The prospect of snow is always greeted with great excitement from our whānau.
Facebook erupts as the whānau share their shots of a crisp, white lawn; trees dressed in a draping of snow; the first flakes of snowfall being captured to the joy of all. For children under Koro Ruapehu, the snowfall represents Matua te Mana in all his majesty – his glorious stature highlighted by the wonder of his winter coat.
There is another view of that pristine landscape – that each time the snow falls and redesigns our visual landscape, we get another chance to create new footprints; to start anew.
And so as the weather reports proclaim ‘treacherous weather descends’, ‘warning of icy conditions ahead’ it always paints a different picture than the one we know.
This week, however, the impact of the winter chill certainly came upon our team in the South as they continued the Wave Eight roadshow in Dunedin and Invercargill. Maania, Trisha and Vania were on high alert as they carried out the roadshows for the South. The icy roads created the conditions by which we sadly had to also cancel our proposed roadshow in Queenstown. Our apologies to all who had planned to be with us.
I have been traversing the South Island roads in my navigator journey again this week – stopping in at Te Ora Hou (Christchurch); Te Puawaitanga ki Otautahi; and in Blenheim: Te Hauora o Ngati Rarua and Nga Maata Waka ki te Tau ihu. I WAS meant to be with Uruuruwhenua in Alexandra as well – the weather put a stop to that.
I had a great treat visiting Alison and Priscilla in Te Puawaitanga ki Otautahi and seeing the spectacular art work that Priscilla creates in her spare time. This portrait of Priscilla and her youngest child, demonstrates the vigour of the first five years – the colour of he kakano – the seed that we seek to nurture and grow to its full potential. Just beautiful.
It was good to spend a while with Jono and Sharon at Te Ora Hou talking about the journey from rangatahi to rangatira, in their work with young people. Jono had a particularly vivid analogy for Whānau Ora : Whānau Ora is like a trampoline – sometimes the springs are rusty or broken – but it is better than having no springs at all. Indeed the more springs (layers) the better!
After time at Te Ora Hou I went to view for myself the portraits that had featured in their recent exhibition, which now is proudly displayed on the outside walls of the Papanui Library. The concept was all around self-image. It is so inspiring to see rangatahi take on the world with attitudes of such passion and determination.
The Māori Job Squad
Something very special happened this week in the signing of an agreement between Tokona Te Raki (Māori Futures Success) ; industry training organisations (Building Construction Industry ITO; Competenz; Connexis; Skills Org) and Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu. The signing of the MOU took place at Rehua Marae. It was poignant indeed to have one of our kaumātua who was so instrumental in establishing Māori Trade Training, Matua Terry Ryan; with Te Marino Lenihan – the Kaiārahi – Director Māori for ARA Institute of Learning.
The four key ITOs are closely aligned with high value careers and apprenticeships and the existing He Toki industry partnerships. One of the really exciting things about the night was the explicit commitment of the industry stakeholders to work with our Whānau Ora Navigators – coming to a town near you!!! The Māori Job Squad is going to be focusing on bringing out the jobs so that all our whānau benefit from the opportunities. Ka mau te wehi!
Arise Dame Tariana!
How proud are we of Dame Tariana Turia who on Friday night was awarded the Blake Medal, the premium award for leadership achievement in New Zealand, by the Sir Peter Blake Trust. The Blake Medal is given to acknowledge and celebrate an extraordinary New Zealand leader who has made an exceptional contribution to the country.
Dame Tariana is a leader with tenacity, vision and an unwavering drive to help others and the Blake Medal recognises her courageous leadership and determination to do everything she can to raise Māori achievement, health and prosperity.
When I was approached for a comment on her remarkable achievements, this is what I said:
Dame Tariana is a servant-leader who seeks contribution and guidance from all members of her team.
“Every day, she served in the best interests of her people. She believes in conducting conversations in such a way that they enhance the mana of others. She is inspirational in word and action, and the perfect choice to be the first Māori woman to be given the Blake Medal.
“What she has done has been transformational for this generation and generations to come. She has been a huge advocate for placing hope and faith in the ability of all our families to care for themselves and that’s a great leadership legacy.”
Whānau Ora Review Panel Takes on Te Waipounamu
Our week ended on an absolute high, with the Whānau Ora Review Panel in town, to listen, watch and feel the impact of the commissioning approach as it rolls out in Te Waipounamu. We were treated to an absolute hakari of talent and commitment as along with my amazing staff, the following entities and whānau shared their experience with the panel:
The General Partner Limited Board
Te Taumata our iwi stakeholders
Whānau Ora Navigators : Kylie-Jane Phillips and Ngaire Briggs
He Whakapiki Mauri : Ruth Jones and Waikura McGregor
Bros for Change : Jaye Pukepuke
Hale Compound Conditioning: Manu and Corey Hale with their taonga Tiria
Linda Ngata, Kaikoura Earthquake
An interactive map – Ariki Creative
Michelle Turrell and Amber Clarke : Oranga Tamariki and Te Runanga o Ngai Tahi
Dr Eru Tarena, Tokona Te Raki
Corstorphine Hub, Dunedin
Cazna Luke and Sacha McMeeking – Te Papori o Whakatere
Dr Lorraine Eade : The independent assessment panel
Ihi Research and Evaluation : Cath Savage and Hemi te Hemi
Piwi Gwyneth Beard and mokopuna, Aka and Tane
It was an amazing race – Whanau Ora speed dating – but it gave a wonderful glimpse into the richness of opportunity, the diverse experiences and responses; and the impact of reach and coverage across Te Waipounamu. There was barely a dry eye in the house by the end of day when those two brave young men, Aka and Tane, spoke about the waiata they had written to honour Tania Mataki : a song they want to share at their upcoming whanau wananga – ‘no more violence’.