The fireworks in our eyes


Don't look to the sky for fireworks when you can watch them light up in the eyes of all the people passing by.  

- Tyler Kent

Everyone has an opinion on fireworks. It is a frivolous waste of money; a dangerous weapon in the hands of the not-so-wise; a reminder of days gone by gathered around the bonfire and clutching a thin metal sparkler dazzling in its magic.   I remember the marvel of painting names in the sky with my sparkler, trying to finish my work of art before the lightning rod fizzed out. Being in awe of the flowing geyser of stars; amazed by the spinning wheels, wary of the stumpy fat crackers; little red Tom Thumbs, or the boom box.

So tonight when the tamariki and I went to New Brighton pier, along with half of Christchurch, it was both a moment of nostalgia and my duty to share this rite of passage with our mokopuna, just 18 months old.  She’d sneak a peak up at the exploding sky from under her hoodie and then cuddle into me, sneak another glance, and then snuggle up once more.

And I guess that’s what it all comes down to – instead of looking upwards for inspiration, perhaps we need to focus instead on the reflection of wonder in the eyes of our young ones.  To take in their delight; and to be content in the knowledge that their happiness is paramount in our life. It’s taking the time to snuggle in; to lift them high enough to touch the sky and to catch them on their fall.

There were stars in the eyes of all gathered at Tomairangi marae in Invercargill on Friday to celebrate our 2019 Invercargill tauira graduating in The New Zealand Certificate in Whānau Ora Level 4 and the New Zealand Diploma in Whānau Ora Level 5.

The gathering of so many of our amazing Whānau Ora Navigators at the graduation is something to be really proud of.  We are all the better for your achievements. What’s more, we know all our whānau will benefit. Congratulations

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This week saw the inaugural awards of Community Research who are developing research capability in the Tangata Whenua, Community and Voluntary Sector.   

It is said that there is no power for change greater than a community discovering what it cares about.   In taking the step to recognise and celebrate new and emerging researchers through the award, Te Auaha Pitomata, is giving value to the extraordinary journeys that whānau, hapū, iwi, travel in their collective pursuit of aspirations. 

Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu has supported Te Auaha Pitomata, sponsoring the Te Waipounamu award. Our strategic advisor, Ivy Harper, spoke at the awards ceremony to honour the work of Ngāi Tahu / Kati Mamoe researcher, Gloria Fraser, and her particular research interest in rainbow mental health.  One of the outputs of her research is a brilliant guide and posters, all free to download here -

Gloria Fraser was motivated by the alarming rates of mental health difficulties experienced by rainbow communities across Aotearoa - that is, among those who are sexuality, gender, and sex characteristic diverse.   She asked the question: do rainbow community members feel supported by mental health professionals? In her search for answers to that question she relied closely on rainbow community organisations Gender Minorities Aotearoa, InsideOUT, and RainbowYOUTH.

The award was presented at Wharewaka Function Centre  in Wellington.


Whānau Ora through a rangatahi lens

This week, two of our team, Huata Arahanga and Kahutane Whaanga, took to the waters in sharing a presentation to the National Iwi Chairs hui in Waikawa (on a boat).   As they shared their stories about Bros for Change, Tuia Te Tai Poutini, Rangatahi Tumeke, He Waka Kotuia and other such amazing initiatives, the boat travelled through to a small cove called Ships Cove where Captain Cook moored his ship. The original name for this bay is Meretoto named after the tupuna buried in that area.   Tini whetū ki te rangi, Rangitāne ki te whenua!


The Cooking School – Te Rūnanga o Ngā Maata Waka, Otautahi

This project is to ensure that everyone in the community of Otautahi is afforded the opportunity, ability and confidence to access healthy and acceptable diet for themselves, their families and their communities. 

The initiative is to work within low-income communities and to develop cookery activities to develop the skills, knowledge, and confidence of those they work with.  They aim to use cookery as an enjoyable educational activity that enables the team to set up a community kitchen. It is based on the experiences of community groups and agencies throughout Christchurch East District in the first instance, including those with experience of delivering cookery courses for many years and shows how they have addressed some of the issues that groups have concerns about when planning to set up and deliver cookery sessions.

And who are the experts they have relied on?  None other than twenty or so Supergrans!

There has been time with Artesian Cooking:  specialised type bakery products or the teachings of Rongoā Māori condiments.  How to live, breathe and eat the world of the Ngāhere when they go to the world of rongoā.  

 The Cookery School is one of our Wave Nine initiatives – I can’t wait to sample the final products!!!  (hint hint).   

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Te Mana Kuratahi 2019

Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu celebrates with all our kapa from across Te Waipounamu primary schools, the crème de la crème who will be standing at Claudelands in Hamilton next week


Wow what a fantastic 50th Ōtautahi Rugby Club Anniversary.   

The weekend was celebrated by old and present club members.   Whānau came afar from Murihiku to Akaranga and from over the ditch back to Aotearoa.  Friendships of over a twenty to thirty year duration were rekindled from blasts of the past with laughter, tears and lots of aroha.   It was a weekend, reminiscing about the many wins and losses celebrated by coaches and team players.   The whanaungatanga and whānau day was enjoyed by all young Ōtautahi pēpi and rangatahi.

Local kaumātua and club leader Alby Hoera acknowledged Te Putahitanga o Te Wai Pounamu for the sponsorship and were so appreciative of the funds received to help with the successful Ora event.   It was humbling to be able to have one of our team, Vania Pirini, represent us also throughout the weekend.

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Rugby in the air

We finish this week at the  2019 Te Waipounamu Tournament In Murihiku.

Murihiku Māori Advisory Board pulled together to host the event, which started with a massive powhiri at the Ascot Park Raceway, and concluded with a fabulous Hakari kai Māori. 

It was the largest turnout that Matthew Kiore can recall since 2000.  The tournament had five grades this year, 500+ players attended the tournament, and we believe 500+ whanau came along to tautoko the kaupapa and support their whanau. 

Haka challenges were phenomenal and going off continually throughout the day, sidelines were chocka with whanau and the kaumatua turned out in droves. 

The NZMRB Chairwoman and Two NZMRB members attended, as well as our NZR Māori RDO. Southland, Otago, Aoraki Canterbury and Tasman provincial unions all supported their Māori Advisory Boards to attend.    Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu was delighted to sponsor such a phenomenal whānau event.

Luke EganComment