We can do better


In my former life working in parliament between 1999-2015, I was frequently horrified at the banter that went on in the House, which was normalized as parliamentary privilege, the apparent right to say whatever one wanted.

To even identify debate as ‘racist’ is considered unparliamentary. During his term as Speaker, Doug Kidd clarified why ‘racist’ was an unparliamentary word: ‘An allegation that a member is racist clearly imputes what most members would regard as an improper motive and is out of order.’  

And so this week, when the report into ‘Bullying and Harassment in the New Zealand Parliamentary Workplace’ was released, I was not all surprised that the independent reviewer, Debbie Francis, had found a culture at Parliament that allows and 'normalises' bad behaviour and harassment and refers to a small group of MPs who are well known as serial offenders.

Both employee and Member respondents expressed concern about the lack of a bicultural flavor to the parliamentary workplace:

“We sort of got a pōwhiri at induction but not on day one. There’s a few panels in the Māori Select Committee room but no marae, no kaumātua, little engagement with the people of this whenua. They try, but it feels really tokenistic.”

"Bullying infests every aspect of Parliament and everyone knows it." - survey respondent

Ms Francis received more than 100 written submissions from Staff and MPs alike.  More than 200 interviews and 42 focus groups were held from December last year to March this year.   Of the more than 1000 respondents, the results were gravely disappointing:

  • 29% experienced some form of bullying or harassment from either an MP or a manager,

  • 30% from peers and 24% from a member of the public.

  • 56% had experienced destructive gossip,

  • 47% demeaning language,

  • 53% a lack of co-operation and support and

  • 41% aggressive behaviour.

Two of the most revealing comments into the environment were from members of parliament:

“It’s the weird intimacy of the parliamentary cultural bubble that can deform even a strong character. Every Friday when I get to my electorate I think ‘thank God for real New Zealanders keeping me grounded’.” - MP

“Whenever I come here, I know that I have to suspend my Māoriness. All my values, like manaakitanga, must be put into abeyance in te ana o te raiona. My Māori constituents know this and pity me for it.” - MP

We have to do better.

Whānau Ora includes as our foundation pou, that we will endeavour to be ‘cohesive, resilient and nurturing’.   Our initiatives are focused on providing support for whānau with a strengths based approach – knowing that there is inherent potential in the whānau regardless of the challenges we may face.   It is driven by wellness and building capability; rather than being fixated on problems or deficits.

Ms Francis concluded that the bullying, harassment, sexual harassment and other harmful behaviours that were described to her do not contribute to a healthy and safe workplace in which the dignity and respect of elected Members and staff are consistently maintained.   It was good to get a clear statement of position from the report – the question is now, how do our political leaders react under the scrutiny of the nation?

We can not tolerate or normalize bullying, racism, harassment or sexual assault in any environment – and that must not just start in the home but in the House of representatives as well.    Te Putahitanga o Te Waipounamu is very happy to share the experience and the expertise of our Whānau Ora Navigators or our Whānau Ora entities to help make the transition from harm to hauora.   


The co-chairs of Te Taumata, Whaea Molly Luke and Dr Taku Parai, GPL Chair Trevor Taylor and I were at Parliament this week to meet with the Minister for Whānau Ora, Hon Peeni Henare and the Whānau Ora Commissioning Agencies, Te Pou Matakana and Pasifika Futures.   Our purpose for meeting was to understand what opportunities the ‘wellbeing’ budget might have for Whānau Ora.

Meanwhile back at Te Hora…..

Our contract advisors are currently running to keep up with the momentum of the Wave Nine entities as they commence their discussions around reporting, performance management and how they do the business.   Exciting stuff.

Coming together at Te Hora Pa with our contract advisors, Te Rā Morris and Gina-Lee Duncan, and our outcomes specialist, Sue Quinn were the following:

  • Reni Gorgiulo; Kiwi Kai Nelson

  • Lorraine Hawke; Te Ahi Wairua o Kaikōura

  • Celeste Tai Rakena; Te Ahi Wairua o Kaikōura

  • Geoff Mullen; Te Arahanga

  • Rachel Haate; Maraka Consulting

  • Nicola Coburn; Ngāti Apa ki te Rā to

  • Tricia Hook; Manaaki Ngahere Trust

  • Kaa Walsh; Manaaki Ngahere Trust

  • Kiri Matthews; Kiri4Art

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Planning Alternative Tomorrows with Hope

Planning Alternative Tomorrows with Hope (PATH) is a visual planning tool.   It’s a map, it’s a painting, it’s a vision chart, it’s a plan for living. We love it, we live it.

The PATH plan is a great way to set short and long term goals, and create action. PATH planning starts by looking at the future and then works backwards to identify the first steps towards the life you want.   This week some of our team came together and did our own PATH workshop – if we expect it to be useful for whānau we need to do it ourselves.


New Zealand Certificate and Diploma in Whānau Ora

Tipu Ora is a private training establishment that delivers Kaupapa Maori programmes that promote wellness models of health whilst focusing on building new skills and developing leadership qualities.The aim is to enhance the skills of practitioners and people seeking a career in health and hauora to better deliver services that are appropriate for Maori, tamariki, mokopuna, pakeke and whanau.

Tip Ora have two Whānau Ora Certificate trainings about to start in Ōtautahi and Westport so we encourage whānau who are interested to get in touch with them.

