What do we do with a Broken Pounamu?


I loved a conversation I watched on social media this week responding to the question ‘what do we do with a broken pounamu’?.   

Ngāi Tahu wise woman (and Chief Values Officer for Ngāi Tahu Holdings) Charisma Rangipunga responded “People get broken all the time - we don’t throw them away.  I personally like the Japanese philosophy of Kintsugi for broken pounamu.  Embracing the idea that our flaws define us and make us even more unique and distinctive”.

It was a fitting kōrero to have on the week that the report of the Welfare Advisory Group was released.   The report, defined as ‘Whakamana Tangata’ – endorses a concept deep in the hearts of whānau – that desire that the system recognize the mana and dignity of people so that they can participate meaningfully within their communities.

The report includes multiple references to an environment which has eroded trust.   Indeed it calls for fundamental change, to enable the welfare system to move beyond being merely a safety net, to instead restore dignity to people so they can participate meaningfully with their families and communities.

  • “The system is currently broken.   We have case managers who are absolutely judgemental as soon as whānau work through the doors” (p42)

  • “The Welfare system is belittling of the mana and integrity of our people – kuia, kaumātua, matua, tamariki, mokopuna” (p73).

It was beautiful to see at the front of the report, the wisdom of the late Kukupa Tirikatene as having shaped the report:

E kore e taea e te whenu kotahi ki te raranga i te whariki kia mohio tātou ki a tātou.

Mā the mahi tahi o ngā whenua, mā the mahi tahu o ngā kairaranga ka oti tēnei whariki.

I te otinga me titiro tātou ki ngā mea pai ka put mai.

A tōna wā me titiro hoki mi ngā raranga i makere nā te mea, he kōrero anō kei reira.

The tapestry of understanding cannot be woven by one strand alone.  

Only by the working together of weavers will such a tapestry be completed.   With its completion let us look at the good that comes from it and in time we should also look at those stitches which have been dropped, because they also have a message.

Let’s hope the Minister and Government take heed of the call from the advisory group for a “more cohesive approach by the state and iwi; to encourage a whakamana tangata approach based on potential”.  Whānau Ora – a strengths based approach which is built on the assets of whānau to improve wellbeing and mana whakahaere (the power to manage) is an obvious response to this call for a system which uplifts whānau in a way that honours their dignity.

Whānau Ora in the Whare

In the Raukokore Anglican Church in 1896 Mihi Kotukutuku, a descendant of Ngāti Porou and Whānau a Apanui, married Duncan Stirling of Ngāi Tahu, Ngāti Mamoe and Pākehā whakapapa.  A qualified builder, Duncan had worked for many years on the East Coast and was building a church at Te Horo when he came to the attention of the whānau as suitable husband material.

Mihi Kotukutuku, a descendant of Muriwai, the woman who saved the Mataatua canoe from being swept onto rocks at Whakatane, was among the few women of her generation who had the right to speak on the marae, at least within her own district. Often she did not speak herself, but organised the women to sing waiata in support of other women speakers. She knew innumerable waiata and sometimes composed her own. But there were occasions at important hui when, as the senior representative of her tribe, Mihi felt obliged to rise and speak.

123 years later, the mokopuna of this precious union came together at our hub, Te Whenua Taurikura.  Brought together by a passionate pair – Piripi Prendergast and Amiria Coe – the mokopuna spent a day learning about the legacy they had inherited; exploring skills and attributes gifted to them through their whakapapa; and gained a common unity as uri of the Stirling clan.   It was a wonderful example of taking a Whānau Ora approach to employment and training; to career planning; to identity, connection and belonging. Upfront and centre, of course, was their kuia, Aunty Kiwa, helping to guide the proceedings in her own inimitable way.



This week I wanted to share some of the fabulous feedback that whānau have provided about the role of Navigators.   It tells us everything we need to know about the role and the respect that the Nav Nation has earnt.

He helped me get my licence.

She helped me to figure out what I’m doing and was very supportive towards my goals. She is always so kind and helpful.

Nothing’s a problem even when I message in the middle of the night.

Able to make reintegration plans that I understand and that help me get direction upon release. Spoke to my probation officer.

Showed up when she said she would, gave great advice, advocated for me proudly when I was

having a rough time.

Helped me and the kids get to the Dr and birth certificates for the kids’ kindergarten and my WINZ benefit back on. Gave the girls some clothes. Everything.

Was able to see me straight away, other places I’ve tried it’s been weeks before they get back to me.

Always listened to me and explained things well.

Steered me in the right direction with services, listened to what I wanted for me and my children. Kept in contact via text, phone calls, visits. Are really supportive, helped me look at options and believed in me.

Got me out of bed and up and moving and thinking about moving forward.

Made sure we had food and medications were up to date.

Supported me in quite a few things like mum’s and bubs, meeting new friends, cooking class, driver licence, move out of my house, kai parcel when we were struggling.

Helped our whānau connect after no-one spoke to each other and our family unit was broken.


