Try-whanau: it's for all of us

Eight years ago, in 2009, Cabinet agreed that the national ‘Māori flag’ which had been identified through a nationwide consultation process should complement the New Zealand flag.


Cabinet also agreed that the flag will fly on certain buildings and sites of national significance on Waitangi Day, and that government agencies may also fly the flag at their discretion on Waitangi Day [CAB Min (09) 44/15 refers].

Flying the two flags together, on days of national significance like Waitangi Day, would be a great way to symbolise and enhance the Crown-Māori relationship.


It would be interesting to know from those who were at Ōtākou Marae; at Te Āwhina Marae, at Fat Freddy’s Drop on Waitangi Day ….whether there were two flags proudly flourishing to mark our Treaty relationship.


The origins of the flag are sourced back to Te Kawariki.

  • Black represents Te Korekore, the long darkness from whence the world emerged.  It represents the heavens.

  • White represents Te Ao Marama: the realm of being, purity, harmony and balance.

  • The Koru represents the unfolding of new life, rebirth; the promise of renewal and hope for the future

  • Red represents Te Whei Ao – Papatūānuku, the Earth Mother, the colour of earth.


One place the flag was flying was at Kaikōura Rugby Park.   Te Ahi Wairua (aka Kaikōura whānau) and He Waka Tapu (Ōtautahi whānau) came together for the theme “Kia Marama”.    Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu was proud to support the whānau in Kaikōura, partaking in a delicious hangi, heads held high with their flash new haircuts courtesy of the pop-up barbers.


Connections were made, business owners were happy to have a place to sell their wares; whanau recognising the effectiveness of whakawhanauatanga, and being inspired to believe in their own capabilities as Maori within the community.

And if some of the men are still recovering from their game of league, it is an honourable pain earned through a noble contest of wills.


Today (Friday) we celebrated the first year of the Canterbury Children’s Team in great style with the talents and enthusiasm of the bright young sparks that give this work meaning.   There are now ten children’s team across Aotearoa.   In Christchurch alone, that involves 129 lead professionals from 28 different organisations – some of these ones where we also have Whānau Ora Navigators.    In mid March the team will expand to Ashburton; at the end of March it expands into North Canterbury.   

One of the statements I heard that breaks the heart is that if you are a child in care you are thirteen times more likely to be excluded from school.    It doesn’t make sense that a child who is already suffering from the impact of being taken out of their whānau home is then deprived of their basic right to a quality education.   


It’s all about the Children – Oranga Tamariki Bill


This week we had great news that the closing date for submissions is 3rd March.


Tonight we held a workshop at Show Place, to prepare our views on what is surely the most significant piece of legislation that will pass through the House this year.


For after all, what is more important than the right of children to know who they are?


Some of the issues raised tonight were:

  • The Bill is a step backwards from the 1989 Child, Young Peoples and their Families Bill;

  • You can not have paramountcy of the child if you ignore the child’s whakapapa as an inherent value of the child

  • If you fail to recognize that whakapapa is important, you fail to know who we are

  • The concept of a “safe, loving and stable home” is not mutually exclusive of tamariki Māori being cared for by their whānau, hapū or iwi

  • No explicit reference to Whānau Ora

  • It is not enough to have Kupu Māori without tikanga Māori [section 2]

The stories are important.  The tears are real.    We need to talk about our experiences; have conversations about whāngai; about CYFS; about the needs of our children.


Who do I send my submission to?

Committee Secretariat
Social Services
Parliament Buildings
Wellington   (No stamp required)


While we’re on to Parliament, have a read of the submission we made this week in response to the Education (Update) Amendment Bill – Supplementary Order Paper #250, regarding the ban on the use of seclusion rooms in schools.


Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu is concerned that there are still a large number of disabled children being excluded, formally or informally, from their local schools. For this to change it requires a legislation change but also a cultural change amongst schools and the wider community on disability and diversity. 


In this respect we are delighted this week to launch a new digital story: Hei Whakapiki Mauri  

Hei Whakapiki Mauri is a series of hui in Waitaha that will empower Māori with disabilities and their whānau through knowledge and networks. 

Through Hei Whakapiki Mauri, you and your whānau can explore what is important to you through whakapapa, tikanga and reo. You will learn and grow together through whanaungatanga, adding to your kete of knowledge. 

Have a look at their website:

Watch the video.   

This year we have some new and exciting things coming to Hei Whakapiki Mauri, including the introduction of a Navigator to work one-on-one with whānau, plus some great events. Follow us on Facebook to stay up-to-date. 

Putting Sustainability at the heart of us all.

A highlight of this week was a hui with Kaapua Smith, Sustainability Manager for Contact Energy.  Kaapua, pictured here in the middle of Jade and Christa from Kākano Café, stimulated a dynamic conversation with about a dozen champions of the Whānau Ora approach.   She talked to us about energy literacy and energy efficiency, dropping a few golden hints like:


Water heating

  • Fix dripping taps
  • Have showers instead of baths - try to keep them shortish
  • Use cold water when filling your jug, rinsing dishes and washing clothes


  • Switch off your hot water if you're away for more than two weeks



  • Let food cool down before putting it in the fridge or freezer

  • Defrost food naturally instead of using the microwave

  • Use a microwave or toaster instead of the oven or stovetop whenever you can

  • Keep the door shut! Every time you open your oven, the temperature drops by up to 15°C

  • Cook several things in your oven at once

  • Keep lids on the pots when you’re cooking and make sure the lids fit

  • Put small pots on small elements and large pots on larger elements. Doh!

  • Make sure oven seals are kept clean and properly fitted

We talked about everything: regeneration and rangatiratanga; leaving more than what we take; building a culture of sustainability; how to be a good steward.


Kāhu Whakatere


We end this week with a brief mention of a very special hui that Te Pūtahitanga had the honour of sponsoring in Te Tau Ihu.


The focus of the hui was natural burial from a tikanga perspective.   Over forty attended the hui: two carloads from Waikawa; one from Motueka; as well as whānau from Whakatū.


Some of the comments are so moving:

  • Amazing that whanau can have this option which involved the whole whanau from beginning to end and not be just a spectator in the process”

  • “How can my whanau learn this process?”

  • “What do we have to learn to be able to do this process?”

  • “This was a wonderful journey back in time to when our tipuna carried out the process”

  • Thank you for triggering my memories from my childhood because I travelled with the old people when they did this practice”

  • Would I like to be buried this way? Absolutely!”

It’s looking like it’s geared up for a big Weekend this weekend.

I’ll see some of you at the dress rehearsal for Te Matatini at Ara on Saturday morning.

Others will be at Ōnuku Marae, attending part of the series of Rūnanga celebrations of the legacy and leadership of Tā Mark Solomon.    It follows on from an earlier hui in Murihiku honouring Ta Mark's contribution to Ngai Tahu hosted by Oraka Aparima, Waihopai and Hokonui with representatives from Arowhenua.


And finally, while we’re focusing on Murihiku, that’s where I’ll be heading on Sunday for the Try-Whānau triathlon in Bluff (starting at 9am – see you there!) and then the Ascot Park Hotel, from 2-4pm for our next submission workshop on Oranga Tamariki.


Have a great weekend!