Leading by Example

Leading by Example.   That’s the statement of affirmation one of our banners displayed at the Ka Toi Maori o Aoraki, held in Timaru at the end of last week.   It was a fabulous metaphor, as it turned out, for the way in which our rangatahi teach us all about integrity, excellence, persistence, discipline, enthusiasm and commitment through the way in which they carry themselves in performances that moved many of us to tears. Timaru Girls High School were overall winners in the Secondary competition but actually – all the teams were winners on the day.



Although officially known as Ka Toi Māori o Aoraki, FLAVA is a name that appears to have stuck with the festival and has morphed into an anagram:

  • Future: motivation to look forward to our future

  • Learning: motivation to want to grow and expand your mind

  • Achievement: motivation to work hard and attain excellence

  • Virtue: motivation to be worth to self, family and community

  • Autonomy: motivation to help and be of service to others.


Leaving by Example

Obviously some of my team thought I meant ‘leaving’ by example come Thursday morning when suddenly the office became very quiet, almost deserted.   The reason?

Yes, suddenly everyone wanted to rush to support Matua Norm Dewes at Nga Hau e Wha, to provide him with whatever he needed to run the event that was being held that day.  Beautiful whakaaro, which it would seem hundreds of Christchurch school students also wanted to do.

Steven adamss.jpg

There was of course an added attraction that got the selfie sticks moving: Steven Adams : professional basketball player for the Oklahoma City Thunder of the National Basketball Association.   Steven is driven by a vision of giving back to the nation and the sport that has given so much to him.   As part of that, he has held training camps in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch to support youth development, education initiatives and basketball development.


So on Thursday of this week, students from St Thomas, Avonside Girls, Haeata Community College, St Bedes, Linwood High, Te Paa o Rakaihautu and Shirley Boys had the thrill of a lifetime in the company of such an inspirational champion.   Ta Mark Solomon gave Steven the ultimate honour in acknowledging the wonderful example he is leading by sharing his skills so generously for all to benefit.


From all accounts it was an amazing day.   I thought I’d share some of the comments from Matua Norm:

“All the Tupuna on the walls were smiling. The performance from all youth was exceptional.   Ra Dallas did a wonderful job in directing the youth. He was his normal self and fitted in well with the Kids. The only difference is he is a bit older.  LoL”


He Waka Kōtuia   - He Waka Kōtuia)

In light of the energy of kapa haka that has captivated communities across  Te Waipounamu, this week we have the special honour of launching a new video – He Waka Kōtuia.

A waka that is correctly bound will never break apart.   That is the challenge that Paulette and Komene have been inspired by, in supporting rangatahi to the broader context of whānau leadership, to fall in love with the essence of who they are.

Paulette Tamati-Elliffe (Kāi Te Pahi, Kāi Te Ruahikihiki (Ōtākou), Te Atiawa, Ngāti Mutunga), and Komene Cassidy (Ngapuhi, Ngai Takato) have a love for te reo rangatira that has been expressed in multiple ways.   In 2015, they became the first South Islanders to win the highest community award at the 2015 Ngā Tohu Reo Maori Awards.  That award, Te Tira Aumangea, recognises the promotion and regeneration of the language.



I continue to be impressed by your commitment and passion for whānau and specifically for rangatahi leadership with the progress made with the leadership team formed of three wahine and three tāne.

He Waka Kotuia builds on their passions, their talents, their belief in whānau leadership.  Over twenty whānau + designed a series of hīkoi to places of cultural significance within the Otago Peninsula and wider Dunedin area.  The concept was to bring together rangatahi, matua, kaumātua and whānau. Whānau were encouraged to participate in the kī-o-rahi tournament,  to be connected culturally to local and culturally significant  natural environments.

But wait – there’s more.  In June, He Waka Kōtuia rakatahi participated in an inspiring indigenous exchange experience with first nations families in BC, Canada.  They were there to commemorate Aboriginal day, to celebrate cultural pride, strength and resilience alongside our indigenous brothers and sisters.  These amazing rakatahi from Aotearoa stood proudly as cultural ambassadors for their whānau, school, community, iwi and our nation! We are so proud to share this video with you – to mobilise the momentum they represent. 

Otepoti Awesomeness

One of the challenge for our commissioning model continues to be preparing the entities for sustainability. The indicators for sustainability vary across the initiatives, the evidence suggests that one year of funding may not be enough to take a whānau enterprise from start up idea to sustainability.   There is the potential however to investigate how to develop and support a Māori network for our entities across Te Waipounamu.  

This week we tried something a bit different – we held a high tea for some of the entities and initiatives who have been supported by our Whānau Enterprise Coach, Donna Matahaere-Atariki, and our contract advisor, Trish Harrison-Hunt.

It was a wonderful opportunity to honour and celebrate:

  • Te Roopu Tautoko ki te Tonga : Whakaari (Chris Maxwell)

  • A3 Kaitiaki :Project Kete : Michelle Taiaroa-McDonald

  • Arai Te Uru Whare Hauora : Shelley Kapua

  • He Waka Kotuia - He Waka Hauora

  • Paulette Tamati-Elliffe  and Komene Cassidy

  • Purakaunui – Motoitoi (Ncola Taylor)

  • Hoki ki te Kainga – Ngai Tahu Maori Law Centre : Joy Smith

  • Kai Tahu Ki Otago – Te Kakano Maara Kai

  • Tokomairiro : Dolly Ngapo-Hill; Hinekura Lawson-Candelaria and Lucille Lay-Robbins

Sustainability Seminar

To respond to some of the issues we have been observed about the challenges we are seeing with sustainability planning, this coming week we are trialling a new approach of bringing one of the principal funders to a workshop with us.   Depending on how well Wednesday goes, we will travel to Te Tau Ihu and then to other regions, to roll out the workshop.

TP wave info.PNG

Murihiku Polyfest

And yes – this week there has been a revolution occurring right across Southland, Central Otago, Lakes District and South Otago.  You know it…the Murihiku Polyfest was on --- and anyone who was anyone was there to cheer on all our beautiful tamariki mokopuna.

From our view in the stalls it was difficult to capture the talent on stage, but suffice to say, the scope and size of this spectacular event deserves our respect.

Pese Wairua

A big shout out to Zion Tauamiti and the team who put together a stunning rangatahi showcase at Haeata Community Learning Centre in Christchurch on Friday night.   Described as a rangatahi event for the whole aiga schools from all over Otautahi shared their talent : dance, poetry, bands, solos.  Hillmorton, Papanui, Shirley Boys, Haeata, Addington Dream Choir, Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Te Whānau Tahi, Avonside Girls, Te Kupenga o Aranui.

The concept was to ‘do the thang’ – to encourage and strengthen the Māori and Pasifika youth voice of this city.

wave 7.PNG


Luke EganComment