Out of Gate service supplier briefings

Open briefings will be held in Christchurch (17 May) involving a formal presentation from Corrections staff to potential suppliers about the Out of Gate service and what they looking to achieve from it.

Let us know if you would like:

  • support from Te Putahitanga o Te Waipounamu with your application

  • a letter of support from us to assist their application

  • explore the potential for a coordinated approach.

Please RSVP names of attendees to Dave Vige, Senior Procurement Adviser – dave.vige@corrections.govt.nz by 8 May 2019.


Post-Budget Event Series: Child Poverty Action Group and Choose Kids

Friday 31 May

  • Christchurch 7.15am-8.30am.  Guest speaker: Associate Professor Mike O’Brien

  • Dunedin; 12.30pm-1.30pm; Alexander McMillan Room, Dunedin Community House

  • Nelson, Wednesday 5 June; 9.30am-11.30am, Stoke Primary School

RSVP to cpag2016nn@gmail.com  with your attendance.

 admin@cpag.org.nz / 09 302 5260

Youth Assembly



The Youth Assembly aims to empower the next generation of leaders with opportunities to connect with like-minded peers, trailblazers, and influencers, develop global competence and critical skills, and transform their vision for a better future through innovative action.

Empower will take a delegation of New Zealand youth leaders to the Youth Assembly! The Youth Assembly will be held on 8-10 August but we will have side-meetings and visits to top influential organizations so the entire trip will run from 6 August - 13 August.

Apply Now!





Saturday 11 May | 8:50am to 5:00pm

Owen G. Glenn Building, 12 Grafton Road, Auckland

Interested in making the world a better place? Keen to obtain more knowledge or skills on how to take action? Passionate about connecting with a community to create socially innovative change? Or do you just want to know what social innovation or social entrepreneurship is?    Following from last year’s inaugural conference, the Social Innovation Conference is a one-day event which seeks to inspire young people to tackle today's most pressing challenges in creative ways.


Welcome to our new staff!


I have much pleasure in announcing the appointment of Karina Nathan to the role of executive assistant/office manager for Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu, and Te Whenua Taurikura (the hub at 10 Show Place).

Karina is pleased to be returning to Te Waipounamu and particularly in respect of her whakapapa to Hokonui, Te Hapū o Ngāti Wheke (Rāpaki); Te Rūnanga o Arowhenua; Te Rūnanga o Waihao; Waihōpai Rūnaka, Te Rūnanga o Ōtākou, Te Rūnanga o Kaikōura, Te Rūnanga o Moeraki.   Karina also has whakapapa to Te Rarawa, Ngāpuhi, and Ngāti Porou.

Her most immediate previous role was in the national office of Te Puni Kōkiri as Co-ordinator Support / Administrator to Deputy Chief Executive, (Ministerials and Business support); to enable effective collaboration across the whole organisation.  The role required both effective administration and maintaining working relationships across multiple stakeholders.

Before the Ministerials Unit role, Karina had worked with rangatahi (Te Puna Oranga) and people with disabilities (Manawanui); she has a certificate in painting and plastering from He Toki ki te rika; a business certificate (Te Wānanga o Aotearoa) and a certificate in Hauora health.


I am delighted to announce the appointment of Arun Sam Singh Selwyn Jebaraj to the role of data analyst with Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu.  Sam (as he prefers to be known by) started officially with Te Putahitanga o Te Waipounamu on Wednesday 1 May.

Sam came very highly recommended from his work with Nurse Maude; Fraame Healthcare and the Telehealth Leadership group from the Ministry of Health.  Sam has a Masters in Hospital administration; a post-graduate diploma in health information management, and wild enthusiasm for end to end solutions informed by the power of data.   His passion is in collecting (Qualtrics, Survey Monkey); analyzing (Excel, SPSS, R) and reporting (Tableau, Qliksense) data to assist in interpretation and quality improvement.

Caring for the Carers

There are 400,000 New Zealanders who are recognized as carers (self-identified).  A carer is a friend or family member caring for someone with health issue, disability, illness, injury; informal or unpaid.

Anecdotal evidence tells us that carers are so often under-paid, over worked and often above and beyond and work many free hours to ensure whānau live their best life.    Many whanau members reported that they felt uncomfortable about the terms relating to care giving.  Some tell us that the caregiving role is often seen as less stressful than managing the systems and paperwork involved with either the caregiving role or the person with disabilities.

This week the three Whānau Ora Commissioning Agencies met with the agencies responsible for creating the Carers Strategy and Action Plan.  We challenged government representatives to think about how the role of caregiving can be legitimised within a Maori context and reality using our kupu and frameworks like Whanau Ora.  Organisations that support carers need themselves to be inclusive.   We also talked about the sustainability of carers – caring for those around them. There was discussion about the neglect and health issues of those who are in the care-giver role. In other words, who cares for the carers?

If you have some stories you want to share around your experience of caregiving, please send me an message (helen.leahy@teputahitanga.org).  

Luke EganComment