Check them out on Fbk Tipu Ora or phone 0800 348 2400


The Roiti Whanau Trust Te Awa Koiea.

Te Putahitanga o Te Waipounamu has been investing in the Roiti Whānau who are driven by the dream of renovating and revitalising their whanau whare at Te Awa Koiea.

Have a look at their facebook page:


The old whānau homestead is at Te Awa Koiea, [Brinns Point]..  The headland jutting out to sea just north of the house is called Brinds  Point and it was here that a Mrs Brind, whose husband was a whaler, looked out to sea with a spy glass to see when he was coming home. The old Māori name for the point is Te Awa Koiea, named after the small paua that was found there.

The whare is almost complete and when the flooring is in they will be able to start on some of the programs they have planned for the whanau which includes planning for a whakapapa hui, a planning hui on adorning the whare , a  tukutuku wanaka and an archaeologist to talk on the old pa site.

The whanau Trust members are a very valued group of our hapu community and the progress they have made over the last two years restoring their tupuna whare has shown a great commitment from them all to their shared whanau objectives  


This is the orginal whare where whanau are erecting a fence before work begins. Trustees used putea from the Trust account to pay for the materials.


The Roiti Trust have built a driveway and carpark so that whanau had easier access to our whenua.

After a long process to get approval of resource consent and working with Heritage New Zealand and an archaeologist to get an Archaeological Authority and Kiwi Rail to get legal access to use railway road  - the builders began the mahi.

Working with Tom the builder - weatherboards going on

Working with Tom the builder - weatherboards going on


Another day to plant natives and korero about where the maara kai should go.


Justice Training: Understanding the importance of Section 27 Cultural Report Writing to support whānau at time of sentence.
Monday 27 May 2019, 5-7.30pm,

Facilitator Jamie-Lee Tuuta, Christchurch Community Law Centre

Where offenders are facing charges, or the court is deciding between various sentencing options – for example a custodial or non-custodial sentence – the court may order a cultural report to provide background and context for the defendant’s offending.

Section 27 of the Sentencing Act 2002 allows an offender to request the court to hear a person on personal, family, whānau, community and cultural background of the offender. This provision has been underutilised, despite the Sentencing Act being in force for over 15 years. A report under this section may be oral, or a more detailed, formal written report.

This training is to help whānau gain understanding of the value of s27 cultural reports and why it is so important to utilise this opportunity. It will also support efforts to build a local cohort of report writers for this purpose.

10 Show Place, Addington, Christchurch


‘Invest in Your whānau’ campaign a finalist among NZ’s best

We're thrilled that our Wave Nine campaign 'Invest In Your Whānau' is a finalist in the 2019 PRINZ Awards for Communicating in Diversity! 

Our communications advisor, Ranae Niven, says “modern PR can’t happen in a vacuum these days as it requires a multitude of talents to engage in an authentic way, the way whānau want”. This work has been the result of collaboration of ten members of our staff contributing to the campaign and tapping into their varied talents. We were also able to tap into the creative talents of Ariki Creative, Māui Studios and Jo Boylan Design who have a strong understanding of our kaupapa”.



Whānau Ora Digital Stories:

We released two new digital stories this week on our Facebook page:

Te Roopu Tautoko ki Te Tonga, Kaumātua Roopu

Social isolation can impose stress on our minds and bodies that can have a significant impact on health. Our social networks (eg hapū, iwi, whānau) can allow us to survive and to thrive. Whānau Ora enables Kaumatua to connect and support each other because we know this can have a profound impact on our well-being. Check out the digital story of an inspirational Kaumatua Health and Wellness initiative delivered by Te Roopu Tautoko ki Te Tonga in Oteputi. The kaupapa for this Whānau Ora initiative is “Mana Atua, Mana Tangata, Mana Whenua”.

Kaupapa Taiao Trust - Te Ara Taumaka Whānau Ora initiative

Kaupapa Taiao Trust engage and support whānau to fulfil their role as tangata tiaki on Taumaka and Pōpotai whenua in South Westland. Kaupapa Taiao Trust developed Te Ara Taumaka Whānau Ora initiative as part of a cultural heritage plan. They have held a series of wānanga designed to win the hearts and minds of rangatahi by connecting them to their whenua and in turn strengthen and grow opportunities for them in South Westland.

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Farewell to the Queen of Style


Trish Harrison-Hunt has been with Te Putahitanga o Te Waipounamu as a Contract Advisor since 2016.  Trish has accepted a full-time role as an Employment Mediator with the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment in Christchurch.


Trish has been a significant champion of the unique commissioning approach that we have implemented across Te Waipounamu.   While she has had particular love and leadership within the rohe of Ōtākou and Ōtautahi, she has taken up a diverse range of opportunities across our work, creating and shaping the Whānau Ora approach that close to 180 entities have experienced over these last four years.


In her resignation letter, Trish noted “I have learnt so much and can realise the huge benefits of the Whānau Ora approach provide for whānau success and wellness, that I will continue to use as part of my practice as a Mediator”.   That is what we have loved about Trish – her capacity to self-reflect, to take on new challenges, and to always see the positive aspects that whānau can experience.  Her professionalism and her dedication to whānau have distinguished her work across Te Waipounamu over these last three years.


We wish you well Trish – don’t be a stranger!

Luke EganComment