The road less traveled

One of my favourite poems is one by Robert Frost, where the poem ends

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference

E rere te kotare
Ki runga i te puwharawhara
Ruru ai ia o parirau
Kei maku o kuao i te ua
Mao, mao te ua

Appleby River at the top of the South.

Appleby River at the top of the South.

The children’s waiata, Tihore mai te rangi by composer Hirini Melbourne, was based on a simple karakia telling the rain to go away.  This week,  as Cyclone Cook descends upon the land, no doubt, that same message will be one we return to – to clear the land, to clear the sea making the rain go far far away.

Cyclone Cook is expected to land in the already battered Bay of Plenty tonight, travelling on to the East Coast of Te Waipounamu during Friday, bringing heavy rain, and severe gales with it.   A full warning has already been issued for the Kaikōura Coast – stay warm whānau, and take care.

Bros for Change turning Boys into Men

If there’s anything to create a bit of warmth in your heart, it’s the magnificent story of the young men who have just graduates from a six week wānanga with Bros for Change.

On Wednesday Vania and I were privileged to attend the graduation of twelve young men at Kaiapoi High School Auditorium.   

Bros for change is about helping rangatahi to understand and approach situations differently through the application of effort, self-belief and an appreciation of the importance of self-control, discipline and having a goal in sight.

With the support and inspiration of some amazing role models and mentors – Jaye Pukepuke, Rudolph Diaz, Coach ‘Hostile’, kaiako, whānau, and tuakana – Bros for Change took a group of young boys who were up for a challenge and made a difference in their lives.

One of the most moving moments in the graduation was in the speeches from parents and whānau after the boys had received their tohu.   One koroua spoke directly to the audience and asked us all to “respect and honour our children”, reminding us that the greatest lessons of change start in the four walls of your own whare.   It was a proud day for us all.

Seduced by Pounamu

At our staff hui this week we had a presentation of one of our initiatives from Murihiku,

Gavin Thomson received Whānau Ora investment, to support those with intergenerational trauma through the development of carving skills. The Assessment Panel had believed that the idea of preserving and passing on carving knowledge was very positive.

Gavin has been supported by Hokonui Rūnanga to follow through on his dream, “I started carving by hand instead of power tools. I used sand stone and old stone rasps and files in a similar manner as our Tupuna would have carved. I finished the pieces with many laborious hours of hand sanding and hand polishing."


I have been interested in pounamu from a young age.

At age six I found my first piece of pounamu at our whānau beach Whareakeake. It presented itself to me after a sun shower a bright green piece of stone glistening on the white sand so out of place almost as if it were a piece of plastic. And from that point of I was fully seduced by pounamu.”

Farewell to Parekawhia and Alice

This week one of our founding directors, Parekawhia McLean, resigned from her role after three years of solid commitment towards advancing opportunities for Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu.

Parekawhia was initially appointed on to the Board, when she was the CEO of Waikato-Tainui Te Kauhanganui Inc. In that role she presided over a total asset base of $1.2b and 67,000 registered tribal members.     In September 2016 she was appointed to the role of Regional Director, NZ Transport Agency for Waikato and Bay of Plenty: a role that is no doubt fraught with challenge this weekend!

We have appreciated the political nous that Parekawhia brought to the role; her deep commitment to a Whānau Ora approach, her experience of strategic policy and her knowledge and credibility in parliamentary and ministerial circles.   We are indeed in a stronger position for her contribution.

Alice the Great

Also departing this week is a foundation staff member, Alice Matheson, who has been variously a minute secretary, Board administrator, legal advisor and policy analyst in her three years in the role.

Alice is moving into a position with Canterbury Community Law so we know we will continue to see her in that capacity.   She had a fabulous send off with no less than four Taumata members in attendance, and colleagues from over the lifecourse of Te Pūtahitanga all gathering to celebrate and pay tribute to this young woman of seemingly irrepressible energy.

What was a beautiful feature of her farewell was to have three generations in the front row, to hear the impact that their daughter and grand-daughter had made on us all.   Alice’s mother, Alison, spoke passionately about how wonderful it is as a mother, to know that the apple of your eye is also valued by others.    Now that’s Whānau Ora!

Save the Date

Due to popular demand…..the Whānau Ora Symposium Returns!

Reserve these dates in your diaries now: Thursday 22 and Friday 23 June; Ngā Hau e Whā Marae, Christchurch.   You won’t want to miss it…..



Tū Pono: Te Mana Kaha o te Whānau is returning to the six regions we went to in June July 2016 to share the findings from the initial consultation hui.

Thursday 20 April 2017; 10.30am – 3pm

Arahura Marae

How lucky are we that our first return hui is lead by Dame Tariana Turia.