Through collaboration and a shared vision we can create a better world

I see nothing. We may sink and settle on the waves. The sea will drum in my ears. The white petals will be darkened with sea water. They will float for a moment and then sink. Rolling over the waves will shoulder me under. Everything falls in a tremendous shower, dissolving me.” ― Virginia Woolf, speech

There are always times in our lives when hope seems a way off or the tears consume us.   This week I certainly felt the heaviness of sadness  sit on our shoulders as we said farewell to our daughter as she makes her way in the world.   Her journey is literally just across the Straits but the symbolism of the moment seemed enormous.

While our tears are for a moment in time, there are always times in life when these moments become overwhelming.   This week, some of our team attended the Global Indigenous Suicide Prevention workshop at Te Papa.   Maire Kipa and I presented about the Te Kō-ha suicide prevention workshop which includes a focus on the research that we have done with whānau who have experienced suicide.   You can read my speech here.

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There was a wonderful energy from the presence of rangatahi amongst the forum; but also a wider context for Māori and Pasifika whānau.


Recommendations from Whānau:

  • Suicide prevention should be made part of the health and physical education / hauora curriculum in schools.

  • Whānau and community groups, can be used to strengthen connections between and among whānau and prevent isolation.

  • Being connected culturally and with whānau needs to be a significant part of both suicide prevention and intervention.

  • A whānau-centred approach to recovery is necessary to prevent individuals from internalising and solely focusing on the experience of personal grief and loss.

  • A safe and open place for people to go to meet and talk to others.


Te Kaika

On Wednesday 28th February, we attended the opening of Te Kaika, along with a capacity crowd of whānau, of Pasifika peoples, and many Whānau Ora entities.  I saw representatives of A3 Kaitiaki; Moana House; Te Roopu Tautoko ki te Tonga; Arai Te Uru Whare Hauora; Corstorphine Hub; He Waka Kotuia and of course our Whānau Ora Navigators.   Dame Hon Tariana Turia started our day:


“It is a powerful vision of Ngai Tahu, to work together with your Commissioning Agency Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu; the University of Otago, Arai Te Uru Whare Hauora; Otakou Health and the Pacific community.   This is exactly what was always intended by the notion of Whānau Ora – that through collaboration and shared vision, we would create a better world for all our whānau to inhabit”.

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Dame Tariana went further to say:

Te Kāika embodies collaboration : the Mataora Clinic, School of Physio, School of Dentistry, Ārai Te Uru Whare Hauora, Kōhatu – Māori Division of Health Sciences and of course Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu.    It is a day to celebrate and acknowledge the persistence and unstinting faith of your team – Professor Peter Crampton; Donna Matahaere-Atariki, Albie Laurence and the partnership that Caversham represents.

It was a fabulous day, full of great connections as the communities across Otakou, who have come together to consider the best interests of whānau.

You can read my speech here.

Christine Maxwell from Te Roopu Tautoko ki te Tonga

Christine Maxwell from Te Roopu Tautoko ki te Tonga


Meeting with our Minister

This week, our Board Chair and I made a visit to Wellington to sit with our Minister and hear some of his dreams and aspirations for Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu.   The Minister have his impression of the positive work that is being undertaken and complimented us on our unique approach.


Next week, the Minister is paying a visit to some of our entities in Murihiku; Otakou; Timaru and Hokitika.   Please let us know if you would like us to support you in these visits.   And don’t forget to send us photographs!


Making sure our Maori and Pasifika people count – completing the census


Please make sure you complete the Census and support and encourage your contacts, colleagues and whānau to complete it. Here are some compelling reasons why this is especially important for Māori and Pacific:


The census provides most value only if everyone has been included. For people who don’t have a computer, tablet or smartphone or people who aren’t confident using them it’s going to be harder to complete this census without help. The risk is they might not bother.  . Together, we need to make sure Māori and Pasifika are represented by emphasising the importance of the Census and encouraging or helping our people to complete it.


The next census day is Tuesday 6 March 2018. People are being asked to complete it online on or before that date using a special number mailed to each address. If you want a paper version, you have to request one.


Census information is completely secure and confidential and the anonymous data it provides, informs what services we need to plan for and decides how funding and other resources are going to be allocated to health, education, employment and transport. Government funding to services is largely based on Census numbers.


What can you do to help

  • Make sure you complete the census and that everyone who lives with you does the same - or better still, do it with them

  • Encourage everyone you talk to between now and next Tuesday to complete the census– make sure they know about it and why it matters, and have received their letter and code or have requested a paper version

  • Offer your help, take a smartphone, tablet or laptop round to anyone who might not have one and go through it with them (you can always look away for very personal details like income)

  • Tactfully check in with your kaumātua, and wider whānau, especially if they don’t use a computer or smart device regularly, to see if you can help them complete their census

  • Share this letter, and the link to the census website as needed:

The more we know about the people in our community, the better we can understand and shape services that meet everyone’s needs. We make better plans and smarter decisions when we have the figures right.

For more details about the census, go to


Luke EganComment