Tohaina O painga Ki te ao - Share your gifts with the world
The atua, Rehua, lives in the highest of the skies. Rehua, Te Putahi-nui-o-Rehua resides in Rangi-tuarea, the tenth and highest of the heavens. The powers of Rehua are similarly legendary – having the strength to cure blindness, to heal any illness, to live beyond death.
And so it is, that whenever we congregate at Rehua Marae in Ōtautahi, our thoughts turn to strategy and solutions, answers from on high.
Its special location is also distinctive. Rehua is known as a site of special significance because of the puna or fresh water springs that emerge out of its ground. The formation of these puna and the myriad other waterways of Te Wai Pounamu is attributed in whakapapa to the ancestor Tūterakiwhānoa whose raking of the waka (the South Island) punctured it allowing the water beneath to flow through.
It's about inspiration and nourishment; feeding the soul, feeding the body.
Rehua was the place of course at which in the 1950s young men and women came to learn to be painters, mechanics, carpenters, joiners, chefs, hairdressers, builders. The Māori Trade Training scheme was the first of its kind in New Zealand. The rangatahi from across Aotearoa came to learn a trade and live together, in the whānau based hostels, Rehua Marae, Te Kaihanga and Roseneath Māori Apprentice Hostels.
This beautiful history that is felt and found in the wharenui, Te Whatu Manawa Māoritanga o Rehua, was a logical location for our hui this week, exploring the experiences of whānau with children in care. If ever there is a question that needs inspiration from above, and sustenance to keep us warm, this is it.
The Inquiry responds to calls from whānau to address what they describe as the intergenerational harm of Māori whānau through, removal of tamariki from their whānau. Our interest, as the Whānau Ora Commissioning Agency for Te Waipounamu, is to hear from whānau experience, about how the stated aims of whakapapa, whanaungatanga and mana tamaiti can be upheld in relation to children in care. This week we held hui in Ōtepoti (Te Roopu Tautoko ki te Tonga); Ōtautahi (Rehua Marae) and Wairau (Te Maata Waka ki te Tauihu).
It was wonderful to catch up with Mere Jouanides and the sisters that keep the Corstorphine Hub humming in Dunedin. They loved the wisdom of our kuia, Aunty Kiwa Hutchen, as we all do. She concluded our hui with her characteristic sharp-shooting – “we know what we need to do; we need to talk to each other more”. She told us to get our heads out from our devices, and pay attention to the whānau around us. How true.
At Rehua Marae in Christchurch we had a packed whare, graced with so many beautiful kaumatua and kuia; whānau leaders, whānau champions and our fabulous Nav Nation.
The Nav Nation had a two day retreat at the Blue Skies in Kaiapoi this week. The programme was jam-packed full of issues and ideas the Navigator workforce has been seeking discussion about, including:
Problem Gambling – Nicky Taylor
Financial literacy (MSD)
Methampthemine – Huata Arahanga
Pharmac / Te Pātaka Whaioranga
Basketball taking our tamariki on to new heights
This week some of our Navigator Tīnana were celebrating and supporting our tamariki rangatahi at the Te Wai Pounamu Ū-13 Basketball tournament. It would appear tha traditional favourites, rugby and cricket, are being tossed out the door for the growing appeal of action-packed sports like basketball and futsal.
We had many of our young people that attended Cross Over Coach Workshop that represented Rangiora and Canterbury. Rangatahi came as far as Whakatū (Nelson) to the bottom of Murihiku. U13 Southern Regional Championships had six rohe represented.
Whakatu V's Murihiku. Murhiku lost by 10
Ōnuku Rūnaka Mara Kai Whānau Ora Initiative –
The documentary about the initiative called Wānanga was announced as winner of the Indigenous Documentary section at the Top of the South Film Festival last week. Keelan Walker of Loud Noise Media in Te Tau Ihu is making a name for himself in the film industry with his keen eye for landscapes and capturing whānau through a Māori lens. The documentary was dedicated to the late Pere Tainui who was a Whānau Ora Navigator who played a major role in the film.
While we are up at the top of the South, this week our consultation around children in care rounded off with a hui at Maata Waka in Blenheim. Initial themes gathered by the wider research team across Aotearoa, include:
Systemic failure of the system to work with and for whānau, systemic racism, colonised view of Māori
Discriminatory practices, against young mothers, mothers who have themselves been wards of the state and women who experience mental health issues e.g. post-natal depression
Not just Oranga Tamariki needs an overhaul, all agencies involved need review e.g. Police, Courts, District Health Boards
Want a system that looks after Māori, driven by Māori concepts and values, not neo-liberal policy
Lack of process and knowledge for whānau to navigate Oranga Tamariki systems
Lack of education and support for parents, to be better parents, no provision for parenting programmes grounded in te ao Māori
Whānau not notified of uplifts and court dates, whānau are excluded from the process
Want to give whānau, hapu and iwi the opportunity to support
We had a great kōrero with Roy Ramsay (pictured above by Edwardene) at our hui in Blenheim – a foster parent who operates from his own lived experience in care, as well as spending love and care on supporting rangatahi on the streets. He also loves doing up classic cars!
Also hot from sunny Blenheim, is the news in featuring Te Pātaka o Wairau.
Te Pātaka o Wairau Māori Night Market is happening in Blenheim at Seymour Square on 25 October
This event is designed to showcase Māori businesses and products within our community and has proved popular with locals and visitors. The local legend award, a tradition of the market, will be presented on the night as this is a chance for us to pay tribute and say thank you to our Māori volunteers who work tirelessly for and within the Māori community. A fantastic night of entertainment with awesome kapa haka roopu and individual local singing talent.
Finally, our last word this week, is with our beautiful Aroha Reid.
Aroha Ann Reid passed away on Saturday, 5th October 2019.
Aroha has been a loyal servant and a dedicated advocate for Hokonui Rūnanga for over twenty years. Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu acknowledges her as a feisty dynamo; a keeper of stories, a weaver of wisdom learned from experience. We were proud to know she was an amazing ambassador of hope for the whānau she supported in her role as a Whānau Ora Navigator.
This week our Nav Nation paid honour to their dear friends and mentors, Matua Pere Tainui and Taua Aroha Reid. Greatly missed, always remembered. Rest in peace and love.