Kia Kaha te reo Maori

I have felt like a raging lion was let loose within my soul this week.   

A situation occurred at an event my son performed at, which had the impact of making him doubt himself.   Adult behaviours and adult conversations went down; leaving him to ask me the question, “is it because we’re Māori?”

This is the same boy who every morning, without fail, almost causes the shower to collapse; such is the force of his haka.   The same boy who sees every supermarket aisle, every carpark ramp, every elevator as a platform to pūkana; to express the ihi, the wehi, the mana of the man.   A boy who loves being Māori.

Such was the impact on him that first thing in the morning and last thing at night, he would share different reflections he had about what had happened and how it made him feel.  In turn, I have felt truly unhinged as I think about that simple question he asked me – and wondering how to provide an answer which will be honest, will be meaningful and will enable him to always know he is born of greatness and nothing or no-one can ever change that.

That’s when the lion in me comes out.  My greatest – and burning – hope is that all our children know the power of their unique strengths; appreciate their cultural treasures; utilise their distinctive talents; and understand their unique histories; stories and ancestors.  In other words, falling in love with themselves.

Being Māori; speaking te reo rangatira; has been promoted, enhanced, celebrated from every angle this week.   We have seen young and old alike walking the streets of Wellington, on the language hikoi which marked the start of te wiki o te reo Māori.

Rangitane ki Wairau has been truly inspirational in the range of events they held this week : including the fabulous power couple – Stacey and Scottie Morrison; and the magical reo-speaking, kai-cooking Anton Matthews and FUSH.


And for those who are observant you might have noticed the same whānau appearing in both photos from Omaka Pa – the Nepia whānau.   Featured below is Te Ao Mārama Nepia, 13, who next week will be competing in the national Nga Manu Korero speech competition in the junior Maori section.


It seems all around the motu, our rangatahi are preparing to go to Gisborne next week for the Manu Korero comps.  It was such a wonderful thrill to have an impromptu performance this week by two of the Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o te Whānau Tahi students who will stand on the Manu Korero stage next week : Rawiri Pomare and Wai Takoha Kamariera, featured here with Matua Ramon Roberts.

Our very best wishes to all our rangatahi, their whanau and their kura as they travel to Te Tai Rawhiti!  Kia Kaha, kia maia, kia toa!


The Whānau Tahi team were at the opening of the new facilities for Te Wananga o Aotearoa in Christchurch this week.  The premises in Manchester Street are overflowing with some stunning art works, Wananga branding, taonga and the irrepressible enthusiasm of the tauira equipped with a wonderful new home.


And it was good to catch up my great friend, the new Chief Executive of Te Wananga o Aotearoa, Hon Te Ururoa Flavell.   Te Wānanga o Aotearoa is the country's second largest tertiary education provider, providing training and education to almost 32,000 tauira last year and employing more than 1700 staff throughout Aotearoa.   Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu is looking forward to more discussions about how we might work together in the learning space for whānau.

2018 Te Mata Punenga o Te Kotahi Research Symposium

Invitation to participate in the 2018 Te Mata Punenga o Te Kotahi Research Symposium, being held at Te Wharewaka o Pōneke on the 24 - 25 October 2018. This will be an interactive two-day symposium that will feature research work undertaken by or in collaboration with Te Kotahi Research Institute in the following areas: Te Reo me ngā Tikanga, Ako: Education, Kaupapa-ā-iwi, Historical Trauma and Hauora. 

Research Symposium Presenters include Associate Professor Leonie Pihama, Associate Professor Jenny Lee-Morgan, Herearoha Skipper, Tammy Tauroa, Professor Linda Tuhiwai Smith, Ngaropi Cameron, Alison Green, Rau Hoskins, Hinewirangi Kohu-Morgan, Dr Mohi Rua, Dr Cherryl Smith, Rihi Te Nana and Dr Jillian Tipene.

Any queries can be sent to:
Papahuia Dickson | Operations Manager | | 07 838 4426


We had a busy week this week, attending the Child Poverty Action Group summit, and the bi-annual conference for Te Pou Matakana.

In many ways the Child Poverty summit told us – reinforced – what we know.  Poverty is an outcome of a complex system. People who experience poverty talk about it differently.   People experiencing a problem need to be active in co-designing a solution for it to be effective. Communities are self-organising systems that are highly capable of contributing to solutions.   Communities, if supported, can develop their capacity to have an impact on a social problem, be more resilient, exploit an opportunity. All of these aspects are features that we know distinguish Whānau Ora – the making of local solutions; the dedication to intergenerational wellbeing.


In the Pou Matakana conference, their Pou, Hon Dame Tariana Turia raised some interesting questions about the cross-government commitment to Whānau Ora:

“I want to challenge this notion that culture could be incongruous with the concept of intergenerational wellbeing, because it raises an alert, that simply adding the word wellbeing into the policy title, doesn’t mean any great change will occur for whānau – and most particularly – for the application of the Whānau Ora approach.

With the 140 plus reviews scrutinizing every aspect of government policy, and the explicit monitoring of our Whānau Ora Commissioning Agencies by the Whānau Ora Review Panel, we are more than familiar with being under the public spotlight.   Some might say it’s nothing new.

But what we are not seeing in all these reviews is how are all the big-spending, super-Ministries; the sector-silo departments performing when it comes to Whānau Ora?  Are we seeing the books of the Education Ministry; of Oranga Tamariki; of Vote Health being pulled out for how they impact on whānau outcomes?

Is the State Services Commission being asked to report on those departments who understand how to support Whānau Ora?   Do we see the office of the Auditor General asking for a line-by-line review of expenditure by all core government appropriations on making Whānau Ora sustainable?


This week brings to an end a series of reporting workshops, led by our outcomes specialist Sue Quinn, as she has worked with Wave Eight applicants across Te Waipounamu.   Here are some of those who attended the workshop in Wairau.

Luke EganComment