He Kotuku kai – whakaata

When I attended Teachers’ College in the 80s, a group of us grabbed a couple of tents and headed for Okarito.  We’d all been reading The Bone People and so it was a hikoi of hope that we might glance upon the goddess of prose, Keri Hulme.   The Bone People was not only New Zealand’s first Booker Prize; it has now sold more than a million copies and been translated into nine languages.   To this day I can quote parts of the book that made an impact.

“Sometimes, the waves grow hushed, but the sea is always there, touching, caressing, eating the earth…”

The famed author, of Puketeraki, Ōraka-Aparima, Arowhenua, Taumutu, Waihōpai whakapapa, had chosen to live in Okarito as her site for peace and quiet; a sanctuary to write and reflect.  Unsurprisingly, she wasn’t up for an invasion of students – we looked in vain for the round house with the spiral staircase – but the week went by without any sighting of our warrior writer.

But while we camped out by the beautiful Okarito Lagoon, we did catch sight of another taonga; the chiefly white heron, the kōtuku.   It was a moment I will never forget.   The kōtuku with its elegant silhouette and exquisite white feathers, stands with grace and poise; leaving those who watch on breathless in wonder.   He kotuku rerenga tahi – to catch a sight of this rare treasure is indeed a moment for awe.


There is another whakatauki associated with the kotuku – He kotuku kai-whakaata. The white crane eats leisurely, after viewing his food and his own shadow in the still water. This is said of a chief who looks after due preparations being made for his expected visitors.





For many of our whānau the characteristics of the kotuku guide them in this time of COVID.   Preparation is pivotal to survival.   The say that the best preparation for tomorrow is doing your best today.

This week I have been asking our Whānau Ora partners, what is it that you need from your Commissioning Agency; what is it that you are asking of yourselves, today; to prepare for the winter ahead.

Free Community Gym and Community Spaces – He Waka Tapu

It has been humbling to see the responses flooding in. In Christchurch, He Waka Tapu is opening a free community gym on March 1st, located on the Eastside of Christchurch at 321 Pages Road.   One of the objectives for the free community gym is to remove the cost barriers for Whānau/Hāpori to access fitness/wellbeing options.  They are wanting to target the negative health statistics that affect whānau which include obesity, heart health, diabetes and mental health wellbeing.

They are also offering free community spaces.   The opportunity exists for organisations to be connected and/or utilise the free office spaces that are available, with the idea that whatever the space is being used for, it complements the facility and whaiora can access if needed. He Waka Tapu have four offices spaces available, this includes internet connections.  They are offering these free as they are interested in, working together for the wellbeing of whānau.

If you are interested please contact tanith@hewakatapu.org.nz 

Te Hou Ora, Otepoti – Planning by the Pou

Meanwhile in Otepoti Te Hou Ora was very proactive during lockdown last year and they are currently preparing to be ready for another level three or four lockdown.

In terms of distribution, Te Hou Ora have six service lines that are considered essential services including Navigation.  They utilised some of these staff members to deliver care packages to their whānau in the community under strict guidelines and would envisage doing this again.  They would also purchase vouchers and the resources / kai needed for whānau and care packages and deliver.





They assessed what whānau would receive based on the number of whānau within the home, ages and gender, for example, if there were teenage girls and/or a wahine, sanitary items might be provided in the care package.  If there was a baby, nappies would be in the care package or if kaumatua, they would-be ready-made meals that we had from BB Catering. 

What I really loved about their planning process was their preparation by the pou:

  • Pou rua – leading healthier lifestyles: Support whanau to ensure home sanitised reducing the spread of COVID if bubbles mix

  • Pou ono – cohesive. Resilient, nurturing: It is a real struggle for staff to watch our whanau struggle and be able to physically help.  This is foreign to us and staff struggled to cope with this last lockdown.   A tool for this can be a colour book tohelp whanau to pass time, whanau that don’t have as may options as others may

  • Pou whitu – responsible stewards: Support with transport to supermarket / medical facilities and onsite childcare at THO so pakeke can do shopping (reduce anxiety) 


Hauora Homes Champions



Screenshot 2021-03-05 110209.png


Meanwhile in Murihiku Awarua Synergy are offering an extended programme to develop six regional Energy Champs from within the current Whanau Ora Navigators network who completed the Hauora Homes training in November 2020.  These six Navigators will be given additional training and resources to increase their practical knowledge of making changes to their own whare.  They will learn from this experience which will lead the conversations and knowledge within their region amongst other Whanau and Navigators.

