Ignite the Fire of Language

Whakatika te Huarahi – Harenga Whakamua

Ready the Path and Move Forward - Move Forward Together

What an incredible night we all had at Rehua Marae on Tuesday 6 June. That was the night the Three Taua (not to be confused with the Three Tenors) took to the microphone and told us how it is. Taua Inu Farrar; Taua Aroha Reriti-Crofts and Taua Kiwa Hutchen were the absolute highlight of the launch of the strategy and Book of Proceedings that has emerged from the last twelve months and twelve hui preparing for whānau to share their strategies and stories on eliminating violence from our lives.

Taua Inu had us all in tears as she made the packed-to-over-flowing whare stand with her and remember the 60+ children who had lost their lives in the violence of the family home over the last ten years.  

Other speakers that took to the podium that night were

  • Hon Dame Tariana Turia (see speech here)

  • Tā Mark Solomon

  • Hon Te Ururoa Flavell

  • Susan Wallace

It was so good to see representatives from Te Tauihu iwi at the launch reflecting on the energy and commitments that came out of the hui hosted by Ngāti Kuia at Te Hora.  At that hui, iwi representatives had stated they would be taking TŪ Pono back to their iwi hui; back to their marae; back to the Iwi Chairs Forum to spread the word, and promote the aims of the strategy – to keep all our whānau free from harm. Tumeke!

If you want a hard copy of the strategy or the Book of Proceedings, send me an email: Helen.leahy@teputahitanga.org.

One of the most moving parts of the ceremony was the gifting of a taonga to Taua Kiwa. The Taonga was created by Gavin Thompson from Murihiku Pounamu.

When he tried to think of a taonga that would be fitting the first thing that came to mind was not a design but rather to use the precious stone, Hine Aotea.

In researching Hine Aotea he consulted the Transactions and Proceedings of the Royal Society of New Zealand 1868-1961 

The first sentence he happened to read was this .....

Parawhenua-mea was taken to wife by Kiwa, guardian of the ocean, which is known as the Great Ocean of Kiwa. But the ocean is personified in One Hine-moana (Ocean Maid).

One Mahuika personifies fire. In the first place, fire emanated from the sun.  This piece of Aotea stone came from Gavin’s cousin Shannon Mahuika who lives at Jacobs River;  South Westland the home of Hine Aotea.

Hine Aotea has a female energy and it is also one of the strongest healing stones. This particular piece of stone has some slight swirls of black in it which represents the negative energy involved with violence and the blue represents the positive energy shining through.   The form of the manawa provides us with strength, courage, and love; it is the aroha and strong heart of aunty Kiwa that has aided in the help of others and her services to the community.

Ngāti Apa in the House


Recently rangatahi from all over Te Tauihu took to the stage at the regional Ngā Manu Kōrero competitions in Richmond. All the speakers were of high calibre and represented their respective schools, iwi and whānau with pride and passion.

Two of the speakers were Ngāti Apa ki te Rā Tō rangatahi,  Kiripounamu Nepia and Lucas Baker.  Both of these Rangatahi are young emerging cultural leaders  

Kiripounamu came first in the senior Māori impromptu, prepared and overall winner. She also won the taonga for best female. Lucas Baker came first in junior English and second in junior Māori. He also won the taonga for combined individual or school in the junior section.  Kiripounamu and Lucas will be representing Te Tauihu at the national Ngā Manu Kōrero Competition in September.

Kiripounamus speech was taku patu mana Māori motuhake. She recited her connection back to Ngāhue and the journey of pounamu from Hawaiki to Aotearoa. She used this pūrākau as a metaphor to talk about personal and collective transformation and it’s not until you ‘dig deep’ that the precious pounamu reveals itself.   Lucas’s topic was my language, my sovereignty and he shared how he has gone on a personal journey of learning about has language and culture and how he has moved from ‘Kiwi to Iwi’ from ‘ignorant to knowing’.

Awa Ora  - Motueka

You all know about Whānau Ora. Up in Motueka they’ve taken the concept to heart through Awa Ora. Awa Ora aims to return a section of the Motueka awa back to its natural state and lift and restore whānau / community /  awa / ora; wairua and mauri. Awa Ora is about returning a section of the Motueka awa and surrounding riverbanks and vegetation back to a safe environment for all whānau to interact and enjoy; for the native vegetation to thrive so it can heal and nurture the awa environment once again

Tapawera Awa Ora Incorporated has been established by the whānau and the community to carry out the co-ordination, management and activities to initiate the restoration of this section of the awa. Whānau community project planning and delivery will manage a digger contractor to clear the land and will work with Tasman District Council, who will clear neighbouring council land. Community detention workers and Tapawera Awa Ora volunteers will be coordinated to carry out activities of land clearing, re-planting and care for the awa.

