Through rain and storm

The warmth of the balmy sun on the Kaikoura Coast road enticed me out of the car as I drove the slow road home on Thursday night.   We were stalled for over an hour in a long queue that wound around the Coast.   As the wind grabbed the door outwards I realised exactly why we were delayed.   The gusts of the wind pulled trees out of the ground and flung them across the road.   We were in for a rough ride home.

Meanwhile in Westport; Gina-Lee was evacuated as the heavens opened and the rains descended.  Not one to be fazed, she went out all the kaumātua homes to see that everyone was safe.  Trish drove home from Dunedin in flood conditions; and in Invercargill Serena – who was so excited about the summer heat one day was reaching for the extra blanket the next.   King tides; Cyclone Fefi and summer snow sure made for an eventful week.


I’d gone up to Blenheim to meet with Kaye McDonald from Oranga Tamariki.   It was great to hear about the work of her team – the kairaranga hou - Aroha  (of the Aunties fame!); the kairaranga: Louise, Sue – their kaitakawaenga; Jasmine – the kaiarahi.  It was great to hear about the different roles that kaimahi play in working with whānau, hapu and iwi; sharing the stories of their area; supporting caregivers to care for tamariki / mokopuna; finding all our babies a home.



Our Communications Advisor, Ranae Niven and I also spent some time visiting the Riverside Park which had been opened by manawhenua Rangitane o Wairau representative Paora Mackie at the end of last year.

While in Blenheim, I took a quick trip to Omaka Marae to see the developments that are taking place with the building of the kura on site.   It is so exciting to think that in just a matter of months,  the kura will be opening its doors to all those Pa Kids!

Kylie and Donna Nepia in front of the buildings in which the new kura will take place.

Kylie and Donna Nepia in front of the buildings in which the new kura will take place.


There seemed to be a lot happening in Wairau this week.  People from Waikawa Marae, the Department of Internal Affairs, Rata Foundation and Te Ra Morris, our Te Pūtahitanga contracts advisor  catching up in Picton this week on ways in which the funders and the whānau can work together.



Meanwhile at the other end of the motu, I loved these photos I received today which capture the essence of one of the beautiful initiatives championed in Dunedin - KOHA - Kia Ora Hands Aotearoa.

KOHA – Kia ora Hands Aotearoa Ltd specialises in rongoā mirimiri.  The target focus group is whakapapa Māori whānau who are māuiui, but also whānau who wish to strengthen themselves and their whānau.

Koha – Kia Ora Hands Aotearoa Ltd contracted a Rongoā Mirimiri Specialist - Te Aomihia Rangihuna to provide rongoā mirimiri sessions by using a holistic approach based on te reo Māori me on tikanga.

The use of te reo me ōna tikanga Māori is an integral part of the clinic.  Tikanga a rongoā comprises five kete, incorporating safe practises to ensure a delivery of quality rongoā care during the provision of mirimiri to tūroro. It takes on a holistic approach to whānau wellbeing with mauri principles of mana whenua through manaakitanga, rangatiratanga, pukengatanga, kotahitanga, wairuatanga, orangatanga and arohatanga.

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Camp Mother Extraordinaire


BIO – Sandra Stiles – WO Navigator DisAbilities

Supporting and helping people is what our extraordinary Whānau Ora Navigator Sandra Stiles (aka Camp Mother) is all about.

Sandra, who was brought up in Tarras - A small farming settlement in Central Otago, started her position at Nga Kete Matauranga Pounamu Charitable Trust 14 years ago at the Maori Support Centre at the Southern Institute of Technology, before moving into administration and then disabilities support work.

Sandra’s position as a Whānau Ora Navigator with a focus on disabilities supports whānau to live enriched lives and includes offering support, information, advocacy, advice and creating tailored plans to meet the client’s desired outcomes.

Sandra enjoys her role and especially being around the people at Nga Kete, supporting people and being able to help, and working with Kaumatua. “Our kaumātua have wisdom, skills, dreams and aspirations and it’s an honour to walk with them” said Sandra.

“Having brought up a daughter with disabilities I think it’s been a passion to work alongside people with disabilities and support them as much as I can.”

Sandra has a passion for people and catering – She often caters for weddings and rugby clubs as a hobby.

“I love seeing people happy and content.”

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Ngāi Tahu Treaty Festival – Te Rau Aroha Marae

February 6 @ 10:00 am - 4:00 pm

Nau mai, haere mai, tauti mai!

Te Whenua, Te Tangata, Te Waituna

Piki mai, kake mai
Ki Tārere ki Whenua Uta
Ki Awarua, ki Motu Pōhue
Ki te whakanui, ki te maumahara hoki ki kā mahi a kā tūpuna
Rātou mā i waiho kā taoka tuku iho ki a
Mātau kā kanohi ora hei kaupapa kawe ināianei.
Haere mai, whakatau mai
Ki te Rā o Waitangi.

Te Rūnaka o Awarua is proud to host the 2018 Ngāi Tahu Treaty of Waitangi Festival at Te Rau Aroha Marae.  You’re invited to come along and join us to celebrate and enjoy New Zealand’s special day.

10am  Pōwhiri

10.30am Screening of “Ata Whenua Revealed 2018”

11.30am The Ngāi Tahu Archive Team presents Kā Huru Manu – the Ngāi Tahu Cultural Mapping project, and the Tāngata Ngāi Tahu – People of Ngāi Tahu book; The Ngāi Tahu Whakapapa team presents He Rau Mahara – the publication paying tribute to the Ngāi Tahu soldiers of WW1.

 1pm Break for kai

 2pm Waitangi Day address by Tā Tipene O’Regan

 2.45pm Whakamana te Waituna – presented by Dean Whaanga

 4pm Poroporoaki

Bros for Change


To end the week on a high note, a few glam shots from the world premiere of the Bros for Change documentary.   I was so humbled to speak at such an important event.  You can read my speech here.  It was a night full of celebration and admiration for the incredible achievements of Jaye; Tieke, Ben and the ‘Bro’s Brigade’ who have worked passionately and persistently, to create a world worthy of the young leaders that they have invested in.

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