Tautuku Estuary. The Cathedral Caves. Purakaunui Falls. Tokanui. Cannibal Bay. Waikawa Valley. Tahakopa. Owaka.
Up until this week, all these sites were known to me only as place-names in an atlas. Placenames that carry with them a powerful story; a history and a whakapapa known best to the community that inhabit the Catlins.
Serena Lyders and I were travellers to Owaka for the annual hui of Aronui Tomua: a group of Māori teachers representing kura kaupapa Māori, early childhood, support staff, kaiarahi reo and kaimahi in schools and kōhanga reo. The union, NZEI, Miro Māori strand – made up of Aronui Tomua ( branches) : Whakatū, Wairau, Ōtepoti, Murihiku, Ōtautahi. Their strategy, Mātauranga Tuhaha, emphasizes the educational journey from inception to beyond.
It was with great pleasure, therefore that spent time together, sharing our fascinations and frustrations; identifying possibilities for working collaboratively for the best interests of all our tamariki mokopuna – and as such, all our whānau. We talked about some of our key initiatives where whānau are focusing on kura as settings for change; or working with the whānau of those school communities.
The day before I’d met with senior managers from another sector: the justice sector. The Managers came from a variety of areas: Probation, Prisons, Administration, Practice Delivery, Psychologists, Programmes and Interventions, Case Management and Industries. My kōrero was based on a number of themes:
More whānau-driven approaches to working with offenders
In light of the recent Waitangi tribunal ruling, how managers can strengthen their cultural practice/relationships
Keys to effective collaboration and what our leaders can do to strengthen partnership
What’s needed to really make a difference to family harm
I called my presentation Ripples in the Water, which was inspired by a quote from Dr Tracey McIntosh which talked about the ‘reverberations’ of influence that persist through time – and the need for an intergenerational shift.
It was good to be able to refer to some of our whānau driven initiative which are working with the ‘ripple’ effect such as:
Whānau Ora Navigator; transition between prison and the community; Christchurch Women’s Prison
Wānanga Taiao, Koukourārata
Bros for Change, Christchurch
A3 Kaitiaki, Dunedin
Navigator; Ārai Te Uru Whare Hauora, Dunedin
Waihōpai Rūnanga, Youth at Risk, Invercargill
A funny thing happened after the forum. Perhaps because I was too focused on getting to the venue on time, when I left the Corrections hui at the Octagon in Dunedin, I walked out into the street completely disorientated.
As I wondered around looking for where I’d parked the car – literally dizzy in circles – I was fortunately rescued by Patrick Hussey of Māui Studios. Goes to show – the entrepreneurial explorer status of Māui can always be relied upon to help us regain direction when we’re feeling lost!
In terms of valuing our intrepid explorers, honestly, the photographic wonder of the stunning landscape that distinguish Te Tai Poutini has to be shared with us all. Every week the team from Hīkoi Waewae lead the way in uncovering another beautiful memory in the vast glory of the West Coast.
Ministers in Town
This week, Te Putahitanga o Te Waipounamu was pleased to be invited to be part of two justice related events in which Ministers were in town.
Minister for Corrections, Hon Louise Upston, and Associate Minister for Education (alternative education) ; tertiary education, skills and employment and primary industries came to Ngā Hau e Whā on Monday night. She was there to pay tribute to the collective impact that has created an innovative marae-based justice hub designed for Māori, with a particular focus on:
1. youth who are at risk of offending, but have not yet offended;
2. high-risk youth who have offended;
3. mothers (while in prison and as they reintegrate), their children and the children’s temporary caregivers; and
4. young people who do not yet have a driver’s license.
The next day it was the turn of Justice Minister, Hon Amy Adams, who along with Nicola Woodward (Aviva); Poto Williams (Labour Party Justice representative); Gladys Madondo (Shakti Ethnic Women’s Support Group) and me, were speaking to university law students at a lunchtime event, ‘Law for Change’. A lot of the focus of the event was the legislative change, the Family and Whānau Violence Legislation Bill, submissions which close on the 24th May.
Finally this week has been marked by the passing of Trevor Howse, one of the champions of the Ngāi Tahu A Team who pioneered the process leading up to the Ngāi Tahu Settlement Act; and Wira Viliamu, a ‘gentle giant’ who was a passionate advocate for kapa haka, mau rākau, te reo and Māori education.
We think of these two great men with love and awe, as we reflect on their contribution to a future where the stories and placenames of Te Waipounamu are known; where the histories and experiences are recorded in waiata, mōteatea and legislation, where identity, connection and belonging are strengthened because of the difference they made.
For the Diary
Tū Ake, Tū Pono, Tū Tika; Free from Violence through a Whānau View; Whakatū Marae, Nelson, Tuesday 23 May, 9am-3pm
PATH Training for Whānau Ora Navigators, Koukourārata, 24-25 May.
Tū Pono: Te Mana Kaha o te Whānau; Christchurch feedback hui, Thursday 25 May, Ngā Hau e Whā Marae, Christchurch; 11am
Te Kākano o Te Totara Rangatahi Leadership Wānanga Tuatahi- 26th, 27th 28th May – Arowhenua Marae, Temuka
Tū Pono: Te Mana Kaha o te Whānau Launch on Tuesday 6 June 2017 at Rehua Marae 79 Springfield Road, Richmond, Christchurch with a powhiri commencing at 5.15pm
21-23 June, Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu Annual Symposium, Ngā Hau e Whā Marae, Christchurch. Don’t miss it!