The springtime of our lives brings many opportunities


I love this time of year.  The opening up of tulips, resplendent in their springtime colour, brings a splash of vitality into our world which reminds me of the time I was carrying our baby, waiting for her to be born.   A time of expectation, of over-brimming excitement and optimism for her life ahead.

And so it was wonderful this week to be in the company of some fabulous wahine to celebrate their success in a room packed with purple and black balloons, and flowers of all hue.   The occasion was to acknowledge the graduation of Hariata Unu, Jynine Berryman and Karen Brown in recognition of their mahi in achieving full registered social worker under Section 13 of the Social Work Registration Act.  I spoke about the meaning of the colour purple: nobility, luxury, power, and ambition, as well as creativity, wisdom, dignity, devotion, and peace; all wonderful attributes for our wahine to be taking into the journeys they take with whānau through the Social Work caseload.


Section 13 of the Social Workers Registration Act 2003 states that the Social Worker Registration Board may recognise practical experience gained in New Zealand in certain cases, where experience compensates for the lack of a New Zealand qualification or equivalent.


The tohu, designed by inspirational Maori designer Morgan Mathews-Hale, have a special touch to the graduation ceremony.  We were proud to be there to celebrate your success.


Launch of Ground-Breaking Research

Board Chairs: Molly Luke and Trevor Taylor; Dr Catherine Savage, Professor  Paul Dalziell, Hon Lianne Dalziell, Mayor of Christchurch, Eruera Tarena, Helen Leahy, Mathias Pitama

Board Chairs: Molly Luke and Trevor Taylor; Dr Catherine Savage, Professor  Paul Dalziell, Hon Lianne Dalziell, Mayor of Christchurch, Eruera Tarena, Helen Leahy, Mathias Pitama


This week, research was released which focused on one of the Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu funded programmes as   a case study: He Toki ki te Mahi.   This was chosen because it invests in the economic potential of rangatahi, which is easily measured.


The Agribusiness and Economics Research Unit (AERU) was set up in 1962 by a decision of the New Zealand Cabinet, to undertake economic research for agencies outside Lincoln University.   The researchers utilised Treasury advice for data sources, for the discount rate and for sensitivity analysis.


Total potential economic benefits: $5,500,000

Total economic costs (2015 - 2021): $780,000

Thus, potential economic benefits outweigh total economic costs by more than 7 to 1.


There were three reasons for this large benefit

  1. He Toki ki te Mahi makes a difference to the economic opportunities of rangatahi.

  2. He Toki ki te Mahi helps rangatahi shift to the high-productivity construction sector

  3. He Toki ki te Mahi helps rangatahi shift to a higher qualification (apprenticeship)


Epi: One Year On


I wanted to share this beautiful story from Nga Kete Matauranga Pounamu :

Sitting down recently with Epi Walker, who last year told his story of living with a severe hearing disability, I met a new man.
Epi is confident, happy, enjoys conversation, and can’t wipe the smile off his face.
He tells me what it was like living in the sound of silence. “Have you heard the remake of that song?” I ask. He shakes his head, so I open YouTube on my phone and play him the powerful ballad. He doesn’t need to strain to hear the tune. The words resonate with Epi and his eyes glisten slightly. “Wow,” he says, “I love this song. I love even more than I can actually hear it.”
A recent operation has repaired one of Epi’s ears. The second operation is scheduled for October and it is believed he will regain 100% hearing by the end of 2017.
Epi looks me in the eye and says, “If it wasn’t for the Whanau Ora Service here at Nga Kete I never would have had that operation. I would’ve still been deaf.”
- Nicci McDougall, Communications, Media and Marketing Manager

This is Epi’s story one year on:

My name is Epi Walker and last year I told my story of living with a severe hearing disability, which led to job loss, a lack of education, relationship breakdowns, depression, and a drug and alcohol addiction.

I felt discriminated against, I felt unimportant, I felt embarrassed, and eventually I realised my injury had completely defined me.

But now I know I was wrong. I’ve come a long way in the past year. I am still a client at Nga Kete and it’s because of the Whanau Ora team I have recently received a life-changing operation.

For the first time in 20 years I can hear! In October I will receive my second operation and it’s believed that by the end of this year I will have regained 100% hearing. It’s hard to describe how I felt when I started to gradually hear the world again. Amazing, scary, daunting, incredible, new!

I still can’t quite believe it! I can have a conversation, I can relate to people, I can hear the birds singing, I can hear songs on the radio, and I can hear the kettle boiling. My confidence is returning, my wall is slowly coming down, and I can now start focusing on my future.

I am going to study beekeeping, I am going to re-sit my welding certificates, and eventually I am going to return to work. I’m going to continue building on my passion of carving and I have started mending bridges with whanau. I can finally achieve the goals I’ve always wanted to rather than being constantly held up by an old injury.

Whanau Ora haven’t just assisted me with future planning, budgeting, arranging and attending appointments with me; It’s because of them I’m able to hear again and lead an enriched life.


Moana in Te Reo Maori – Mihi Mai Ra!


This week  we joined with the team from Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu and local kura to be amazed and awe-struck by the Disney movie released in te reo Maori for te wiki o te reo Maori.


Lecturers Katarina Edmonds and Waldo Houia from Te Puna Wananga School of Maori and Indigenous Education and Vikky Demant worked alongside the film's New Zealand producer Tweedie Waititi and performance director Rachel House on the project.   Maori Television newsreader, Piripi Taylor read the role of Maui, while newcomer, Jaedyn Randell was the new Maori Moana.  It was a thrill to have her and Rachel House with us in Otautahi for the release.



Suicide is Painless

This week with the recognition of World Suicide Prevention Day, our team have been up and around the motu, speaking out about how to support whānau through suicidal distress.


Rāniera and Lee Luke were speakers at the Tane Ora hui held in Whangarei (shown here with our Board director, Donovan Clark).

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Brotherhood Barbers in Dunedin was another visit.   One of the great characteristics of the hairdressing business is how individuals sitting in the barber’s chair can reveal some of the more innermost secrets – their experiences of hurt and harm.


Finally on Friday, 15 September, many of us attended the Waitaha Suicide Symposium.   So many in fact – that it was close to 850 people attending the hui at the Celebration Church in Aranui.


There were some interesting ideas shared.  Karaitiana Tickell talked about Kai-Hau-Kai : a sharing culture; a traditional time where hapu to hapu would gather to celebrate significant occasions throughout the sharing of unique delicacies from their regions.   The coroner, Sue Johnson, revealed that many young people who have taken their lives, haven’t had any contact with mental health services, indeed  it was not common to have had depression or a mental health history.


Jamie Allen from the Taranaki Retreat, talked about four conditions that every day they aim to feature:

  1. Good sleep – lights out at 10.30pm

  2. Good exercise

  3. Good food

  4. Good social time


We're also proud to announce the book release of "Ties that Bind Us," which focuses on a collection of whānau short stories and poems. For all enquiries please contact Tracey Wright-Tawha 03 2145 260.

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Luke Egan1 Comment