The Energy Champs will go through additional training, including an in-depth home assessment implementation package on each of their own homes.  A digital story will capture their journey, the pitfalls, the successes, easy wins and everything they have learnt that other whānau will benefit from.  They will also be there to support other Whānau Ora navigators within their region to motivate whānau to make these long term improvements.   Watch this space, whānau – the South Island champion will be announced at the Symposium in Dunedin 8-10 April.



Screenshot 2021-03-05 110932.png




The Hauora Homes champion apprentices are as follows:

  • Marcia MacDonald

  • Jai TeAhunga

  • Tania Simpson – Waihopai

  • Naadia Te Moananui

  • Charity Wickliffe-Pohipi

Navigators Start a new Qualifications Journey

Sixteen Whānau Ora Navigators this week started a new learning journey with the Department of Applied Sciences and Social Practice at ARA institute of Canterbury.


Nav2 (1).jpg


The pathway will take them to a level 4, New Zealand certificate in health and wellbeing – Te Ao Hauora Māori.   Course leader, Trish Jamieson; and academic staff, Pounamu Skelton and Kylie-Jane Phillips, will work with the sixteen students to develop their preparedness for work in the health and wellbeing setting.  This week we had the privilege of hosting their introductory days, at our hub, Te Whenua Taurikura.




Screenshot 2021-03-05 112435.png

Te Kiwai rangatahi sport and fitness funds

Te Kiwai fund emerges out of a new partnership with Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu that will benefit tamariki and rangatahi Māori in Te Waipounamu, that are missing out on physical activity opportunities due to financial hardship.   The fund has been named Te Kiwai from “ko koe ki tēnā, ko au ki tēnei kīwai o te kete”; a joint activity in the uplifting for wellbeing for tamariki and rangatahi Māori in the context of whānau.

The purpose of the fund centres on supporting the wellbeing of tamariki and rangatahi Māori who are in circumstances of financial hardship and who are eligible to receive support.   A key objective for the fund is to break down barriers to participation, provide financial support for tamariki and rangatahi in the context of whānau who are experiencing financial hardship and missing out on physical activity opportunities.   The funding will be facilitated through two existing funding mechanisms : RUIA fund and Puna funding.   

Each tamariki/rangatahi is eligible for up to $300.00 per year to contribute to:

  • Clothes and shoes e.g. uniforms, sneakers, boots

  • Equipment e.g. bats, racquets, balls

  • Participation costs e.g. membership fees, class fees, club dues

  • Transportation e.g. fuel costs, bus tickets

You can apply on behalf of tamariki/rangatahi in your whānau, in a club or team you manage, or who are participating in a marae/rūnaka event or wānanga you are running. Group applications are capped at 15 tamariki/rangatahi per rōpū.  

Visit teputahitanga.org/tekiwai to apply, and give us a call on 0800 187 689 or email tekiwai@teputahitanga.org if you have any questions. 

Reaching new heights – Avonside girls taking on the world



imagejpeg_4 (002).jpg


Today marks the last day for our Whānau Ora Navigator, Kim Garrett

We all have many paths that bring us to Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu.   Kim’s pathway was at one level already well known to some of us!  When Kim first arrived at 10 Show Place, there was definitely a group of fan-girls who immediately recognised her as Te Rongopai Rameka, who was once the acting CEO of Shortland Street (the television series).  Once we took the stars out of our eyes, we have grown to appreciate the distinctive talents; the effervescent energy and the brave heart that Kim brings to bear in all she does.

Over the last seven months Kim has worked alongside whānau in many challenging circumstances.   She has enjoyed the opportunity for professional development – such as Taku Reo Rahiri – all the time thinking how she can support the whānau entrusted to her care, to walk new pathways of their own.   Kim has particularly appreciated the opportunity to work with young women through her work with Avonside Girls.


Screenshot 2021-03-05 113427.png


The last word is left to the young women of Avonside.   When asked what surprised you about this course? Some answers were: 

  • “…how we bonded, none of us were friends, now we’re so close and can trust each other.” 

  • “I don’t want it to end, because im worried we’ll go back to walking past each other like we don’t know each other.” 

  • “.. that we are all here each week… (Is that unusual?) … yeah!” 

  • “How close we all are so quickly!” 

  • “That everyone gives everything a go, and even if its hard, we all support each other and we still try anyway.”





Screenshot 2021-03-05 114409.png

101020 - TP Symposium 2021 Programme V4 (1).jpg