He Hono Tangata

He hono tangata e kore e motu; ka pa he taura waka e motu
Unlike a canoe rope, a human bond cannot be severed.


This week Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu had the honour of accompanying the Minister for Whānau Ora, Hon Te Ururoa Flavell, on what might be his last visit to Ōtautahi before the elections on 23 September.  The Minister wanted to acknowledge, celebrate and thank the whānau entities which have arisen like wildfire as part of the Te Pūtahitanga way.


He spent time with Tipu Taitama Voyaging Trust out on the waters at Brighton; meeting with Jaye Pukepuke and the Boys for Change; he received a pōwhiri on to Ngā Hau e Wha; had a lively night-time meeting at He Waka Tapu Trust; a rigorous workout with Hale Compound Conditioning and breakfast at Te Pa o Rakaihautu.

Later that day he caught up with the interim Kaiwhakahaere, Lisa Tumahai, and the Chief Executive, Arihia Bennet, from Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu.   He was briefed by the team of Tāne Ora; met up with the General Partner Limited Board of Te Putahitanga o Te Waipounamu, and debated some of the issues around Oranga Tamariki.   It was an incredibly busy 24 hours.


Later that day, the Minister invited all of those associated with Tū Pono: Te Mana Kaha o Te Whānau.    It was a wonderfully warm evening inside on a wild and windy night.    As the snow started to fall and the gales howled, we shared stories about having the courage and the vision to stand up against violence, to speak our truth, and most of all to remain focused on what matters most – whānau being safe, secure and strong.

The Minister shared a poignant story of his own memories  - hearing the pots and pans crashing to the floor, his aunty being smashed to the wall, the children all cowering in fear and then next morning the deafening silence.   And he reflected on the peace and tranquility he had experienced being out in the water earlier that day.   He made us all think deeply about what change can look like, as he told the story of paddling in unison in the waka until there was a sudden stillness, and a single karakia cut through the air.   At just that moment the Minister looked upwards as a tunnel of light beamed out from the sun – it was one of those ‘wow’ moments when you know there is a greater purpose to help provide hope in even the most desperate of circumstances.   


Karen Brown, Beatrice Brown and Jackie Burrows – in good heart at the Tū Pono supper

Karen Brown, Beatrice Brown and Jackie Burrows – in good heart at the Tū Pono supper

Māori Party Co-leader Marama Fox shared her memories of Horomaka – her days as a school girl in Christchurch and the importance of building a culture of resistance against violence.   She fell in love with our resident backing group – and of course the kuia, Piwi.


The night reminded us all that the elimination of violence from our lives is a whānau mission.   It is not only the preserve of providers, of services, of government, of community groups.   It is very much the territory of our own homes – our families can be the strongest advocates of peace; our conversations count, our stories matter.

Another aspect of the Tū Pono experience of course, has been the government led initiative, Integrated Safety Response, which is about coordinating social service and justice agencies together, with the assistance of Whānau Ora facilitators.   On Monday this week, the Police opened their impressive new buildings to house the ISR team in Antigua Street in Christchurch.    We attended the blessing, where Uncle Mike from Ngā Hau e Whā led the proceedings, inviting Arihia Bennett and David Ormsby from Te Puni Kokiri to also address the crowd gathered.  It was refreshing to see the natural light shining through the premises as we walked around.  


Social Enterprise in Christchurch.

Later this year, 32 speakers representing different countries will create a global cross-section of our social enterprise community that will gather in September for the World Social Enterprise World Forum! Tickets are selling fast, now with over 800 registered participants. Register for your ticket today: www.sewf2017.org/register

I was proud to be able to meet Hon Alfred Ngaro, Minister for the Community and Voluntary Sector and the Minister for Social Enterprise, at the Xchange, during this week.   He is such an enthusiastic advocate for making a difference – it was indeed a privilege to meet with him.


I ended the week in the balmy humidity of Auckland, participating in a Social Procurement summit organized by Westpac Bank.   What a stimulating day it was – we had speakers from Ireland, Scotland, Aotearoa and a fascinating talk from SupplyNation – an Aboriginal initiative from Australia.   The concept is to build the indigenous supply chain – to have preferred providers from indigenous businesses and leverage the purchasing power.   Have a look: www.supplynation.org.au

Keynote speakers included Mavis Mullins who talked about the tools of the Māori economy – including the Mokopuna legacy (intergenerational investments) and the capacity to draw on both the Māui ‘haututu’ factor and the highly ethical, whānau-driven Moana message.


Releasing the Whio


Mother and son, Rauhine Coakley and Taewa Lilley, at Grassy Flat


Finally, a wonderful story to end the week came from our Waewae whānau who have been restoring connections for taonga species – whio (blue duck) – an ancient species of waterfowl.                       

You might be familiar with the whio which features on the New Zealand $10 note.

Whio are found nowhere else in the world and are rarer than some species of kiwi.    They are limited to the Urewera, East Cape and along the West Coast of Te Waipounamu from Nelson to Fiordland. So this week, with the help of Te Papa Atawhai, seven whio were set free near Hokitika, on the upper Styx and upper Arahura rivers.   And there to help were are the whānau of Ngāti Waewae.

Luke EganComment