The initiative aims to rid the awa and river bank of noxious land and water weeds and plants that have established themselves and reinstate a natural and healthy awa environment.

Awa Ora will build sustainability activities with establishing a plant nursery on adjacent land, cut firewood and fund raise through sales and primary school planting and nursery programme. The Waimaori Stream care programme with Tapawera and Victory Primary Schools is a key Awa Ora activity that prepares future tamariki awa ora kaitiaki.

Hīkoi te Hauora Addiction Recovery Camp

From the top of the South to the midst of Murihiku, Nicci McDougall from Ngā Kete Mātauranga Pounamu has sent in reflections from the second Hikoi Te Hauora Addiction Recovery Camp held in the beautiful Blackmount Valley at Te Koawa Turoa O Takitimu, with double the amount of participants than the first.
The week-long post-recovery camp for clients of Nga Kete’s Addiction Service supports exercise, self-expression and wellbeing. Its purpose is to maintain and sustain recovery from alcohol and drug addiction by re-engaging with our natural environment through physical and spiritual activity. The camp took place in May where participants enjoyed physical activities and tasks including daily fitness, tramping, waka ama, and environmental awareness. 
Addictions Manager and camp organizer Pikihuia Ruffell said the nine participants enjoyed the camp and described it as amazing, healing and therapeutic. All of the camp goers joined in activities, some of which they’d never attempted before such as waka ama and flax weaving. Some of them were emotional towards the end of the camp because they had enjoyed it so much, she said.

All photo credits from Hikoi to Hauora to David Fenton.

The participants spent their evenings creating Tukutuku panels, which they, along with Nga Kete, will donate to agencies such as the Salvation Army and DASS this month. The panels are a modern take on a traditional Maori art work using raffia paper and peg board. They were an amazing way to wind down after some physically challenging days, she said.

Camp participant Michael, who has been sober for three years, said he stepped out of his comfort zone and got to know people he normally wouldn’t at the camp.   He enjoyed the morning exercise, going for walks, the variety of activities and getting involved with others.   There was a set structure and always something to keep entertained, he said.

“I’d thoroughly recommend it to those in early recovery that are seeking alternatives to using. It’s a good way to find new ideas and new alternatives to a better way of life.”

Another participant Holly-Maree said although apprehensive, she decided to go to get out of her comfort zone, which she describes as the best place to grow.   Holly-Maree enjoyed the unity between camp goers, and getting involved in the activities, which had been healing, she said.

“The camp built up my self-esteem, and my self-confidence. It made me realise there are people out there that actually care. I was understood and my addiction didn’t matter to them. I was just another person they wanted to get to know.”

“The camp has made me really passionate about getting into the real world properly as an adult. To look for a job and not sit idle in limbo.”

NKMP Rangatahi AOD Kaimahi Greg Houkamau, who attended the camp, said the participants were out of their comfort zone in an environment they weren’t familiar with, and each came out with a sense of belonging.

The next camp will be held in October. If you or someone you know may be interested give us a call on (03) 214 5260. 


Rangatahi Tumeke - Invercargill

While we’re down South, I was delighted and honoured to speak at a fabulous event in Georgetown honouring the five year journey establishing Rangatahi Tumeke. (read speech here).

Over the last five years Rangatahi Tumeke has been educating, supporting, challenging and inspiring youth on discovering mahinga kai, traditional Maori experiences and surviving outdoors.   It was this connection with the environment, something so important for rangatahi Māori whose whakapapa is just as much about their ancestors but also their connection with the land and our environment.  It was this that inspired the beginning of the Rangatahi Tumeke journey.

Rangatahi Tumeke’s kaupapa is all about reconnecting our rangatahi with themselves, each other, and they’re grounded through mahinga kai and bringing the old traditions back. The key focus is to offer three camps a year during school holidays to reconnect rangatahi with the magic of the whenua, ngahere and moana.


The inspirational mentor and founder of Rangatahi Tumeke, Steph Blair, with her mokopuna (and CEO) – Ātaahua.

Two of the guests who shared their enthusiasm for Rangatahi Tumeke : Paul Casson, Chief Executive of Venture Southland; and Mike Diack, father and recent participant in the camps.

