I have one thing that counts and that is my heart.


A Love for the People

‘I have one thing that counts and that is my heart.  It burns in my soul. It aches in my flesh and it ignites my nerve.  That is my love for the people.’

- Eva Peron

From the early dawn in Wharekauri to the setting sun in Rakiura, this week whānau from all over Te Waipounamu are preparing for the Christmas season.   Wherever we see whānau, we should see the love that burns in our soul; the spirit of manaakitanga that counts most at such a special time of year.

It is Christmas when our tears flow at our urupā, as we remember those no longer with us.   It is Christmas when we ask someone over for lunch who we know was otherwise going to be alone; when we package up a kai from our kuia and kaumātua, when we go out of our way to buy extra presents for those who have none.   It is a beautiful time, and an agonizing time. A time as the new year draws to reflect on the year that we have had, the great, the sad, the hard, the challenging. This Christmas, try to share the love with someone you know is struggling.   Go for a walk on the beach with them; pick some raspberries for them; sit and watch a movie together, talk, cry, rage, laugh, hug – and let them know they matter.

PILLARS reaching out at Christmas Time


I have recently been elected on to the board of PILLARS : a charity for children of prisoners.   This week at our monthly board meeting there was hardly room to turn without falling over the amazing generosity of the community who have been digging deep to support our tamariki mokopuna who this Christmas will be missing a loved one behind bars.

On any given day more than 23,000 children are affected by having a parent in prison in New Zealand.    Children of prisoners are among some of the most vulnerable children in our community. They are in a situation they didn’t choose, yet they face a sentence of their own. They become the invisible victims of crime and can become socially isolated and deprived. They need our support to live positive lives.

Click here to view a message from Pillars ambassador Miriama Kamo.

Angels of Arowhenua

Maria Parish from Arowhenua Whānau Services, packing up boxes of generosity to distribute across whānau in need: food, goodies and some presents for the kids.


Angels of Hope and Hangi

Tut Potai, Peter Tiwi and Mark Harris prepare the meat for service at the Angels Trio free Christmas dinner

Tut Potai, Peter Tiwi and Mark Harris prepare the meat for service at the Angels Trio free Christmas dinner


Last Saturday about 270 people were treated to a delicious hangi outside Victory Community Centre in Nelson.   Angels Trio champion, Chanel Faapue, said the event “was all about giving back to the community”.

This family has pulled out all the stops to give something special to other whānau.   As well as the hangi there were pony rides, a bouncy castle, face painting and gifts for the children.   And even a kai pack to take home the leftovers!

In the true spirit of whanaungatanga, Angels Trio were embraced by Taonga by Timoti, another Whānau Ora initiative supported by Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu who gave koha to support whānau at the lunch.

WildKrafty Aotearoa Opens

It’s been a great Christmas so far for Shane and Noel Hemi as they launched their whānau initiative at the first Māori night market for Whākatu.   WildKrafty Aotearoa is in collaboration with Ngāti Kuia, to support Noel and Sheane to achieve economic independence through their rongoā enterprise, along with plans to establish an online gallery.


Kia Kaha Chemist

Brendon McIntosh is a Māori pharmacist on a journey to understand how best to encourage whānau Māori to increase their engagement with the healthcare system.  His view is that by teaching whānau about their medicines, they are more likely to use them consistently and therefore more likely to stay well.

Brendon is supported by Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu to enable his personal vision  to promote healthier lifestyles in a bid to get whānau off medicines that are harmful for chronic diseases.  He has been travelling around Te Waipounamu developing a whānau plan or alternatives to manaaki the whānau with alternate options.

The goal is to support whānau in becoming self-sufficient; take an active role in their own health outcomes and day-to-day management of their medicines or health conditions.    He is pictured here with some of the community at the Corstorphine Hub. This week he was doing the Ōtepoti rounds: visiting Te Roopu Tautoko ki te Tonga; Te Kāika and Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Ōtepoti.


Mana Hi

Another ‘Navigator Tīnana’ contract with Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu is with Joyce Manahi in Bluff.  Joyce Manahi is a born-and-bred Southlander who works to support whānau to the best of their ability; in ‘walking the talk’ with whānau in supporting their wellbeing. Mana Hi is where whānau are being active together, regardless of age, ability or mobility, from pēpi to kaumātua.

