Sailing my Ship 


The writer Louisa May Alcott once said “I’m not afraid of storms for I’m learning how to sail my ship”.   I thought of the wisdom of this saying when this week, Māui Studios founder and great friend to Whānau Ora, Madison Henry, gave a presentation to our hub about his experience with the Fa'afaite crew who are voyaging to Aotearoa using traditional navigation methods practiced by Maohi and Māori.

They say we should travel – not to escape life – but so life doesn’t escape you.  Madi is a classic voyager – cherishing the lessons of the ancestors, in taking up every opportunity to live in the world.   Influenced by the voyaging legacies of Sir Hekenukumai Busby and Tahitian navigator Tupaia, the crew navigating the double-hull vessel Fa'afaite is making its way to Aotearoa for the Tuia250 commemorations. 

Madison took advantage of an unique opportunity to film the journey taken up by the Tahitian Voyaging Society as they retraced the voyage of Tupaia.  His stories had us engrossed – how he learnt to navigate first by a chosen star; then when the clouds crossed over by the swell of the waves, and when darkness set in, by reading the wind.   We are so proud of Madison and this wonderful opportunity he has had to voyage on the Fa’afaite celestial waka.

Madison with new Māui Studio recruit, Caleb.

Madison with new Māui Studio recruit, Caleb.


Madi is the first to acknowledge ARL, Taylor Made Productions who are bringing Land of Voyagers to life! 

We can’t let the occasion go by either without congratulating and celebrating Māui Studios as they embrace their fifth year birthday.   Ngā mihi nui ki a koutou, Native Ninjas from way back.

Unaiki and her Golden Touch

While on the topic of the incredible ingenuity of Māui Studios, I want to also acknowledge Māui Lab – and the foundation they have paved for talent such as that of Unaiki Melrose.  Māui Lab is a partnership between Aotahi-School of Māori and Indigenous Studies, Ngāi Tahu Research Centre and Office of the Assistant Vice Chancellor Māori at the University of Canterbury.

This passionate young leader of Ngāti Kauwhata / Ngāti Raukawa; has immersed herself in bringing the stories of the atua to print, through Te Hekenga mai o Hinepūkohurangi; and Māui me te Ao Hou.

Unaiki is driven by a belief that books that tell our stories are a way to enlarge our world.   Having the stories published in both English and te reo rangatira gives all of us opportunity to have a deeper understanding of the narratives without a language barrier.   But this is no ordinary book.

By using a combination of street art and natural Aotearoa landscapes; Unaiki and illustrator Jo 

Petrie, have swept us all into their unique artform.


I really loved some of the feedback from the ten whānau who had a preview of the early draft.  

  • “Maui is my favourite character because he is tenacious”

  • “My favourite is Māui because of what he represents innovation, defiance, anti-establishment”

  • Hine-Nui-Te-Pō, because she transcended her earlier experiences to become one of the most powerful figures in our oral traditions.

The Māui Lab wanted to join the dots: serve the people, grow our tauira, create next generation solutions.  By drawing on the inspiration of solution builder Māui Tikitiki-a-Taranga; the goal was to create bold goals; to harness the brain-power of the academic team; to specialise in innovation, policy, strategy, facilitation, community development, education, te reo and beyond. 

Sacha McMeeking has been absolutely fundamental to that vision.   She has always opened her arms wide to embrace tauira; to encourage super-smart interns to turn hopes and dreams into real world projects.   Congratulations to Unaiki – for the launch of her first book – and Sacha for believing in her.

Vanessa, Kahutane and Vaea

Vanessa, Kahutane and Vaea


Pouwhakataki in the Whare

This week we welcomed three new kaimahi to Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu : Kahutane-Tairaki-Whaanga; Vaea Coe and Vanessa Whangapirita.

Kahutane, Vaea and Vanessa have been appointed as pouwhakataki for the Whānau Resilience contract, that we have been successfully selected to manage for the Ministry of Social Development.  Our role is to host and care for the three pouwhakataki.  Their roles are described below….

But first, to introduce the team:

  • Kahutane Tairaki- Whaanga – ‘Tasman’  [Haast – Takaka – Kaikoura];

Kahutane has been in a number of roles as a Whānau Ora Navigator – most recently in the emergency response area in Pigeon Bay (Nelson fires) and in Seddon with the Kaikoura earthquakes.  He has also been employed with Maata Waka ki te Tau Ihu (youth justice).   He has worked as a high needs caregiver with Child, Youth and Family; a community support worker with Richmond services and an alternative education tutor.   Kahutane will be based in Wakefield, Nelson.   Kahutane is passionately Ngati Porou and Kahungunu.

  • Vaea Coe – ‘Canterbury’ (stretches from the coast to high in the Southern Alps and from the Conway River, south of Kaikoura, to the Waitaki River, south of Timaru.)

Vaea will be well known for her work in community and public health with the All right campaign, and particularly in Māori mental health.   She has over twenty years experience working in Māori Women’s Refuge; experience as a prison officer, and is proudly Ngāti Porou, Whānau a Apanui; Ngai Tahu, Ngāti Mamoe and Samoan.

  • Vanessa Whangapirita – ‘Southern’   (from Stewart Island in the south, north to the Waitaki River and west to Haast.)