Te haerenga ki Kanata

Finally, a very special treat this week from Year 13 Student, Hinehou Flanagan, who represented her kura, Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Te Whānau Tahi in a trip to Canada. Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu was happy to support this young woman in taking to the world.  Here’s her story:

indigenous thought.PNG

Kātahi nā te mutunga kē mai o te mīharo o taku haerenga ki Kanata. He wheako whakaharahara, he wheako i tutuki pai, me te aha anō he wheako e kore e warewaretia.

I tae atu mātou i runga i te reo karanga o te kaupapa, koia rā, ko te hui me te tūtaki i ngā tangata taketake o reira kōrero ai mō ngā raru me ngā taimahatanga o tō rātou reo i te korenga o ngā kaikōrero. Me te maha kē o ngā akoranga i akongia e mātou.

I haere māua ko Mei ki tētahi o ngā wānanga reo, ā, i whakaakongia maua e ētahi whakaihu waka o te reo Cree. I whakaakona mai rāua i ētahi mihimihi, ētahi kīanga, me ētahi kupu tūmahi. Me te huhua o tēnei akoranga, ka mutu, ko tēnei mea te ako reo hou he pukenga whaihua mōku, nā te mea ka taea e au te kī he arero tuawhā tāku inaianei. Nā mātou tēnei reo o aua tangata whenua i ako, e puta ai te māramatanga i roto i ō mātou mahi rangahau mō ā mātou ake wheako whaiaro i ngā tau kei te heke mai.

Ko te nuinga o ā rātou anipā e hāngai ana ki te ngaronga o te reo, me ngā tikanga tūturu o ā rātou mātua tīpuna. Nā tēnei haerenga, i ako au i ngā ōritetanga o ā tātou ahurea, i te mea ko te reo e āhukahuka ana i tō kōnei. Arā noa atu ngā tāiro a Kupe hei poke e tika ai tēnei ara o Whakarauora reo.

Ko te mea pea hei akoranga mā tātou, kia ū ki tō tātou reo, “kia mau ki ō tikanga me te reo Māori, koinei rā tō tūranga e,” n`a te mea tarake ana te kite i te tino motuhaketanga o te reo ki ia whenua katoa o te ao.

E  māharahara ana rātou i te kaha o te whakaawetanga mai a te reo Pākehā me ōnā whakatakotoranga rerekē, ēngari ko rātou tērā e kaha ngana ana ki te whai ara tautoko e pai ai te ako a ngā tamariki taketake.

Tūmeke katoa au i te pīwari o ngā tamariki!

I te hokinga atu ki ngā hōtēra, kua mamae ngā waewae, kua ānini te ūpoko, ngau ana te puku i te reka o ngā kai, waihoki kua ngēngē te tīnana katoa i ngā mahi kua tutuki. E hoa mā, inā te ora o te tangata. Kāore e kore he haerenga autaia ka tika.

Mō te whakatangetange riaka, kāore i tua atu i a Whaea Melanie, i a Mei, i a Brigham. Nā o rātou wairua hihiko i taea e au te haere pai ai ki tawāhi.

Nei a kupu whakamiha ka rere ki a Ngāi Tomina i kaha akiaki ana, i kaha āwhina ana i a mātou. Ā, e tika ana kia mihia a Te Kura Kaupapa Māori O Te Whānau Tahi i tō rātou tautāwhi i a mātou mō te taha pūtea, ki Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu hoki. Peto katoa atu ngā ngoi, ā, mei kore ake ko tātou, kua kore tēnei āheinga e taea, nō reira kei te mihi, kei te mihi, kei te mihi.

“Tutungia te hatete o te reo, e te akunga hauhare; Tutungia te hatete o te reo.
Kia kongange, kia pūkauri.
Kei pūrehua, ka piroku, ka kewa.”

“Ignite the fire of the language,  oh you the industrious; Ignite the fire of the language.

So that it blazes, and burns fiercely.

Lest it flickers indistinctly, and eventually, extinguishes


  • Monday 12 June: Christchurch, Ōtautahi Creative Spaces invites you to the opening of Wharenui: a collection of recent artworks; 5.30pm, Eastside Gallery, 388 Worcester Street, Linwood.
  • 15-16 June, Rehua Marae, Christchurch: He Oranga Ngākau – Māori approaches to Trauma informed care; Kāi Tahu Regional Research Hui.
  • Sunday 18 June: Dunedin.   Te Rūnanga o Ōtākou Puaka Matariki kaumātua lunch; 11.30am.