Paradise on Earth

When I was in my late twenties I spent a lot of time at St Arnaud, basking in the luxurious relaxation of Lake Rotoiti.   It was paradise on earth – the translucent clarity of the water, the call of forest birds, the tranquillity of the Nelson Lakes National Park.  There was nothing that could reenergise a flagging spirit than to walk along the lake shores, breathe in the alpine air and skim a flat stone for as far as I could throw it.   It was truly a sanctuary for the soul; a site for peace and rest.

As part of the Te Tau Ihu treaty settlement there are a number of features common between iwi which took on a shared statutory acknowledgment.  A Statutory Acknowledgement registers the special association iwi has with an area. It recognises the traditional, historical and spiritual association of iwi with places and sites within the iwi rohe.   Lake Rotoiti is one of those. It features in the statutory acknowledgment of Ngati Rārua; Ngati Kuia, Rangitane o Wairau, Ngati Apa ki te Rā Tō; Ngati Toa Rangatira; Ngati Tama ki te Tau Ihu and Te Atiawa o te Waka a Maui.

And so it was special – for many reasons, tribal and personal – to receive a story this week from Ngati Apa ki Te Rā Tō after an incredible excursion to Rotoiti, Mana Rangatahi.


Ngāti Apa ki te Rā Tō’s latest Mana Rangatahi wānanga wrapped up last week, with the biggest participation to date.

A group of thirty-six Rangatahi and support crew travelled to Rotoiti from all over New Zealand during the second week of the school holidays to immerse themselves in Apatanga.

Our flagship Mana Rangatahi programme is specifically designed to develop the next generation of cultural practitioners and leaders, and while still in the early stages there is no doubt, it’s having a profound effect.

“During this wānanga, the rangatahi who are part of the tutor training initiative, Ngā Toki Pakohe a Tamahau, have really stepped up to another level,” said Ngāti Apa ki te Rā Tō Cultural Advisor Kiley Nepia. “This signals that the succession plan of this model is working, and it’s not just reliant  on one person anymore.”

The winter 2018 wānanga wrapped up with a pōhiri whakatūranga and poroporoaki at Omaka Marae, attended by proud parents, kaumatua and wider the Kurahaupō whānau.

Tamati James Wilson and Kiri Pounamu Nepia were jointly named senior toa, while Mareikura Nepia took the award for junior toa.  Jake Andrell and Tanenuiarangi Norton also received a special mention for the hard work and commitment shown throughout the wānanga.

To see more photos and video from the wānanga, go to the Ngāti Apa ki te Rā Tō website.

Or link to the website page:


Social Media Breakfast

This week I joined 500 or so others for breakfast, to be enthralled and energised by a focus on social media.

We don’t have a choice on whether we do social media, the question is how well we do it. 89% of Kiwis are online.  That’s 4.2m out of 4.7 million people.

Of those, 74% are actively using social media.   In Christchurch alone there’s 430,000+ active users; by active we mean ‘online’ for about 1 hour 53 mins per day.

Comparing social media to traditional media – the single biggest benefit is that it is instantaneous.  In these times of instant everything, we are time-poor. Being relevant and up to date; providing an information-rich source of detail can leave us with more time to do the things that matter – that’s spending time with our whānau – not behind a device.

And for those who worry about such things – content is more than the latest meal you’ve eaten or the perpetual pose of a selfie-holic.   

The key to content creation is in four simple steps:

  • Make it simple

  • Make it memorable.

  • Make it inviting to look at.

  • Make it fun to read.  


And if you’re wondering who that poor innocent chap is that I had to strike a pose with, take a look at his incredible mastery on

Afterall 1.6 million viewers can’t be wrong!

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How to Navigate

Well we may not have a million viewer platform, but there is something pretty amazing about our Nav Nation and the managers who help our Navigators to be those stars.   This week we had the second hui of our working group of managers from the Navigator Agencies. Our aim is to collaborate in putting all the right supports in place to help our Navigators do what they need to do in working with our whānau.

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Digital Stories

Have a look at some of our latest releases, in terms of new digital stories

• Te Pā o Rakaihautu

• Te Ara Raukura

• Taonga by Timoti

• KOHA – Kia ora Hands Aotearoa

Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu commissioned these digital stories for entities to use as promotional tools and to share across social media platforms as a wider Whānau Ora awareness campaign.

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Whānau Whanake

Whānau Whanake is focused around mentoring a holistic approach to hauora; oranga wairua, oranga tinana, oranga whānau and kotahitanga. It aims to ensure that urban Maori have access to wellbeing activities that nourish both their body and soul towards healthy lifestyles. Intergenerational in its approach, it provides a range of different ways for whānau to engage, and incorporates reo and tikanga.

The hīkoi marae saw 74 whānau, from the age of six months to 71 years taking part. A number that attended the hīkoi whakapapa back to Riwaka. Whānau Tinana are physical activities and sessions that encourage whanaungatanga and manaakitanga with members of Whānau Whanake or with others in their own whānau. A private Facebook page encourages hui, wananga and korero, enabling rangatira from within the rōpu to lead events.

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Oranga Tangata, Oranga Whānau

Today in Wellington the inquiry into Mental Health and Addictions Hui met with the three Whānau Ora Commissioning Agencies at Toitū Pōneke Community and Sports Centre on Kilbirnie Park.   The hui was called by Tā Mason Durie on behalf of the Government Inquiry into Mental Health and Addiction. Tā Mason is one of the Panel members and wanted a round-table conversation about commissioning to which we were thrilled to respond. He had asked for a hui with the Whānau Ora Commissioning Agencies, their Boards, and some of their entities, to discuss the commissioning model as a relevant option for mental health and addictions.

Also attending the hui was Dr Jemaima Tiatia-Seath and some members of the Secretariat.

Attending for Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu:

  • Whenua Iti (Nelson)– Mike Elkington

  • Tokomairiro Waiora (Milton) – Dolly Ngapo-Hill

  • Moana House (Dunedin) – Jess Roscic and Takurua Tawera

  • He Waka Tapu (Christchurch) – Huata Noa

  • Ōnuku – Keefe Robinson-Gore

  • General Partner Limited Board – Donovan Clarke

  • Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu staff: Vania Pirini and Maire Kipa


Te Papori o Whakatere

Today was also the graduation and final day for our accelerator wananga, Te Papori o Whakatere, held at Te Ao Marama, at the University of Canterbury.   Today’s finishing touches were to:

  • Commence a long term strategic plan

  • Complete stocktake on current status of your kaupapa

  • Prepare and present a thirty minute ‘pitch’.

What a pleasure it was to be at their graduation.   Joyce Manahi shared her enthusiasm for Ka Tu Au : blending haka, yoga and taichi.   Savana Tukariri talked about her passion for the Piki Kids Club at Te Pa o Rakaihautu.  Kerepiti talked about the love for his Taua that has influenced his direction in taking Māori fashion forward.   And Jade McGuire brought us all to tears in asking us to listen to the cries of the kakapo and wonder what the call of the kokako or the much esteemed huia might sound.   The future is looking great with such talent coming to the fore.

Luke EganComment