Ngā mihi mo te tau hou ki a koutou katoa!

Over the summer break, our whānau ventured into the Forgotten World.  

While it's only 150 kilometres long, the long winding trail between Taumarunui and Stratford meanders through a beautiful foray into yesteryear.  The shingle road hugs the rugged contours of a lush fern-filled landscape, looking out over the wonder of the awa below. Over the Whangamomona Saddle we were bedazzled by spectacular views in every direction, culminating in the magnificence of maunga Taranaki.

Of course, there is always a Whānau Ora allegory to be made.

One of the gifts of experience that Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu has received from whānau is their insistence and passion for returning to the kaupapa of old, the ways of being and cultural signposts that critics might imply are long-lost relics of a forgotten time.  Not so, our whānau proudly proclaim. The legacy passed from generations before, about how to live collectively, to be guardians of our land and sea, to focus on strengths and planning for our mokopuna, are at the forefront of some of the most revolutionary, refreshing thinking that whānau in Te Waipounamu model.  It is indeed gold for the soul to return to the love of whānau as our motivation for action.


New Zealand Life and Leisure Inspiring Aotearoa

How fantastic is it to pick up this month’s feature, and find profiled on the front page and within : the Omaka Marae aunties and their kawakawa jelly, and the Abel Tasman Waka journey of Todd and Lee-Anne Jago.

‘Aroha in a Jar’ describes the transformation represented by Omaka Marae of Blenheim, in their commitment to ‘pā ora, pā wānanga’; a strategy to be self-sustaining.   The article describes their aspirations to follow the learnings of the ‘aunties of old’ who kept the marae pantry stocked with preserves, while at the same time supporting whānau to learn about rongoā Māori, growing their own in the maara kai, and selling the products to help raise funds for all that they want to do.  One such initiative is the ‘Mahana initiative’ which involves buying merino baby blankets for local whānau in need.


The other article ‘Our Journey Our Life’ – represents the remarkable energy, expertise and enthusiasm of Lee-Anne and Todd Jago in their initiative based on the picturesque waters of the Abel Tasman National Park.   Co-incidentally when the magazine arrived on my desk, I had just received the 10 January report from Waka Abel Tasman. Some of the comments in that report from participants are just so positive I have to share:

The best thing about Waka Abel Tasman is:

Being able to go as a full family (three generations from 2 to 72);

  • The team work and exposure to Māori culture

  • Connecting the whole whānau into cultural activities

  • Travelling as a crew and the squeals as we hit the waves.  The process of mihi whakatau that helped us work together

  • Lee-Anne is an amazing and magical power-woman.  She is the best ever!

  • Kaiteriteri (and other similar locations) are full of activities aimed at tourists, but very few place so much emphasis on traditional values and indigenous culture.

The fabulous Lee-Anne Jago (photograph Oliver Weber)

The fabulous Lee-Anne Jago (photograph Oliver Weber)


Kaikōura Rangatahi Pūmau cultural activities week

Monday 14th-Friday 18th January; 1.30pm – 4.30pm

Venue: Te Ahi Wairua o Kaikōura, 82 West End ( or

For : Year 7-13 students

Why : games and sport, mau patu, learn your mihi, mahi toi, mau rākau, raranga harakeke, whakapapa and identity connection, Just be your #selfie project.

Ngā Mahi a Poutokomanawa

I love receiving all the reports that come in at the end of the quarter.   I thought that I would share three reports, the first being from Whakaruruhau in South Dunedin.  As part of their ‘Whānau Smart, Whānau Wise’ project they have been developing a number of really exciting initiatives:

  • Rangatahi pocket money (establishing a positive work ethic towards earning)

  • Maara kai

  • planter boxes (the concept of professional stencilling original Māori designs on to the planter boxes to create a marketable product)

  • Training and education (the message of the young adults to their whānau is ‘don’t be afraid to follow your dreams’).

