Beautiful waters reflect purity and wonder yet hide so much beneath


Title Photo: Chris Hillock (Ngāi Tahu)

The beautiful azure waters of the Waimea Inlet – on which the village of Mapua resides – reflect a purity and a wonder that can leave you breathless.   And yet within those still waters lives a complicated history.

One history is associated with the Ngāti Kuia/Ngāti Apa taniwha, Tutaeporoporo.   Tutaeporoporo, a shark, was the cherished pet of Tu Ariki. One day, Tu Ariki had not been seen for some time and Tutaeporoporo went looking for him; Tutaeporoporo got to the Whanganui River and the scent of Tū Ariki was there - he knew that he had been killed.   He started avenging the death of his master; killing people, swallowing whole waka. The river relations ended up going to Nga Rauru to ask for the help of Ao Kehu who was a famous dragon slayer. Ao Kehu hid, concealing himself in a log and before long, Tutaeporoporo, the taniwha, swallowed the log.  Ao Kehu then drew on the strength of his two maripi (knives), one with the name of Tai Timu; the other named Tai Paroa. With these two knives, Ao Kehu started to cut away at Tutaeporoporo from within the stomach and was eventually able to kill Tutaeporoporo. Peace was restored to the people of the river.

To this day, the story of Ao Kehu and Tutaeporoporo reminds us of a strategy that in order to address the challenges that face us, we must work within the system that we believe confronts us.   We need to know the shape of the taniwha, before we can outsmart it, defy it, and eliminate it.

There is another history associated with the pā and kainga at Te Tai Tapu, Golden Bay, Tasman Bay, and Wairau.   Since the early 1800s, whānau have made seasonal journeys to harvest from “food baskets” across Te Tau Ihu - to collect mahinga kai, rongoā and other natural materials.    Almost every type of kai Māori nō te moana could be found along the coast.

The estuaries and inlets are home to a huge number of mātaitai (shellfish), pāpaka (crabs) and other invertebrates. In the mud and sand, tūpuna collected tuangi (cockles), pipi, tuatua, pūpū, kūtai (mussels) and tio (rock oysters); from the rivers and streams īnanga, tuna and kokopū were harvested. In the breeding season, tāmure (snapper), kanae (mullet), herrings, pātiki (flounder) and sole, mango (sharks), kahawai, southern mackerel, koiro (conger eels), piharau (blind eels) and warehou were caught.

Little wonder that Mapua became associated with abundance.   Mapua and Te Mamaku/Ruby Bay settlement is located on the low coastal plain and hills at the northern end of the Waimea Inlet.   Ngāti Rarua, Ngāti Kuia, Ngāti Koata, Te Atiawa o Te Waka a Maui, Ngāti Apa ki te Rā To, Ngāti Tama ki te Tau ihu have mana here, whakapapa associations and history.   They have a responsibility and obligation to the place and its cultural, spiritual, historic and traditional values.

There is one more story to be told at this time.

The Waimea estuary also bears the painful legacy of decades of pesticide pollution by the Fruit grower’s Chemical Company.  In 1932 the Company opened a pesticide formulation factory. By the time it closed in 1988, 124 chemicals were being used to produce 84 different formulations.  In the 20th Century Mapua became one of the most contaminated sites in Aotearoa due to pesticide residues in the soils.

In 1989 the Tasman District Council took over the site and introduced measures to prevent leaching of the chemicals into the Waimea Inlet.  Some years later, in May 2012, a Department of Labour report revealed that some of the 30 people who worked on the cleanup suffered health issues including respiratory problems, nausea, collapsing and fatigue.

The proverb, still waters run deep, reminds us that sometimes what may appear on the surface to be a site of tranquility and peace, on closer investigation may have danger lurking below.

Kaupapa Taiao

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Over the last week in Bruce Bay, rangatahi have been swimming; breaking out into random haka; walking the trails; and heads down, searching for pounamu.  In other words they have been coming home to themselves – focusing on their own whenua and particularly the opportunities presented for current and future generations to connect and to retain the precious gift of knowledge.   Te Ara Taumaka commenced on the 11th January, with rangatahi of Ngāi Tahu descent; including those who were of Makaawhio.   The wānanga followed on from a previous wānanga – Te Ara Whakatipu in October.

