It started by Paying it Forward.


Pay it forward is an expression for describing the beneficiary of a good deed repaying it to others instead of to the original benefactor.

A couple of years ago, Chanel’s Mum, Whaea Daphne, rang her daughter and said that she’d picked up five men who were looking for a bed for the night.   So Chanel opened up the doors, rolled out the mattresses, put the pots on the stove and looked after her manuhuri. Next day she sent them away with some money and some kai for the road, and when the young men asked how could they ever repay her, Chanel said “pay it forward”.

Next day the heavens opened and the rain poured down.   Chanel’s brother passed by the Nelson library and saw a group of men huddled in the entrance way.   He recognised them from the night before and picked them up and took them home again to shelter from the storm.

A month went by and one day there was a knock at the door.  On the doorstep were five men dressed in military uniform. Chanel looked closely and recognised them as the homeless strays she’d looked after.   Their mission had been to survive a week with no money. But for the kindness of Chanel and her whānau, that week would have been a test of mental and physical endurance.  But Chanel changed that.

From humble beginnings Chanel and her two sisters-in-law, Lovey and Vera, this week opened up their shop – LoVeChi in Vanguard Street Nelson.  From sausage sizzles and an initial application to Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu for a mere two thousand dollars to get them going Angels Trio now runs a fully fledged whānau enterprise; consisting of:

  • Text-a-lunch: nine schools, 23l lunches; two days a week

  • Community lunch, every Sunday

  • Catering for local events

  • And now a café

It was a beautiful opening; blessed by the presence of a large warm crowd, including kaumātua Andy and Ramari Joseph.

Matua Andy is kaumatua to the Nelson city and Tasman district councils and the Nelson Marlborough District Health Board, Maori chaplain to Nelson Hospital and archdeacon for the Whakatu Maori Mission in Nelson.   Ninety years young and yet still he and his beautiful wife Ramari found time to support the opening; to talk about patience; about harmony; about the need for communication.


Mum Daphne was right behind the girls too.  Five sons, three daughters, twelve grand-daughters; seventeen grandsons and four great moko – each would play a part in supporting her ‘Angels Trio’ on their journey.   Whether it was the mokopuna raising funds through karaoke; the son helping out with the IT needs; or another son utilising his skills with aluminium steel; this was purely and simply Whānau Ora in action.

It was a great day to be part of and we wish Lovechi all the best!   From the karanga of Cindy from Te Atiawa, to the korero of Ngati Kuia; it was overwhelming to see the extent of the support from the community for this exciting new venture.   There is nothing like having a dream – wanting to make a difference – to motivate and mobilise.

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The Royals in Te Waipounamu

Matua Andy and Whaea Ramari shared wonderful tales from the day at Abel Tasman Park; thrilling us with the stories of Whaea Jane du Feu welcoming them into the grounds, and how Prince Harry had told them “The rain is a blessing and a reminder of our connection to the land”.

Local kaumātua Barney Thomas from Onetahua Marae in the Golden Bay paved the way for the royal couple to stroll on the beach and enjoy some ‘down-time’ in the midst of a hectic week’s schedule.

Later that week, the royal family of PILLARS – Whaea Mary Kamo (former chaplain of Christchurch Women’s Prison), her daughter and esteemed broadcaster - Miriama  and son, political analyst, Ward – were part of the privileged few who shared some time with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex at a special event in Auckland. It is such a fitting tribute to the work of PILLARS  who do such amazing work in supporting the whānau of those who have a loved one in prison.

Jennifer Leahy, Mary Kamo, Kim Workman and Miriama Kamo

Jennifer Leahy, Mary Kamo, Kim Workman and Miriama Kamo


Congratulations Whaea Inu on 33 years of dedicated service and support in working with Matua Whangai, with Ministry of Social Development, with Child Youth and Family and more recently Oranga Tamariki.   It was a pleasure to attend the retirement celebration at Nga Hau e Wha marae in Christchurch this week where social workers, police, lawyers, youth advociates, community workers representatives of whānau, marae, iwi all came together to honour Whaea Inu for her massive contribution across the community.  

Te Matau a Maui workforce series


It was great this week to spend some time out at Tai Tapu with the Maui Collective comprising:

  • Mana Whenua ki Waitaha

  • Te Runanga o Nga Maata Waka

  • Purapura Whetu

  • Te Puawaitanga ki Otautahi

  • He Waka Tapu

  • Te Kakakura Trust

  • Te Tai o Marokura from Kaikoura

  • Te Whatumanawa o Rehua

  • Te Ha o Te Ora o Wharekauri – all the way from the Chathams

  • Tangata Atumotu

  • E Tu Pasifika

Opening speaker Hon Dame Tariana Turia raised some interesting questions about the use of the Maui legacy to describe their collective of providers.

While we are in the context of Maui’s fish-hook – I ask what about Muriranga-whenua?

Muriranga-whenua, of course is just one of the precious kuia that nurtured and loved the superhero immortalised as Maui.   When Māui fished up the North Island, he is said to have used a hook made from the jawbone of this kuia; Murirangawhenua.

Maui made a patu from the jawbone she willingly passed over to him.

With that patu he fought the sun, and later crafted it into the fish-hook that provides the context for  this hui today: Te Matau a Maui.

Would Maui have been able to do this without her jawbone?

Was it his particular powers that gave the jawbone its magical strength; or was it the faith, the belief and the love from his kuia that made this remarkable act possible?

What was the role of the atua, Tangaroa, in providing the source and foundation of all life?   How robust was the matau itself? In order to be effective in catching fish, the best fish-hooks must be strong and sharp; their shape and form accentuating the specific design that will lure the fish to its unfortunate end.

How pivotal was the connection between Tangaroa in making a direct link through to the homeland of Hawaiki?

I wanted to pose these questions because often when the issue of leadership is raised, there is an inherent assumption that it is singular, individual, the power of one.

And yet for gains to be enduring, we know that the most successful outcomes come about when they are collectively owned, locally designed and created out of collaborations that are focused on long term gain.

As Māori and Pasifika peoples, we know that it takes a village to achieve the transformation we need.

It was never about Maui and his own individual pursuit.

Te Uepu


This week Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu hosted the ministerial advisory group, ( the Safe and Effective Justice Programme Advisory Group) – Te Uepū Hāpai i te Ora..  The purpose of te Uepū is to:

  • engage in a public conversation about what people in New Zealand want from their criminal justice system, and

  • canvass a range of ideas about how the criminal justice system can be improved.

You can submit feedback and ideas at

Te Uepū can also be contacted directly by email at

Coming up

Saturday 3 November; 4-9pm; Ferrymead Historical Park: Māori Market


Invite you to our South Island Roadshow!



  • Come and meet our teaching staff, get any questions answered on the spot, and enrol for 2019

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Please RSVP– or 0800 348 2400

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Luke EganComment