Ko Tātou, Tātou


Ko Tātou, Tātou.    We are one. One in our universal grief; one in the lament that flows from tears of sorrow at the loss of fifty loved ones – family members, workers, citizens, Muslim.

One in our new knowledge – learning of the enlightenment of the gift of grace; the spirit of forgiveness that has permeated through the conversations and reflections of the Muslim community over these last two weeks since the brutal assault upon their mosques in Deans Avenue and Linwood.

A design created for the event by Fayne Robinson, a Ngāi Tahu artist was based on a hammerhead shark, signifying unity, strength, courage and determination. The green represents both Islam and pounamu; the shimmering beauty and the profound depth of two cultures coming together to mourn, to honour, to remember, to create a new future.  The two sharks represent us all reaching out, learning to love anew, to find a way forward.

"I thought there were none [no words]," Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said at the national memorial service on Friday. "But I came here and heard a As-Salaam-Alaikum, 'Peace be upon you.  But even when we had no words, we still heard yours. They have left us humbled and they have left us united”.

The Prime Minister Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern, alongside Ngāi Tahu Kaiwhakahaere, Lisa Tumahai

The Prime Minister Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern, alongside Ngāi Tahu Kaiwhakahaere, Lisa Tumahai


That call to put differences aside, to link like the hammerhead sharks, was a message reiterated powerfully by New Zealand Governor General, Dame Patsy Reddy.

"We all shed tears for your pain and your loss. As we search for a way forward, history reminds us of what can happen if good people ... allow evil to flourish.   With tolerance, kindness, respect and understanding, we can and will defeat poisonous malice that seeks to divide us. But only if we have the courage to call out discrimination and racism wherever we see it”.

One of the most moving reflection shared at the service today was from Farid Ahmed, a survivor of the Al Noor mosque attack, who told us all how he could forgive someone who had killed his beloved wife.

"I don't want to have a heart that is boiling like a volcano ... it doesn't have peace; it burns itself within, and it burns the surroundings.

"I want a heart that will be full of love and care, and will have mercy.

"I have chosen peace, I have chosen love, and I have forgiven"

Farid Ahmed, “I have chosen peace”

Farid Ahmed, “I have chosen peace”


Whānau Development Summit, Wellington

The messages from the Muslim sense of compassion influenced the kōrero that I gave at the national Whānau Development Summit.    Other speakers included representatives from the other two Whānau Ora Commissioning Agencies, Pasifika Futures and Te Pou Matakana.   Awerangi Durie from Te Pou Matakana created a simple formula : WC + WOC = WO to the power of ten.

What the equation translates into is Whānau Centred policy + Whānau Ora Commissioning = Whānau Tino Ora.   

The message we were interested in picking up was about strategic collaboration – how we can ensure that the organs of the state properly and effectively resource whānau to be self-determining.



Top : Te Puni Kokiri Chief Executive, Michelle Hippolite; Principal Advisor, Nancy Tuaine and Helen Leahy

Middle: Hon Peeni Henare, Minister for Whānau Ora

Bottom: Helen Leahy, Pouārahi, Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu.

Koha Kai Cookbook, Invercargill

How wonderful it was this week to be the recipient of a sensational new cookbook.   The recipes in the book have been adapted from some of those used by Koha Kai in the Lunches in Schools programme.  The recipes were made in the teaching kitchen by trainees, and then photographed during each step as they went along.    It was humbling to receive a note from Janice which shared the story of Marie.

“Marie first began with us as a community volunteer late in 2015, which she did for 18 months, before an opportunity came to begin a new school.  Marie showed all the attributes we look for.  Kindness, empathy and a willingness to learn and to support others to learn with her, so I offered the Team Leader position to her.  But she has a learning disability, and struggled to read and write.  So she took night literacy classes, and she achieved enough academic skills to sit and pass Unit 167 - Food Hygiene, so she could work alongside and teach our trainees.  Now she is a published author, and she has been asked several times to autograph recipe books. We cannot put a price on what people are able to achieve - with confidence and positive reinforcement.  They just need the opportunity and someone to believe in them.  The rest they do themselves. This is the true value of the investment Te Putahitanga o te Waipounamu has made in Koha Kai, and the recipe book is evidence of that”.


Manaaki Mama

Manaaki Mama and her awesome crew of wahine will be filling the Pumanawa room in Christchurch's Arts Centre with healing, aroha, rongoā, laughter, kai and korero, to show their massive support for the Ōtautahi community. If you need a mirimiri, healing, someone to talk to, someone to listen, someone to hug or just somewhere peaceful to chill while you process some things - then pop in, pop along, pop up.

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Stepping Stones Programme

A map through the confusion for whanau.

Living with or actively supporting someone we care about who has alcohol or other drug misuse, is often painful, frustrating and overwhelming. The most challenging part of this experience for many whanau is that it is so unpredictable.

This weekend and next, eight Whānau Ora Navigators are participating in the Stepping Stones programme designed to support whanau members who have or are immersed in alcohol and other drug misuse. The programme provides opportunities to reflect on the impact this is having on you and the rest of your whanau, and guides you to develop practical strategies.

One of the important priorities for us in Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu is to ensure our Navigators receive the appropriate support and professional development to help them do their roles to the best of this ability.  During the end of this week, a large group of Whānau Ora Navigators participated in a noho at Tomairangi Marae in Invercargill while undertaking their Certificate and Diploma in Whānau Ora. I was able to present to the Certificate programme on Thursday and was thrilled at how enthusiastic all the tauira are about the knowledge journey, and taking up new learning.

Topics in the Stepping Stones programme  include: building coping and resilience in oneself, stages of change for whanau, balancing life for whanau members, staying involved through chaos, building boundaries with love and care, and much more. Having a road map for the often challenging journey has been shown by research to help whanau.   We wish our eight selected Navigators all the best in the journey of their own training.

Successful applicants for FDS (Family Drug Support) were : Serena Lyders, Karen Mills, Alva Bennett; Fiona Sinclair, Terry Monga, Taylor Hill, Glenys Cleverely, Moana-o-Hinerangi.and Sacha Forster.

Early morning start for our Whānau Ora Navigators attending the Family Drug Support workshop in Christchurch

Early morning start for our Whānau Ora Navigators attending the Family Drug Support workshop in Christchurch



Ko ngā hau ki ētahi wāhi, ko ngā kai kei Orariki. E te iti, e te rahi, nei te reo rāhiri ki a koutou. Haere mai, tauti mai rā.

E te whānau, you are invited to a wānanga to be held at Te Pā o Moki, Taumutu on Saturday 6 April, 10am-3pm (approx.).

Not long to go now till our annual symposium!   Register below…..it is going to be just wonderful to be together; to share our successes and our stories; to restore the faith to ourselves in the value of the Whānau Ora approach.

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Luke EganComment