Vanessa will be based in Gore.  Vanessa was a Whānau Ora Navigator from 2014-2018; and most recently has established her own enterprise providing kapa haka support for seven schools in Murihiku.   Before that Vanessa was involved as a project manager at Mataura Marae; has been a data analyst with Statistics NZ; and ran her own business administration service for shearing contractors.   She has qualified with a Bachelor of Social Services.   Vanessa also, has the pride of Ngati Porou in her blood.

The Pouwhakataki position

The role of the Pouwhakataki will be to lead, support and facilitate a regional group of kaimahi (representatives of the Whānau Resilience service providers) through the design process to develop a clear service concept for delivery. 

The Pouwhakataki will be asked to connect with other Pouwhakataki from other regions to ensure all Pouwhakataki are supporting each other. The design process of Whānau Resilience will focus on collaboration, innovation and reflective learning, whilst acknowledging that communities and providers have invaluable knowledge and experience that should inform the make-up of services available in their communities.

There are five central pou to the role:

  • Strengthen cultural identity and whakapapa

  • Strengthen social capability and community connection

  • Support behavioural change for men and people using violence

  • Support trauma healing and recovery from violence 

  • Create healthy relationships and skills

No this is not just any old lego…..this is a way of co-designing the state of the violence sector!



Champion Emerging Leader

Anton Matthews (Fush) is known throughout Te Waipounamu as leading a whānau business with big dreams to share te reo Māori and Māori culture with the world through manaakitanga.   Now the world knows it! FUSH is passionate about not just the best fish and chips in town, but :

  • Epitomising manaakitanga – to take care of manuhuri

  • Practising kaitiakitanga – to leave the environment in a better state than we found it

  • The normalisation of te reo Māori – making te reo Māori accessible and a normal part of every New Zealander’s day

  • Creating intergenerational wealth.

Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu is SO PROUD of you Anton and the fabulous work of FUSH.   Being awarded the honour of ‘emerging leader’ in the Westpac Champion Business Awards 2019 – in front of a capacity crowd of 1100 guests – was phenomenally exciting!  

Anton and the proudest papa in the world : Hector Matthews

Anton and the proudest papa in the world : Hector Matthews


Maori Inquiry Into Oranga Tamariki

Why an Inquiry into Oranga Tamariki?

The Māori Inquiry into Oranga Tamariki is an independent review of the New Zealand Government’s child protection agency Oranga Tamariki. The Inquiry is a result of the continued inaction by Government to respond to ongoing, serious issues around the actions of their agency in perpetuating intergenerational harm of Māori whānau, in particular around the unethical, forced removal of tamariki from their whānau. The emerging body of evidence around the harmful effects of these removals is in direct contravention of the Government’s stated aim of ensuring tamariki are where they can be safe, connected and flourishing.

What will the Inquiry look into?

Scope and purpose of the Inquiry

The scope of the Inquiry is the historical and contemporary incidence of removal of tamariki from their whānau by Oranga Tamariki the Ministry for Children and its predecessors (Children Young People and Families Service and the Department of Social Welfare) and the adverse effects of this practice on whānau.

The purpose of the Inquiry is to identify, examine, and report on the matters in scope. The Inquiry will be informed by the voices of whānau, hāpori and those with lived experience of the policies and practices of Oranga Tamariki. The Inquiry commenced in July 2019, and will conclude by February 2020.

Who can make a Submission?

Submissions are invited from anyone that would like to participate in the Inquiry process. While the focus of the Inquiry is on whānau, the Inquiry is also prepared to hear voices, stories and viewpoints from any other interested parties.

How will Submissions be received?

There are a number of ways that whānau can share their experience noted below. Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu will be facilitating hui in the South Island and there are also opportunities being advertised for Ngā Pou Whakaaro or Whānau - Listening Posts.

Many whānau that have had a positive or negative experience with Oranga Tamariki will likely be familiar with their local Whānau Ora Navigator.

Save spaces for whānau to share their stories

Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu is committed to providing a safe space for whānau to share their lived experiences and also provide support should whānau want to make a submission.

The Māori Inquiry into Oranga Tamariki is an independent review of the Government’s child protection agency Oranga Tamariki. The Inquiry responds to calls from whānau to address what they describe as the intergenerational harm of Māori whānau through, removal of tamariki from their whānau.

Our interest, as the Whānau Ora Commissioning Agency for Te Waipounamu, is to hear from whānau experience, about how the stated aims of whakapapa, whanaungatanga and mana tamaiti can be upheld in relation to children in care.

Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu hui will be held at the following locations:

  • Murihiku / Invercargill, Monday 23 September, 10am-1pm, Murihiku Marae, Tramway Road.

  • Whakatū / Nelson, Tuesday 1 October, 10am-1pm, Victory Community Centre, 214 Vanguard Street.

  • Te Tai Poutini / West Coast, Wednesday 2 October, 10am-1pm, Poutini Ora, 62 Shakespeare Street, Greymouth.

  • Ōtepoti/Dunedin, Monday 7 October 1-4pm, Te Roopu Tautoko Ki Te Tonga Inc, 6 Wolseley Street.

  • Ōtautahi/Christchurch, Tuesday 8 October, 4-7pm, 79 Springfield Road Rehua Marae.

  • Wairau / Blenheim, Wednesday 9 October, Time and Venue TBC.

RSVP:, 0800 187 689

Whānau submissions can be made online Whanau submissions

All submissions close on 31 October 2019.

Luke EganComment