Ahakoa he iti he pounamu

How often have we heard the phrase, ‘Ahakoa he iti he pounamu’   In some interpretations it is said that “despite being small you are of great value”.  In others it is said that often the most humble is the most precious, the most treasured.

As we enter today into the rising of Puaka / Puanga, it is a good time to reflect on our blessings, to look back over the legacy of loved ones, and to plan for the days ahead.   Like the enduring beauty of pounamu, our whānau, our whākapapa, provide the foundations of a future that can stand as a touchstone for any path we may take. At times we need to polish that stone to bring out the glow; in other times we may take for granted the way in which our connections ground us.


The pounamu manawa above was carved by master carver, Gavin Thomson of Murihiku Pounamu.   This week we travelled to Invercargill to meet up with Gavin and his whanau, to catch up on progress.   Murihiku Pounamu has three core strands to their business:

1. Mahi wairua - bespoke commissioned carvings tailored to each client

2. Mahi mātauraka - tutoring

3. Mahi pakihi - products for the retail market

Gavin is a skilled carver who uses traditional technique, appreciating the importance of pounamu for cultural identity and healing.   in order to take his business to the next step, Gavin needed to increase his potential client base by creating a ‘Business’

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Murihiku.Pounamu/.  

Graduation of the first Whānau Ora Diploma students in the World

We were happy to be in Invercargill at Te Tomairangi Marae to participate in the graduation ceremonies of twenty graduates who had their certificate in Whānau Ora conferred.  The successful tauira who received their tohu were:

Michaela Baker; Alva Bennett; Maria Russell; Sandra Stiles; Ngatupuna Brydon; Janette Clarke; Glenys Cleverley; Mark Tuapou; Vanessa Whangapirita; Melissa Dennis ; Aroha Reid; Taylor Hill; Serena Lyders; Kendall Harrington; Te Kura-i-awarua Kenny; Honorlea Massarella Mangion; Chez Hapi; Jessica Cooper; Terry Monga; Kim Spencer-McDonald.

It was such a wonderful Matariki moment – to celebrate and congratulate the dedication and diligence of the Nav Nation+ who have attended five four-day wananga over the last five months, learning up about the impact of Te Tiriti o Waitangi; the expression of mana motuhake; the value of health literacy; the practice of whanaungatanga.

We congratulate all of the successful graduates who have put in the hours and the effort to take up a whānau-centred approach.


Warning : Cute Alert!

Whakaruruhau Limited in South Dunedin has created Whānau Smart, Whānau Wise / Whānau Hihiko Whānau Mahaki; an initiative designed by kōhanga reo whānau who had a desire to increase their financial literacy.

Whanau Smart, Whānau Wise creates whānau financial literacy plans, and involves all whānau from Te Kōhanga Reo o Whānau Paki.  Newly established Whakaruruhau Limited is a whānau-owned company that works closely with whānau, supporting whānau to take control over their financial goals.   The financial literacy projects target the following groups and a minimum of ten activities per quarter:

  • Under fives

  • Rangatahi pocket money

  • Rangatahi school leavers training

  • Whānau business ventures.

One story, in particular, really captured our hearts.  Ahakoa he iti, he pounamu. Indy Arbuckle, all of our years old, fell in love with a dress at the local Warehouse and decided it would be her heart’s desire to buy that dress.  She negotiated an arrangement with her whānau that for a series of household chores, she would receive fifty cents as pocket money.

Every week, when her mother went to the supermarket, across the road they would go and put that fifty cents as a deposit on the dress.   The timing was important – it had to be scheduled at the time of the weekly shop – this in itself was about financial planning.

Sometimes Indy had arranged with her brother or sister to do her chores for pocket money – that meant she had to pay off her debts before she could complete the final payment.   The smile on her face when Indy finally paid off her dress and got to wear it for her fifth birthday party is priceless: - such a beautiful story inspired us all to tears!

cute alert.PNG
cute 3.PNG

Ariki Creative runs branding workshop

Last weekend I had the privilege of attending the branding and marketing workshop run by Ariki Creative to support our initiatives to promote their mahi.

We are also taking on the opportunity of Matariki 2018 to launch two new digital stories

https://vimeo.com/266978017/1163615982 - Te Pā o Rākaihatū

https://vimeo.com/267011847 - Taonga by Timoti


Two of the keynote speakers during the weekend were Matt Brown from My Father’s Barber; and Hana Tapiata.   Both these speakers stirred something in me – a drive to be better, to learn more, to contribute in other ways, to make a meaningful impact.

Matt’s story demonstrated the need for safe places for men to be able to share the challenges and contradictions in every day life.   He uses the barber’s chair as a means of inviting a level of intimacy; encouraging conversations of honesty about the state of their world.


Hana shared the power of authenticity – referencing us to her blog “becoming self-aware through whakapapa and te ao Māori”.   In her recent trip home from Australia she stated her occupation at customs was ‘gardener’ in that her focus is to plant seeds of thought.   I loved the stories she shared of applying kaupapa to her life; being brave enough to let the world see her as she saw herself. Take a look at her blog this week to find out for yourself: https://www.hanatapiata.com/blog/mebeforeyou


News in Brief

Chemotherapy Clip - Demystifying Chemotherapy

Please find below the link to the Demystifying Chemotherapy Clip that has recently been filmed as an outcome of the He Huarahi Mate Pukupuku project with Te Waka Hauora.   The intent of this resource is to use when engaging with whanau around making decisions on treatment.  Please disseminate to relevant networks and use with whanau who are on the Cancer Pathway.


He Pataka Kupu

The Māori language dictionary He Pātaka Kupu  is now available as an app for iphones and android phones. A new online interface is also available at hepatakakupu.nz

Luke EganComment