The vision of Whakaruruhau ltd is represented by four focus points : whānau hope; waiata harikoa, kaireka and visual whakataukī from inside.  They describe their focus as “whānau owned, whānau driven and whānau measured”. A beautiful demonstration of this was evident in the following kupu from Parearau:

“What drove me to get myself into money management was my six year old, Indy.   …I was truly inspired. I thought right if my six year old can do what she is doing then I can do anything. I thought I must make a change somewhere and jumped on board in order to support my babies.  One of the first things I learnt was the difference between wanting and needing. Took me a while to comprehend the two. It came to a point I had to factor out the wanting altogether. It was tricky at the start but I soon learnt to manage bills etc properly.  I can proudly stand with my babies and say we have all saved our first grand together When at the bank my babies will tell us/me how much they want to save. With the rest left over, my babies have learnt to buy something for the house like bread or washing powder.   They too have learned about the budgeting of money and why it is important to save……Last but not least I can say….I am financially stable. Yaay. Me and my whānau have made it”.

Stories like this one always make me cry.   They show me the amazing courage of our whānau; the vital importance that the wellbeing of the whole whānau makes in encouraging and prompting change.   The determination, the honesty and the raw strength of Parearau to address the things that need to be changed in order to create a better future for her four children, stand as a glowing example not just to the transformative power of Whakaruruhau and its amazing kaimahi, but also to the inspiration of a six year old child, and the possibility that hope brings.


Maranga Mai te Waipounamu

On the 01 October 2018, an agreement was signed between Nga Kete Matauranga Pounamu Charitable Trust in Invercargill and Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu to deliver five Whānau Ora connect/wellbeing events that raise awareness of the protective factors of Māori suicide prevention, prioritising planning for whānau living in geographically isolated areas, who are culturally and socially vulnerable.   Those five regions are: Motueka, Kawatiri, Ōtautahi, Ōtepoti and Murihiku.

Maranga Mai is a call to action, a whānau ora suicide prevention campaign.  It asks all people to rise up and stand stronger together, united in hope and aspiration for whānau, iwi and communities.  Kotahi te aroha, Kotahi te whānau – Maranga Mai.

On Sunday, 02 December 2018 Maranga Mai Te Waipounamu was launched at the annual Murihiku event.  Maranga Mai Murihiku is suicide prevention expressed through the medium of kapa haka, whanaungatanga and community connectedness.  Maranga Mai Murihiku was celebrated by over 300 whānau and performances were presented by eight groups celebrating and promoting iwi identity and cultural connection with whānau, hapū, iwi and marae.

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Finally, a wonderful report was received in the form of a photo journal from start of land clearing and Apiary work on the proposed Kanuka plantation area in the land of Ngāti Kuia in the Wairau.   Talk about challenge! Clearing three metre high gorse too four entire weekends, by hand, to complete.


As part of the process, the firewood will be sold to whānau as another source of revenue.

Sophie and Julia stacking Taua and Grandad’s wood shed. Dec 2018.

Sophie and Julia stacking Taua and Grandad’s wood shed. Dec 2018.


Looking down onto the area cleared to be planted in kanuka, and the first piles to be burnt.

Ngāti Kuia see the use of Kanuka at the forefront of their vision.  They recognise the plant has many uses, including for oil, Waiputiputi, tea and honey.

New queens bred from larvae were selected from their best town beehives. From these queens, the team have done splits and nucs for expansion of hives, and koha cells to whānau.  There are now strong hives with good bee numbers. Note how the bees are clumping around cells. These larvae were selected from good stock and hand grafted with an artist brush


Nigel Costely with Ngati kuia students at Titiraukawa apiary as part of the as part of the Ngati Kuia Beekeeping course. There have been additional apiary visits which students are more than welcome to attend for extra bee handling.


And from the nucs, queen cells, virgin queens and now mated queens, finally the products are a tribute to the commitment and the dedication of whānau.  It is fitting therefore to leave the last word to them:

“We would like to share our experiences, our knowledge, experts and our vision to whanau to show that with a bit of hard work we can live sustainably on the whenua, are kaitiaki of the whenua, we are self-managing within our whanau and that financial stability can be achieved”

“I used the kanuka Waiputiputi on my baby and pre-schoolers sheets, it was the first time ever they both slept through the night, so we all woke up refreshed and happy’”

Luke EganComment