The Path of the Kirituna


Mauri Tuna by Priscilla Cowie


Tuna pāhekeheke, huanga pāhakohako

Wily eels; collaborating relations


The migrating silver belly eels of autumn bring relations together to harvest them in great numbers; food for winter stores, koha and trade.

In the cooler air of an autumn breeze, I have been pondering the ‘wily’ tuna; their tenacity and resilience in surviving.  

The journey home of the tuna in their great eel migrations to the warmer waters of Tonga always fascinates me. How do they endure a swim of some 5000 kilometres; when do they know the time is right to begin the great voyage?   

‘Kirituna’ is a turn of phrase used to describe someone who is ‘thick skinned’ or tenacious. It can also mean someone who is resilient.    The tenacity of tuna to survive in heavily-polluted waters inspires us to know we can always find our pathway home.adventre

In our work with whānau, we encourage that tenacity – that plucky spirit that can be drawn on to get through the tough times.   It’s all about bringing out the inner kirituna in us all.


The Kai Shack

The theme of tenacity could not be more powerfully demonstrated than in the story of the Kai Shack of Ward.

Jo Edwards, and her husband Hayden were gearing up to launch their Whanau Ora initiative, The Kai Shack, a mobile food business, when they struck some problems with the supplier of their new truck. Jo and Haydon needed to get a refund due to poor workmanship and the supplier not meeting his legal obligations. After doing their due diligence and trying to get the supplier to refund their money, it wasn’t long before they could see a legal case was in sight.  Jo was able to team up with Dee Turner, case worker from Community Law in Marlborough to work alongside of her and they were able to successfully achieve the refund they were entitled to.
The opening of The Kai Shack is behind schedule but their dreams to run their own whānau business are still in sight.

Legal problems can be serious and frightening, and for many people lawyers are completely unaffordable. But everyone has the right to high-quality legal help – that’s where Community Law comes in. Whatever type of legal problems we struggle with, often the first and most important step is to ask for help.

Dee Turner, Maori Liaison / Caseworker from Community Law Marlborough and Jo Edwards of Ward.

Dee Turner, Maori Liaison / Caseworker from Community Law Marlborough and Jo Edwards of Ward.

This Monday coming, in Motueka, we hope to see everyone and anyone who is interested in Māori Housing turn up for a korero.

Wharekai, Te Āwhina Marae

Monday May 7th 11am – 1pm

This hui is for anyone who is interested in the establishment of Papakāinga Housing in the Whakatū – Mohua region of Te Tau Ihu.

Trustees/Board members/Directors/Members of Iwi/Hapū/Whānau Trusts/organisations, NRAIT, Wakatū Inc, ngā Marae, owners of Māori land………

Guest Presenter: Victoria Kingi (Ngāiterangi, Ngā Potiki, and director of Papakāinga Solutions)


Following a mihi whakatau, Victoria will facilitate a session with the objectives of agreeing an overall vision, electing a chairperson (spokesperson), and considering a high-level strategy that can be used as a starting point for discussion with Council and other agencies.

For catering purposes, RSVP by noon Thursday May 3rd, by return email or phone te tari 03 528 6061

Nau mai, Haere mai

Minister Sepuloni visits Te Kaika


It was a privilege to be invited by Otakou Health Inc to come to Dunedin this week and be part of the conversation with the Minister for Social Development, Hon Carmel Sepuloni; and the Regional Commissioner for Work and Income, Southern – Jason Tibble.

The Minister appeared very keen to hear about the way in which the parties are working together – the initial foundation of support from Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu; the use of iwi assets for social good – with Ngai Tahu Property leasing a building on site; and of course the social contract with the University of Otago.

Collaboration has been key to the success of Te Kaika.   

A vital part of the process has been developing a collaborative partnership between Te Putahitanga o Te Waipounamu, Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu, the Pacific Community, Te Mataora; Te Runaka o Otakou, the University of Otago and Araiteuru Whare Hauora.   The collaborative approach has also been extended to the local community of home owners to keep them fully involved in the development of Te Kāika and the benefits for their community.

Project champion, Albie Lawrence, describes it as a project of “disruptive innovation’

– bringing together iwi assets; a Whānau Ora approach; and a coalition of the willing

– community leaders willing to the light the fire of transformation .