This initiative takes a holistic approach to hauora, oranga wairua, oranga tinana, oranga whānau kotahitanga.  It is about teaching whānau how to dive for kaimoana whilst providing information and tikanga of the local foreshore Oreti.  Joyce introduces whānau to ‘Mana Whenua’, acknowledging significant Māori sites (Tākitimu and Bluff Hill/Motopohue, Te Anau; Te Ara a Kiwa), informing whānau of the whakapapa and myths and legends in and around the rohe of Murihiku.    As a result whānau become healthier in every aspect of their lives!

Whānau physical activity planning will be led by whānau, for whānau. Professional advice will be available to assist in nutritional needs with their core programme. This initiative is to take ownership of whānau wellbeing and growing self-determining healthy role models in their own whānau, hapū and iwi is the long sustainable outcome


New Māori Health Leadership Team

One of our team, Vania Pirini, represented Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu this week at the pōwhiri at Ōtākou Marae, welcoming the new Māori Health Leadership Team for Southern District Health Board and WellSouth Primary Health Network:

  • Gilbert Taurua, Chief Māori Health Strategy and Improvement Officer;

  • Peter Ellison, Associate Māori Health Strategy and Improvement Officer – Primary and Community Services and

  • Nancy Todd, Associate Māori Health Strategy and Improvement Officer – Secondary / Tertiary Services. 

Kathy Grant, the Commissioner for the Southern District Health Board provided a formal address to a capacity crowd.  Vania was particularly impressed by the performance and catering from one of our Dunedin-supported initiatives, Moana House.


Korimako Legal Training

This week over 120 of us in Ōtautahi and Ōtepoti were privileged to learn from six of the best in the area of children in care, and its relationship to Oranga Tamariki.

The intensive one day training session was to assist navigators and support agencies to work constructively with whānau who come to the attention of Oranga Tamariki. The training assists whānau who need to navigate the care and protection processes, including those within the Family Court system.   

It is anticipated that strengthening whānau capability, coupled with recognition of the new legislative references to mana tamaiti, whānaungatanga, whakapapa and the application of tikanga will:

(a) reduce the number of Māori children going in or remaining in care; and

(b) for those in care who are unable to return to whānau, it will ensure their connection to whānau, hapū, and iwi is maintained.

Participants should be able to assist whānau to be empowered to make decisions, utilising the strength of whānaungatanga and tikanga, to ensure better outcomes (both short and long term) for tamariki.

We had such an amazing training session – full of laughs, learning and insights:


Congratulations to Board members

A couple of shout outs this week: firstly to Jo McLean, graduate of a masters degree in Māori and indigenous leadership.

Jo, who represents Te Rūnanga o Waihao on the Ngāi Tahu Rūnanga and Ngāi Tahu on Te Taumata for Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu, graduated with merit.

And on our other board, I couldn’t resist this photo of our GPL Chair, Trevor Taylor, with his new mokopuna.  Trevor and Shona recently celebrated the birth of another mokopuna – now that’s Whānau Ora in progress!

bOARD cHAIR.jpeg

While we’re on the subject of shout-outs, here’s a few more:

  • Koha Kai in Invercargill has been busy preparing Christmas kai for the community including schools. They use the money they raise to put back into their initiative to continue to be able to support the community.

  • Bros for Change provide Christmas parcels to the whānau they work with to help over the holiday break.

  • Tū Pono: Te Mana Kaha o Te Whānau teams from Te Whare Hauora working with victims of violence and whānau dealing with difficult times of life, are delivered a taonga of aroha to relieve a bit from pressure on whānau.

  • We know whānau all over Te Waipounamu appreciate the dedication of their Whānau Ora Navigators who work to connect whanau to other support networks and charities in the community.

  • Corstorphine Community Hub supply food parcels year round for whanau with food from Kiwi Harvest and at Christmas they reach out to the community to provide presents as well.

  • All of our nine iwi partners provide various whānau Christmas events including special events for kaumatua.

  • Ngā Hau E Whā Marae in Christchurch provides Maara Kai buckets for Christmas lunch and also deliver Maara Kai to the doors of our kaumatua.

Last word for 2018

As we come to an end of the year, I want to personally thank each and every one of you for the massive sacrifice, the endless enthusiasm and the total dedication that you give out to all our whānau.   You do what you do because of your love for the people – and that is the greatest gift that anyone can give.

From my whānau to yours – please rest up and relax; spend time with those you love, and those you find a challenge; reflect on all you have to be thankful for; hold all our babies close; and know how very special you are to me and all our team at Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu.

Ngā Mihi o te wā Kirihimete.  Tino arohanui ki a koutou katoa


Our special gift this year was this beautiful mokopuna – Hine Te Kohurangi Te Marama o Te Pō.

Luke EganComment