Mairiki Williams : 021-117-6223

Whanaungatanga Hui, Tomairangi Marae, 54 Eye Street, Invercargill

Te Rau Matatini invites kaimahi Maori working in the mental health and addiction sector to come together.    9.30am powhiri.

RSVP to Avao Tiatia ( or phone 0800MATATINI (04-474-7281)


Luke EganComment