Courage is what it takes


I have been thinking a lot about courage.   The ability to dare to dream; the strength required to bring unpleasant truths to the surface; the bold presence of mind to name injustices; to claim a position; to portray a different point of view.   Sometimes it feels really hard to speak out – other times it feels just as hard to bite our tongue and keep our views for a later time.

I was once accused of looking at the world through rose-coloured lens.   Viewing our circumstances with optimism not pessimism; giving ourselves permission to place faith in ourselves rather than be eaten up by defeat, by fear, by self-doubt; focusing on our strengths not our weaknesses – all of these attributes characterise to me the courage of our convictions.

That’s what I see all around Te Waipounamu as whānau are stepping up to the change they want to see; they are creating new horizons of hope; building themselves a platform of ambition for their mokopuna to inherit.  It touches the soul; it build momentum. Quite simply; it makes every day an opportunity for aspirations to fly.

Kaumātua Day Out in Queenstown

Last week I spoke about the magic of Waitangi Day.

Darren Rewi had a plan to hold a fun, interactive well kaumātua day which would demonstrate to all who attended, the wonder and wisdom of mātauranga Māori and the generous heart that is encapsulated in the expression of manaaki.

The event was widely promoted to all the Murihiku runaka with many kaumātua attending. Locally throughout Central Otago including connecting with Senior Citizens invitations were made to all elderly whanau.

The kaumātua area was set up beside the Waitangi day stage and kaumātua were able to participate in all activities including the pōwhiri, speech-making and even a bit of dancing magic.

There were healthy activities hosted by the Uruuruwhenua staff as well as displays and stalls from Southern Stop Smoking; Public Health South; the Electoral Commission and the Maori Wardens who ensured that kaumātua were well looked after.   There was bowel screening advice; guidance on nutritional health and Mobile Industrial Health carried out 35 health heart checks during the course of the day.


Local Legends at Te Pātaka o Wairau

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How special was it to see Uncle Howard Sadd featured on the front page of local papers in Blenheim last week.

People are still talking about the impact of Te Pātaka o Wairau, particularly the ice-cream with Kawakawa jelly from the Manaaki aunties of Omaka Pā.  There were eleven kai stalls, fourteen product stalls and one support stall that took over Seymour Square.  Kai options included fried bread with butter and honey,   oyster shots,  kina shots,  hangi,   marinated mussels,  seafood chowder,  rēwena bread,  shrimp mussel fritters,  battered mussels, pāua, raw fish,  as well as the more mainstream kai in sausage sizzle,  hot pork and beef sandwiches,  beef burgers, hot dogs,  stir fry,  and vege fritters.    

Product stalls included Manaaki tastings,  traditional Māori taonga,  Māori clothing,   fresh produce,  art,  gift boxes,  essential oils, wai putiputi,  natural creams, oils and potions for treating various conditions,  soaps and bath bombs,  karengo earrings and jewellery,  harakeke putiputi and rongoa products.  The one support stall was the provision of First Aid through Te Piki Oranga.



Wave Nine

This week we feature some of the whānau who have been attending Wave nine workshops this week.   Workshops were held in the Ngāi Tahu Tourism office in Queenstown; Ngā Hau e Whā marae in Invercargill; Murihiku Marae in Heidelberg; and two workshops at 10 Show Place in Christchurch.


Next week Wave Nine hits Nelson:


Kahutane Whirls through Wakefield

Introducing the vivacious, ever capable Kahutane Whaanga.   When the fires started up in Wakefield there was no-one better than Kāhu and his wife Whitney, to call on in the time of emergency.   Kahutane is with us on a short-term contract to do what he does best – love the people. He was there to support evacuees in their distress at leaving home; he is there to comfort whānau in reconciling the damage to property and livestock; he will help to navigate those in need to appropriate support; he is a great person to have a kōrero and a cuppa with; to provide the tangible support that whānau need in the aftermath of the fires.

These photos of a week in the life of Kahutane demonstrate the range of calls made on his time, and his versatility and vigour in stepping up to the challenge.  Naumai, hoki mai Kahutane – we are delighted to welcome you back into the embrace of Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu.


Pillars Wins Local Community of the Year

That collective courage to care for our children was celebrated this week at the New Zealander of the year award ceremony in Auckland.   I was invited to attend as part of my role on the Board of Pillars - a charity dedicated to supporting children of prisoners. Pillars provides support, resources, education and opportunities to ensure these children do not become future prison inmates.

The purpose of Pillars is to break the cycle of intergenerational offending in New Zealand through a home-based family wrap-around service, coupled with a mentoring programme where a volunteer mentor is matched with a child or youth who becomes a stable and positive role model for them.


Te Atiawa

This morning Te Rā and I had the great privilege of spending time with Amai Thompson, Cultural Advisor for Te Ātiawa Manawhenua Ki Te Tau Ihu.  It was great to catch up with the various actions and activities Te Atiawa has been involved in including the emergency response to the Wakefield fires.  

It was also great to give feedback and share the progress with Amai about various initiatives in the rohe, including Poutama Ahi Kaa; Tāne Beech and the recycled tyres and the Mereana Keenan Trust who have focused on the utilisation of whānau land.


Pā Wānanga is Flourishing

If there’s one thing you could reliable say about Kiley Nēpia it’s that you have to run to keep up with him.   While I was in the rohe I thought we should pop in and see how Pā Wānanga is going, now that the kura is officially open.   Quite literally it took my breath away. The tamariki have a special light in their eyes which tells you everything you need to know about the liberating effect of learning.   They are laughing, painting, playing, and working in te reo rangatira. Their pride is evident in the way they hold themselves; their love for their Whaea / kaiako / tumuaki is mirrored in the way she looks at them; there is passion; energy; excitement in the air.   It really is spectacular.


Right next door to the kura you can learn te ara reo at Te Wānanga o Aotearoa set up on campus; you can go to Toa Fit and thrill in the challenge of fitness; you can savour the sweetness of manaaki condiments; or you can learn about the wonder of Tahitian rock lifting – as Kiley demonstrated to us.   Mind you we didn’t quite to get to see him do the squat and lift technique in action…..


Aoraki Summit time has arrived, 31st March 2019

The agenda is different to the previous year.  This year we will be offering new and exciting challenges, upskilling of new mahinga kai practices and te ao Māori traditions, new adventures into the ngahere of Aoraki and the privilege of experiencing the art of waka ama down the mighty Pūkaki. 

Luke Egan1 Comment