The Gift Of Bounty

We are heading towards Matariki: the season of celebration, of reflection, a time to preserve kai for the winter months ahead, to remember the past and plan ahead.


And so it was when this photo came in from Manaia Cunningham, promoting their sensational Hapai Heritage Potatoes, that it made me appreciate the gift of bounty.   


Matariki is the time when all the pātaka kai are overflowing with food; the kūmara was gathered and stored, the produce from the maara kai becoming the food larder for the months ahead.


“Our products combine the best of modern science with traditional Māori practice to create a genuine, heritage, spray and blight free crop of gourmet taewa – It’s about regenerating communities and creating kai sustainability and resilience. Hāpai is local, fresh, sustainable, ethical and natural”.


We at Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu feel so in awe of the talents that emerge out of the hands and hearts of whānau across the South Island.  It is the demonstration of ‘He kai kei aku ringa’ in its most vibrant sense.

It was a food from our own hands from a different source in the weekend, when over 25 rangatahi came together to connect with Te Ao Hangarau, a kaupapa Māori creative digital space within our hub.


The combined forces of Ariki Creative, Manu Media and Māui Studios were able to mobilise their talents to inspire rangatahi in the world of global technology.   They got a taste for design, illustration, animation, film, web, mobile and digital connection, technology of virtual and augmented reality, as part of Waihiko : Digitising Māori Stories.   Karawhiua!

“The event was also a wonderful celebration of the first decade of Ariki Creative, which has championed Digital Māori Solutions in digital and print media since 2007.


Have a look at the link to the livestream on the day, to feel the vibe of Tech Week, Digital Natives style.

See the video stream here


Tuia Te Tai Poutini


This week we are delighted to share with you the most stunning digital story from Tuia Te Tai Poutini.   Tuia Te Tai Poutini has involved a series of wānanga on the West Coast as part of the Rangatahi Māori Leadership Development Programme.  These wānanga focussed around building a sense of self-worth and identity as young Māori by exploring what it means to be connected to whakapapa, whenua and community.


I am sure you will agree when you see this video; that what has happened throughout these wānanga is a journey towards transformation.

This week our consultation in the context of Tū Pono: Te Mana Kaha o Te Whānau took us to the dusky sounds of the Wakamarina Valley, in the rohe of Ngāti Kuia.

It was so special to return to Te Hora Pa, the sacred home of Te Iwi Pakohe, and join together with whānau from Whakatū Marae in Nelson, Waikawa Marae in Picton, from Māori providers such as Te Hauora o Ngāti Rarua, Te Maata Waka ki te Tau Ihu, Te Piki Oranga and of course whānau from across Te Tauihu.


It was the most magnificent hui.  The kōrero was uplifting, the engagement was energizing, the excitement captivated all our imagination.   The statement from the hui was clear: Tū Pono is a Te Waipounamu model – it is our model – it speaks to our realities.

The workshops were exploding with energy.   Just some of the feedback we heard was:

  • We want some whakapapa around the poutama to guide us;

  • The strength of the model will be in the nannies and the aunties – the look, the caring, the challenges, the constancy;

  • We want our hui to be restorative: how do we make ourselves right, how do we heal the wounded spirit?

  • Just as we have reclaimed and revitalized our reo, let us be proud to stand and reclaim our practices; to nurture our whare tangata;

  • Our whakapapa is as Ngāti Koata, as Rangitane – not as offenders, as victims: let us re-examine the language.


Earlier in the week we were up at Hopuhopu, for Te Kāhu Korako Māori Health Leadership.   Maania and I spent a day at the collective impact hui; looking at collaboration as one of the greatest tools for strengthening our practice.   Rā Dallas was focused on the rangatahi space, in sessions that called for a national Māori voice for rangatahi leadership.


Finally, I want to acknowledge the incredible privilege of receiving the Dame Tariana Turia Award, for a significant contribution to Whānau Ora.

In receiving the award, I saw it as a momentous tribute to Ngāti Apa ki te Rā To; Ngāti Kuia; Ngāti Koata; Rangitane ki Wairau, Ngāti Rarua; Ngāi Tahu, Te Atiawa, Ngāti Tama and Toa Rangatira for their courage, their confidence and their belief that Whānau Ora was something that all of the iwi in Te Waipounamu could uphold; to stand together for a future for all their mokopuna to enjoy.   I especially acknowledge the leadership of Whaea Molly Luke and Matua Norm Dewes; who have both dedicated their lives in service for the people.   We are so fortunate to have their example to lead us onwards.


I have had the remarkable life-chance, of learning from the legacy of some outstanding leadership – Dame Tariana being of course a source of rich inspiration; a compelling force of motivation to make every moment special; to lift my eyes to the greater good.

Over the last two years in Te Waipounamu I have seen the fruits of her faith unfold in miraculous and multiple ways, from Mohua to Murihiku, from Koukourārata to Hokitika.  The staunch passion; the lifelong belief in whānau potential; the creativity and tenacity of the whānau we have the privilege to serve, teach me in so many ways about the strength of whakapapa; the resilience of whanaungatanga; the value of kaupapa.


And so, while I received the award this week with my name on it – I know that the names of you all are forever etched in my mind, as the champions of Whānau Ora we know you to be.   Tēnā koutou katoa.