The artful gift of Navigation



(Photo credit: Loud noise Media, Keelan Walker / Ngati Apa ki te Rā Tō Charitable Trust )

A navigator is the person whose job it is to steer the ship. The navigator plans and charts the course and then points the boat in the right direction.

Adventurer; explorer; sailor; ocean wanderer; traveller; whakatere; taiāwhio; kaiarahi.

Ka whakaterea e rātau o rātau waka i runga i te moana tāpokopoko ā Tāwhaki.

The first known use of the word ‘navigator’ dates back over 400 years to 1574.  It is a concept that is at home at choppy waters and still seas. It can be used to guide a people from across the wide expanse of the oceans of the world, or across the river to pick up passengers.

What is common to navigators is that sense of purpose; having a goal to work to; a plan from which to move mountains.

Our Navigators in the Whānau Ora space are our gold and our bread and butter.   They walk the road to freedom with families fighting for a new direction. They are here to comfort; to challenge; to listen; to laugh; just to be.   They make my heart sing – and indeed there are so many songs written about them 

  • I can fly higher than an eagle for you are the wind beneath my wings

  • Lean on me, when you’re not strong, and I’ll be your friend, I’ll help you carry on

  • I would walk 500 miles; and I would walk 500 more

  • Winter, spring, summer or fall, all you have to do is call, and I’ll be there”


This week I have been editing and reviewing our latest evaluation which focuses on the Nav Nation.   What it tells us is that Navigators have developed ways of working and building high trust relationships with agency staff, and one another. Agencies spoke about contacting Navigators for help with particular issues as they knew they had good contacts. This has created an interconnected network across Te Waipounamu that is facilitating whānau access through agencies and providers.

“They’re (agencies) willing to work side by side with us. It’s not a them and us thing because they’re seeing the results within our people, within our whānau, that we’re actually getting them into spaces that they couldn’t. So, I think that’s been one of the key things for me, that it’s gone past that stand-off bit, where it’s them and us, and I’m eyeballing them, and I’m going to fight for my whānau and you know you’re going to listen and I’m not going to leave. It’s gone past that point now where they’re happy to see us. Well that’s the experience I’ve had, they’re glad we’re there, they’re glad we’re supporting whānau at these appointments. They’re glad whānau are showing up to their doctor appointments and being compliant with medication or whatever it might be

In the 2019 Budget, Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu was pleased to receive an additional $2m funding that has meant we have been able to increase our Navigator workforce to respond to the demand that we have been increasingly concerned about.   We are thrilled to now have additional resource to be able to create new navigator roles in:

  • Ōtākou 

  • Rakiura / Stewart Island

  • Lawrence 

  • Wharekauri / Rēkohu / Chathams

  • Te Ngāi Tūāhuriri

  • Waitaha


This last week we have had our Navigator team clocking up the hours and the miles, as they have been visiting the new Navigators and the host agencies in which they are located.   First on the list for Serena Lyders was Awarua Whānau Services:


Back L-R. Taylor Hill (Navigator) Mata Cherrington (Kaihautu) Jamie Roberts (Navigator in training) 

Front L-R. Deli Diack (Mokopuna Ora) Amanda Chalmers (Navigator)

Meanwhile, Pari Hunt and Huata Martindale were at the opposite end of the motu visiting agencies in Blenheim and Nelson and ending at Te Āwhina Marae in Motueka.


The week before, Huata and Edwardene had been over to the Chathams/Wharekauri/Rēkohu introducing themselves to Te Ha o te Ora o Wharekauri; the Hokotehi Moriori Trust and Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Mutunga.


Huata and Edwardene were very fortunate to be on the island the same time as Te Puawaitanga ki Ōtautahi was there, so had the privilege of participating in the Mama and Pēpi wānanga at Kopinga Marae.   They visited Waitangi and then across to Te One where they visited with Gail Amaru at Ngāti Mutunga o Wharekauri Iwi Trust Offices.

Ngāti Apa ki te Rā To Waka Journey

Finally, of course the Navigation approach is not only unique to Whānau Ora Navigators.

Ngati Apa ki te Rā Tō Charitable Trust believe the waka tāngata, which will be sewn into the Iwi Cultural Development Strategy, serves as a ‘floating classroom’ promoting whakawhanaungatanga, te reo, tikanga, and strengthening Iwi connection to the whenua and moana for many years to come.

Ngāti Apa ki te Rā Tō Hoe Kia Rite will run at least four wānanga in Kaiteriteri; Whakatū, where a large portion of Iwi membership resides, Rotoiti, a place of great significance to the iwi; and Waiharakeke close to the waters of Tōtaranui. The wānanga will be open to whānau of all ages, although age limits will be placed on whānau wanting to become kaihoe. Ngāti Apa ki te Rā Tō Hoe Kia Rite will develop competent kaihoe and offer broader mātauranga Māori opportunities for whānau, including whakapapa, Toi Māori, reo, karakia, waiata and tikanga.

Ngāti Apa ki te Rā Tō Hoe Kia Rite will build a waka tāngata with the aims of enhancing collective identity, reviving cultural traditions associated with waka and navigation, boosting the related mātauranga Māori and advancing the spiritual, social, physical and mental wellbeing of Iwi members. A waka trailer and support vessel will be purchased to support the safety of the waka and crew. 

Photo credit: David James/Ngāti Apa ki te Rā Tō


I think you’ll agree these stunning photographs by Keelan Walker represent the wonderful opportunity that Hoe ki Rite has provided for rangatahi of Ngāti Apa ki te Rā To.


Ōtākou, Moeraki and Puketeraki in the House

Finally this week, on the 6th August the office teams from Otakou, Puketeraki and Moeraki visited Te Putahitanga o Te Waipounamu to gain an understanding of what we can offer their hapu members and tautoko for the papatipu runaka offices.   Project Hīkoi was a wonderful opportunity for our teams to sit together and talk about ways that we could support whānau across the papatipu rūnaka structure.

Luke EganComment