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The Navigator Managers in Town

What a wonderful day we had with our Managers, Chief Executives, Supervisors, Quality Control managers, kaiwhakahaere – those who are the champions for our Navigators.   We had some great information sharing, analysis and reflection, about some of the key findings in our research and evaluation about the Navigator workforce.

As an example, the navigators identified a list of key attributes they believe are essential for effectively fulfilling the roles and functions of Whānau Ora navigation :

  • Local knowledge (e.g., of the community and the whānau)

  • Life experience that builds connection, empathy, open-mindedness, tenacity, and strong personal values

  • Ability and willingness to learn new things, to listen attentively to whānau, and to communicate effectively

  • Ability to work with others and to build, manage, and maintain necessary networks and useful relationships

  • Cultural confidence, knowledge and competency  in ‘Māori frameworks of practice’

It was also fascinating to see the range of skills and qualifications included within the Nav Nation.

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It was such a great opportunity to share key questions about how to know we are making a difference; to discuss how we stay in touch, whether the term ‘host agency’ is the right term for a Whānau Ora agency; how do we follow earning sufficient for their own whānau wellbeing?

During the course of the hui we announced the list of ten Whānau Ora Navigators who have been selected to attend a three day legal training session in June 2018 at Te Piringa Waikato Law School.   The purpose of the training is legal education to support whanau when they come to the attention of Oranga Tamariki and/or the Family Court

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Those who selected to attend the training are:

  • Puna Brydon – Dunedin

  • Brenda Warren – Timaru

  • Chantal Harris – Christchurch

  • Mark Tuapou – Invercargill

  • Felicity McMillan – Temuka

  • Gayle Brislane – Christchurch

  • Telesia Moale – Christchurch

  • Karen Mills – Christchurch

  • Kylie Jane Phillips – Christchurch

  • and Serena Lyders

Tū Pono Comes to Arowhenua

‘Tū Pono: Te Mana Kaha o te Whānau’ is a whānau-driven movement to enable stronger Māori driven responses to reduce and eliminate family harm/violence. The Tu Pono Network is working with local Tū Pono champions to facilitate community hui right across Te Waipounamu, so that we can share this important kaupapa and find our own solutions.

To find out more go to or check out the Facebook page for updates and events being held: Tū Pono: Te Mana Kaha o te Whānau.

Please have a look at these clips: - Standing in our Truth : Tu Pono - Te Mana Kaha o te Whānau - A Pathway of Hope and Light : Kei roto ko te Kore, Ka Puta te Ao Marama

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Crown-Māori Engagement

As an earlier blog shared, Hon Kelvin Davis is travelling around Aotearoa with a consultation programme looking at some key conversation starters about how the Crown Māori relationship

  • ensuring Treaty settlements continue to be progressed (there is a suggestion all settlements can be concluded within three years);

  • ensuring any Crown commitments made in Treaty settlements are monitored and followed up on;

  • expanding Crown/Māori partnerships beyond a settlement/grievance context towards shared social and economic wellbeing objectives;

  • developing new means to resolve Crown/Māori partnership matters outside of Treaty-based litigation; and

  • upskilling Government officials (and Ministers) in ways of working with Māori

So put it in your diary now… weekend …..time to share your views…..

Where: Invercargill

Venue: Murihiku marae, 408 Tramway Rd, Heidelberg

Date: Sat 12 May, 9.30am

Where: Hokitika

Venue: Arahura Marae 1 Old Christchurch Rd, Arahura

Date: Sunday 13 May10am

The Māori Electoral Option

Ko te Kōwhiringa Pōti Māori te wā hei whiriwhiri ko tēhea te rārangi pōti mōu: te Rārangi Whānui, te Rārangi Māori rānei.

He kōwhiringa hira tonu tēnei. Ko te rārangi e kōwhiri koe hei whakarite ko wai e pōti ai koe ā ngā pōtitanga whānui e rua e tū mai.

Māu tonu e kōwhiri.

The Māori Electoral Option is your chance to choose which electoral roll you want to be on: the General Roll or the Māori Roll.

It’s an important choice. The roll you choose determines who you can vote for at the next two general elections.

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Luke EganComment