The land of the orange cones


When I first returned to Christchurch in 2015 I can remember feeling stunned at the army of orange cones that were standing like sentinels, separating rubble from roads; alerting us to submerged potholes, a beacon of warning at the uneven surface on which they stood.   It’s surprising how quickly those cones become part of the persona of a life in Christchurch.

On Thursday and Friday this week those cones reminded us of the progress we have made, and the reconstruction yet to happen.   The 2018 Canterbury Earthquake Symposium was held at the University of Canterbury, bringing together policy-makers, local and national politicians, planners, academics and even a few Whānau Ora kaimahi .

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Here are a few of the takeouts for me from the two days:

  • It’s important not just to have gathering places restored (schools, churches) but also bumping places where you go because you want to meet others

  • There is no such thing as too much communication.   “The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place”.

  • Recovery is complex: not linear (sometimes it will feel like two steps forward, one step back); not uniform; has multiple perspectives and operates within a dynamic environment

  • Recovery is an opportunity for reconciliation – to secure the things that are good for the community and discard the things that are not

  • Search out the missing stories….


Key findings from Ihi Research were tabled at the symposium including:

  • Recognise the importance of Māori and iwi-based cultural identities and values in enabling recovery and strengthening resilience;

  • Enable iwi and other Māori based organisations to lead community recovery efforts

  • Understand that Māori communities are diverse and ensure equitable (not equal) external support responses

  • Undertake further research in this area to ascertain how affiliation, cultural identity, social economic status, gender, age and disability intersect.


Kutt Functional Fitness

Kutt Functional Fitness strives to provide an environment that promotes, and provides accessible hauora solutions to whānau. Their aim is to create a space, and product, that provides a safe, nurturing, and challenging connection to all aspects of hauora Māori which can be enjoyed by whanau of all backgrounds.

Over 65 individual whanau have participated in the past twelve months and then seventeen new individual whanau in this reporting quarter.  

We support Phil, Steph and Heperi with a Navigator Tinana agreement that has very clear specifications around the wellbeing of the whānau. Te ao Māori practices are evident at all times; building concepts such as whanaungatanga, manaakitanga and aroha. These values are principles upheld in all aspects of Whānau Ora outcomes.  Ka mihi.

Kutt Functional Fitness utilises te reo Māori in all sessions, whether that is big or small. Ahakoa he iti, he pounamu!  

Kutt Functional Fitness in action

Kutt Functional Fitness in action


Te Wai Pounamu Festival

It was a thrill to attend the Te Wai Pounamu Kapa Haka Festival this year, to share the awesome energy of performers, in their sweat, heart and soul for their Maori  culture and identity.

This year we were delighted to sponsor one of the groups that performed : Te Amokura Kapa Haka Group.  Congratulations to our up and coming leaders Aporonia Arahanga (Kai Tahu, Te Arawa, Nga Rauru) and Awatea Pokai (Ngati Rarua) for strong leadership as young mentors for the young performers well done.  The intergenerational leadership needs to be acknowledged. Te Amokura had a proud placing of a 3rd place overall for the Te Wai Pounamu Cultural Festival.


Celebrating tribal leadership

Arowhenua kaumatua Suzy Waka, also known as Pamela Niles from Arowhenua Papatipu Runaka, has been a health champion for hauora for over 35 years.  On 30th October one of our team, Vania Pirini, attended a celebration of her retirement and an acknowledgment of the relentless effort she has generated with accolades showered on her by governance, management work colleagues, and whanau from all backgrounds.  Whanau came from afar; the waiata, laughter and aroha a fitting tribute to a wahine toa who has walked her talk amongst us all.


Congratulations to Corstorphine

We love the effervescent energy; the optimism and the devoted commitment that exudes from Corstorphine Community hub.   How proud can everyone at Corstorphine be of the well-deserved recognition they achieved as finalists in the Dunedin Empowering Volunteers community award.


Tu Pono at Waikawa Marae

This week, despite being faced with threatened road closures and severe weather warnings, we were honoured to travel with Dame Tariana to the 23rd hui in the Tu Pono series being held at Waikawa Marae in Picton.   

It was a long day – we left Christchurch at 7am Wednesday and returned 3.30am on Thursday morning – just in time for the earthquake symposium.   We wanted to pay our respects at Takahanga to the Kahu whānau in the loss of their dearly loved father and Koko Spencer.

All of that journey represents the story of Tu Pono : tears of lament; grief and loss; the unpredictability of the elements; road blocks and mudslides; tumoltuous rain; detours and delays.   But love actually – hope and promise, memories to live up to; promises to keep – that’s what it means to keep all our whānau safe and secure.

