Paradise. That’s what those from Koukourārata call home.

Paradise. That’s what those from Koukourārata call home. And who can deny the stunning vistas of Port Levy are a source of sustenance, an energizing environment that makes everyone feel in a better place.

This week, our Navigators spent a fabulous couple of days engaged in PATH training; networking, downloading, sharing time together, relaxing in the peace of this divine landscape. One of our Arowhenua Navigators, Brenda Warren, summed it up best:


Nga mihi Koukourarata.....what a stunning tranquil place this is...to just BE and take you away from all the hustle and bustle of the city and town life....I had an amazing two days; met some beautiful new people well new whanau now....who are very passionate, talented and charismatic about their mahi and working alongside Whanau....to our facilitators Kataraina Pipi and Paora amazing korua...I’m excited to go back and work with whanau and start the planning process.........I can’t wait to implement what I have learnt nga mihi nui koutou katoa....


Of course they tried to tell me it had been business as usual, not a moment to waste. 24 Whānau Plans developed and written up. Strategies shared. Work programmes discussed. Yes from the look of the photos, the wānanga looked very arduous!

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Koukourārata was in my mind a lot as I referred to the work of Probation ex-mates who played such a critical role in creating the maara kai from which those beautiful taewa are grown.

We have a number of initiatives which are co-ventures with the Department of Corrections and which involve the garden as a source for a burgeoning relationship. There is something quite special about sharing the soil together; hands to the land; preparing the bed for new seeds to grow.

This week I spoke to approximately 150 senior managers from across the Southern region of the Department of Corrections about the relationship between those who inhabit cells behind barbed wires – and their outside lives as fathers, brothers, mothers, aunties, grandparents. It was a particular thrill to receive a bouquet of flowers fashioned out of bronze made from the men in Christchurch Men’s Prison.

 Pictured: Nikki Schwass | Manager Maori Services | Southern Region Jennie Farrar-de Wagt | Team Manager Learning and Development Service Delivery | Southern Region

Pictured: Nikki Schwass | Manager Maori Services | Southern Region Jennie Farrar-de Wagt | Team Manager Learning and Development Service Delivery | Southern Region

Budget Day 2017

This week was the week, of course, in which a $2 billion dollar package of support was announced to support families. Some of the items of particular interest on Budget Day were:

  • Increase in maximum payment rates for accommodation supplement for larger households by between $40 and $80 a week;
  • More jobs to create employment in Māori tourism – Te Tāpoi Ararau;  $5.7m to restore the Kaikōura harbour
  • $16.5m to provide social housing (Housing First) to address issues underpinning chronic homelessness
  • $11.6m for support and care for at-risk prisoners
  • $6m to early identification to support three and four year olds with oral language difficulties
  • $5m of new funding to lift whānau participation in kōhanga reo;
  • $3m of new funding to Te Mātāwai; $3m to Te Tauri Whiri i te reo Māori

But of all the initiatives that I talked about on Plains FM on a special budget breakfast show, the most exciting was the $28m boost for whānau centred initiatives. That includes $10m to invest in Whānau Ora; $8m for rangatahi suicide prevention, and $9m to support whānau-centred family violence interventions.

 A shot from the Plains FM Budget Breakfast featuring economics Professor Paul Dalziel and Sara Epperson from Child Poverty Action Group.

A shot from the Plains FM Budget Breakfast featuring economics Professor Paul Dalziel and Sara Epperson from Child Poverty Action Group.

Tū Pono: Te Mana Kaha o Te Whānau

I could not have been prouder to read the Budget Announcement from the Minister for Whānau Ora:

“Budget 2017 also includes $9 million of new operating funding over four years to support whānau-centred family violence interventions. We need to break the cycle of family violence, and we know whānau-centred, kaupapa-based approaches lead to positive, long-term outcomes for Māori. “The funding will include new money to pilot the introduction of facilitators who will support whānau to access appropriate help to end violent behaviour

We had a wonderful hui at Ngā Hau e Whā marae in Christchurch, completing the 2017 round of consultation on the framework that will be launched on 6 June at Rehua Marae. Matua Norm Dewes was the keynote speaker; the workshops were dynamic and provided fresh thought on the framework, and most of all it was so moving to see the sense of shared commitment to standing up and against family violence. I am so delighted to know that the foundation we have laid through Tū Pono: Te Mana Kaha o Te Whānau has been so influential to Ministers in having the confidence to invest in whānau-centred, kaupapa-based approaches.

Coach and Carriage

On Friday, we had a coaching hui for our coaches to share progress across the 100 whānau-based entities; what the most prevalent challenges are in working with whānau entities; and providing a space to consider the best way to achieve the outcomes in the Whānau Ora Outcomes Framework. There was an interesting connection made to the etymology of the word, coaches, from the concept of a coach that takes you places from a to b; a journey in which you move to a new destination.

Awarua Developments

Finally, we had a brilliant weekend last weekend, courtesy of Awarua Developments. Awarua Developments is a subsidiary of Te Runaka o Awarua Charitable Trust. Awarua Developments aims to create intergenerational wealth opportunities for the people of Awarua and the Bluff Community.

We savoured the succulent treasures at the Bluff Oyster Festival; experienced the beauty of the Southern-most marae, Te Rau Aroha, and enjoyed the presentation of Awarua Development Initiatives.

We were particularly impressed with the artistry of Greg McDonald, featured here with Reese, who along with brother, Kamana, was the inspiration for one of Greg’s amazing works of art.

And it was fabulous to catch up with our own Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu investments : Awarua cosmetics and the locally grown Scavenger Hunt.