Kaupapa Taiao has employed a rangatahi co-ordinator; they have successfully partnered with the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and Te Papa Tongarewa for a project focussed on science and mātauranga relating to Taumaka Island and they have brought on board their whānau who were flush with experience as professional guides, kaumātua, Iwi/Rūnanga managers/leaders, mahinga kai practitioners and traditional kaitiaki and land owners, ahi kā, story tellers and retainers of mātauranga

The focus of Kaupapa Taiao was to do all that they could to stretch wide and reach out to rangatahi.  They have identified three priorities for bringing them home:

  • Those who are culturally connected, living within the takiwā and in education

  • Those who are living within the takiwā, may have limited cultural engagement and not in formal education/employment

  • Those who may be completely dis-engaged culturally and not living currently within the takiwā

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Mana Rangatahi

Meanwhile in the land of Apa, rangatahi from Ngāti Apa ki te Rā To, have been engaged in Mana Rangatahi ki te hoe.   The Apanesian rangatahi have been coming together in wānanga to strengthen their connections to their culture, their whenua and their whānau.  Tūmeke!

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Ōtautahi doing it for ourselves

Last week Matua Norm made the very good point – what about us!!! It didn’t take long to reach some of the fabulous ways that Whānau Ora entities are coming together, building off their joint efforts, to create collaborations focused around hauora, waiora, Whānau Ora.

It was so wonderful to see some of the crew from Hale Compound Conditioning, joining together with Yoga Warriors, to become Warriors of the Moana.


Kia eke ki te taumata - Success for Māori in tertiary education –

This akomanga (workshop) is designed for all educators who work with Māori learners. Examine enhancing success rates, teaching with Te Tiriti o Waitangi in mind, understanding Māori learners and implementing kaupapa Māori.

Dunedin – 20 February 2019
Christchurch – 21 February 2019
9am – 3.30 pm
$320 + GST per registrant (lunch included)

Click here for further information on this workshop


Meeting with the Minister

We had a great meeting with the Minister on Wednesday – his first day back – and we were the first Commissioning Agency in the door.  He is really looking forward to the Wellbeing Budget – and I am sure we all are too!

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Cultural Advisor to Te Atiawa Tauhiu Trust

Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu was represented by Te Rā Morris, our Te Tauihu advisor, at the pōwhiri of Amai Thomson at Waikawa marae in Picton, on Monday this week.

Alishia and Kura Moeahu with Amai Thompson at Waikawa

Alishia and Kura Moeahu with Amai Thompson at Waikawa


PHARMAC awards scholarships

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How exciting it is to pick up the Pharmac magazine and see a range of scholarship awarded to Te Waipounamu recipients.

Pharmac has adopted a new logo, and name, Te Pātaka Whaioranga, ‘the storehouse of wellbeing’, which represents the part they are seeking to play in managing and safeguarding something that is valuable to our whole community.   The new name signals their commitment to Te Tīriti o Waitangi, and the work they’re doing with Māori communities, with Whānau Ora partners and Māori health professionals to help them achieve the best possible health outcomes for Māori from funded medicines.  The visual pattern that is part of their new design takes inspiration from the decorated carved slabs of many pātaka around the country.

Hiwinui Heke Award:

Recipients received $3000 towards furthering their study.   All three Hiwinui Heke Scholarship recipients attended Otago University.

  • Anthony Raumati (Ngāti Kahungunu Ngāi Tahu Matawhāiti

  • Anja Mulder (Waikato Tainui)

  • Ellery Fruean (Kahungunu)

2018 Tapuhi Kaitiaki NGNO Nurses.

These awards are to support Māori nurses to continue their studies and their clinical practice. They provide tautoko and manaaki for Māori nurses for their ongoing development in the New Zealand health system. The awards were launched at the Indigenous Nurse conference in August and will be run annually. Amongst the recipients who each received $2000-$2500 towards their study were

  • Maria Briggs (Ngāi Tahu, Ngāti Irakehu, Makō marae; Ngāti Whatua)

  • Kelly McDonald (Ngāti Kuia – Tutepourangi hapū, Te Hora Marae; Ngāti Rangitane ki Wairau – Te Huataki hapū, Wairau marae); Ngāti Tukorehe,Ngāti Raukawa

  • Grace Manawatu (Ngāi Tahu – Te Tapuae o Uenuku, Takahanga Marae)

Maria and Kelly are featured below receiving their award which acknowledges those Māori nurses who are on a professional development journey to become a nurse prescriber to advance their clinical practice and expertise. 

L-R, Maria Briggs,Awhina Dixon, Ani Tomoana and Kelly McDonald Beckett.

L-R, Maria Briggs,Awhina Dixon, Ani Tomoana and Kelly McDonald Beckett.



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Wave Nine Roadshow Schedule : Come along and find out what an ORA application is all about. Check out our events page for details of a workshop near you or our Facebook events page.

Luke EganComment