The hui at Waikawa was absolutely powerful.   The korero from Dame Tariana set us alight – we must challenge racism within our midst; call out injustice; stand up no matter how uncomfortable that might be.   There was much conversation around gangs.   Whaea Tariana challenged us that every time we say “that’s the Mongrel Mob or Black power”, we should ask, ‘and who’s kids are they in these gangs?  Who do they belong to?

That korero inspired and provoked reflections across the whare - There was discussion about those who feel rejected and alienated from their marae.   How do we bring our whānau back, the process of restoring the tapu.

This is not about tweaking the system; this is about flipping the system

We need to raise the integrity of our paepae (this was in response to challenges that have been made when whānau members have asked abusers to be removed from the pae, and other whānau members have asked for evidence).

“ It you want Tu Pono to start, start with yourself”

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Rita Powick and Maire Kipa

Rita Powick and Maire Kipa


Te Waka Anga Mua – The Future of Social Enterprise for Iwi/Māori Maori

This week Maania Farrar attended a community workshop for Iwi/Māori to help co-create and feed into a National Social Enterprise Strategy for Aotearoa.
The workshop was to explore questions such as:

  • What does Social Enterprise/Pakihi Whai Kaupapa mean to you?

  • What are the opportunities and opportunities that Iwi/Māori Social Entrepreneurs see in front of them?

  • What support do Maori Social Entrepreneurs and enterprises need to thrive?

  • How can whānau, hapu, Iwi, community, government collaborate to support Iwi/Māori Social Enterprise

  • Is there a need for a National Iwi/Māori Social Enterprise Strategy/National Voice on Social Enterprise?


Data Protection and Use Policy design development hui

This week Ivy Harper and Sue Quinn attended, on our behalf, a hui in Wellington hosted by the Social Investment Agency.   Part of the priority of the hui was to discuss a Draft Data Protection and Use Policy: Principles for using data and information in the social sector.  These principles frame the values and behaviours that participants consider will be necessary to ensure everyone works in a way that values and respects the use of data and information.  If you want to know more, contact

Inaugural LGBTI Awards

On Thursday night, Rāwā Karetai and I attended the inaugural LGBTI Awards ceremony in Auckland.  The New Zealand LGBTI Awards brings together community leaders, supporters and allies to celebrate role models for the LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex) community.  

The LGBTI Awards honour organisations and individuals whose dedication to LGBTI equality stands out from the crowd. Mental health issues and suicide disproportionately affect the LGBTI community. The profile of the awards creates role models for young people and gives them hope for successful, happy futures.

Key award winners on the night were the Lifetime Achievement Award: Jools and Linda Topp (The Topp Twins); Anika Moa (Music Artist of the year) and politician of the year – Louisa Wall.  I was asked to present the Takatāpui Role Model of the Year which went to Dr Elizabeth Kerekere.

There were two key messages from the awards ceremony:

  • When people are authentic and able to be themselves, they perform better at work, in sport and as participants in society

  • Actions that challenge inequality inspire others to follow suit – the Awards encourage others to stand up and be counted

Rawa Karetai and I at the awards

Rawa Karetai and I at the awards


Te Ora Hou

It was heartening to attend Te Pō Whakanui this week to celebrate and acknowledge the tauira and the rangatahi from Te Ora Hou for 2018.   The extent of the different programmes is very impressive : Mana wahine; Te Pihi Ora; Whakapakari (leadership); Taiohi Tu; Polyphony. A particular highlight of the evening was to hear of the transformation shared by the Conrad whanau – with their nine wonderful tamariki mokopuna.


Resilience : the capacity to adjust to changed circumstances

Finally, one of the key discussion points at the Canterbury earthquake symposium was that communicating about wellbeing enables whānau members to cope well with trauma, and indeed on a pathway to thrive.  On Tuesday this week, we called together those people who work in the role of ‘Whānau Ora Connect’; an initiative which is being implemented through a range of entities across Te Waipounamu:

  • Te Rūnanga on Ngā Maata waka for earthquake response – Linda Ngata coordinates connections via five navigators for 239 households in Hurunui, Kaikōura and Marlborough.

  • Purapura Whetū for Homelessness in Christchurch –

  • Te Āwhina Marae in Motueka

  • Ārai te Uru Hauora in Dunedin for Family Violence.

  • Maranga Mai Murihiku


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The Whānau Ora Connectors for Te Waipounamu – and their supporters!

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Luke EganComment