When Great Trees Fall


When great trees fall,
rocks on distant hills shudder,
lions hunker down
in tall grasses,
and even elephants
lumber after safety.

And when great souls die,
after a period peace blooms,
slowly and always
irregularly. Spaces fill
with a kind of
soothing electric vibration.
Our senses, restored, never
to be the same, whisper to us.
They existed. They existed.
We can be. Be and be
better. For they existed.

These beautiful words by Maya Angelou capture and convey the sense of deep sadness that has descended over our shoulders this week in the shadow of great loss.   

The passing of Ngāi Tahu leader, Tahu Pōtiki lingered close in our thoughts as we thought variously of his great contribution and impact.   

His role in leading the iwi through the Whai Rawa savings scheme was inspirational; so too his contribution across governance sectors in Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu; five district health boards; as a board member of NZ Council for educational research; a deputy chair of Māori Television; a director on the Institute of Environmental research; a representative for Ōtākou.   In all that breathless business, he was also a beloved son, an adored father, a darling to Megan, a dynamic friend, a dedicated servant for his people.

As the news came through of Tahu, we also heard of the passing of Mateka Dawn Pirini (nee Anglem), beloved Mummy of our Vania – and her eight siblings; 19 mokopuna and four mokopuna tuarua.

Our thoughts are with all our whānau as they weep for their loved ones.

Who are you wearing your daffodil for?


As we embrace the first whiff of spring, these daffodils remind us of the hope we all hold for our loved ones travelling the journey of cancer.

Daffodil Day symbolises hope for the one in three New Zealanders affected by cancer.

These perky cheerful bulbs stand to remind us of the dream of improving community well-being by reducing the incidence and impact of cancer and encouraging and supporting people to stay well. 

The question we might well ask ourselves is : who are you wearing your daffodil for?

Homelessness and Hope


This week the New Zealand Coalition to end homelessness met in Christchurch to discuss solutions to our homelessness situations.  

There was a full array of government departments, NGOs and community groups in the room.  It was great to be able to acknowledge some of our local heroes – Mahia Winder (who works with hapū mama); Tuu Tawhiao from the Christchurch Homeless Collective and Brenda Lowe-Johnson who has dedicated more than forty years of sacrifice and devotion to work with whānau members on the streets.

It was also a good opportunity to acknowledge Maree Hanson, our Tū Pono Connect worker from Purapura Whetu, who does so much to support whānau in finding a way through the housing maze.

During the last financial year 

  • 219 whānau set themselves a goal of finding a private sector house for their whānau, 

  • a further 177 set themselves a goal of finding a state/council house. 

  • Almost 400 whānau, that represents 12% of all the whānau we work with. 

  • Fifty percent of those whānau have found the accommodation they’re looking for, and a further 26% have made excellent progress. 


Local Champion : Brenda Lowe-Johnson.   You can find her every Tuesday morning at Margaret Mahy Park in Christchurch, helping out with a kai and a smile, giving hope a chance.

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Tātou Tātou e – Community Networks Aotearoa

This week I was lucky enough to be in the company of the magnetic Sacha McMeeking, as she spoke about systems of change.    Sacha asked us to ask new questions, seed an expectation.   

Sacha continued a theme that I had also referred to in my speech.   If we continue to pay predominantly to do more of what we are doing, we will get more of the same.   She asked us how do we move from the status quo?

She also put out the view that we have a tendency to get into pathological problem definition – rather than creating solutions.  

Sacha also challenged us to move out of our single orbit – eg the pa harakeke; policy circles; bureaucracy.   How about dancing in a new orbit?

Macro level: infrastructure

Meso level : how we shape our organisations (to encourage or discourage at either level)

Micro level : how we operate within our communities (within our whānau)

Suicide Prevention Symposium: Ko Au te Timatanga

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This week it was an honour to speak at the symposium for Suicide Prevention . The evening was preceded with a wonderful demonstration of talent from rangatahi associated with He Tangata – performance and theatre at Ngā Hau e Whā marae.

My question to the crowd was what will it take us to believe, Ko Au Te Timatanga (it starts with me)

To believe that being connected culturally and with whānau is pivotal to suicide prevention and intervention. Indeed, as we know, whānau being culturally informed and fully involved is important for Māori wellbeing in general. 

We need to have safe and open places for people to go to meet and talk to others.

We need to identify – who are the healers in your whānau?   

Congratulations to He Waka Tapu for keeping our conversations open and honest.

Wave Ten is coming to you

Wave Ten workshops in the next two weeks

Whakatū / Nelson
Workshop 2: Friday 30 August, 1 – 3pm, Whakatū Marae

Wharekauri / Rēkohu / Chatham Islands
Workshop 1: Wednesday 4 September, Henga Lodge, 4.30 – 7pm
Workshop 2: Thursday 5 September, Henga Lodge, 4.30 – 7pm

Wednesday 4 September, 10.30am – 1pm, The Last Resort Café

Wednesday 4 September 4 – 6pm, Denniston Dog Café back deck.
18 Wakefield Street

Thursday 5th September, 10am – 12.00pm
Who Cares House, 14 Mace street

Workshop 1: Monday 2 September 2 – 4pm, Te Tari o Te Rūnaka o Makaawhio,
56 Britten Street
 Workshop 2: Tuesday 3 September, 2 – 4pm, Poutini Waiora office

Otautahi / Christchurch
Workshop 2.  Thursday 5 September, 10am  – 12noon, Rehua Marae

Ōtepoti / Dunedin
Tuesday 3 September 
Ārai te Uru, 25 College Street, Caversham
Workshop 1: 11am – 1.30pm
Workshop 2:  5 – 7.30pm
Manuherikia / Alexandra
Friday 6 September, 11am – 1pm, Central Otago Netball Pavillion (Upstairs), Molyneux Park, Boundary Road, Alexandra (Past the swimming pool)

Tahuna / Queenstown
Thursday 5 Sept, 5.30 – 7.30pm, Ngāi Tahu Tourism Offices 159 Gorge Road, Unit 29
Wednesday 4 September, 10am – 12noon, Hokonui Rūnaka, 140 Charlton Road

Murihiku / Invercargill
Wednesday 4 September, 5 – 7pm, Ngā Hau E Wha Marae, 193 Conon Street, Appleby

Inspiration from afar

To finish what can only be described as a heavy week, I wanted to share the excitement generated by a sixteen year old eco-warrior, Greta Thunberg who sailed into Manhatten on a climate change crusade, surrounded by a flotilla of UN supporters on yachts.   She travelled from Britain on a transatlantic yacht to attend a UN summit on zero emissions after refusing to fly because of carbon emissions caused by planes.

When a reporter asked her “don’t you just want to be a kid” Thunberg replied:

“I would love not to have to do this and just go to school but I want to do this because I want to make a difference.   The older generation are the ones who are causing this problem and they should not be saying to us “just be a normal kid.   Because they are the ones that caused this and we are just trying to clean up after them”.

Thunberg had a mission: to tell Mr Trump: ‘Listen to the science’ .

Greta is a great example - feel the fear – tuwhitia te hopo!

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Luke EganComment