“Each of us is called upon to take a stand. So in these days ahead, as we examine ourselves and each other, our works, our fears, our differences, our sisterhood and survivals, I urge you to tackle what is most difficult for us all, self-scrutiny of our complacencies, the idea that since each of us believes she is on the side of right, she need not examine her position.” Audre Lorde

This morning I spoke as part of a panel for International Women’s Day to the Southern Government’s Women’s Network.   Other members of the panel were the Minister of Police; Hon Poto Williams; the National Commissioner for Department of Corrections, Rachel Leota; and cultural anthropologist, Sophie-Claire Violette.





Another Audre Lorde quote is fitting for the speech of Sophie-Claire Violette;  “There is no such thing as a single issue because we do not live single-issue lives.”   Sophie-Claire talked about ‘inter-sectionality’.  In it’s simplest meaning,  this means different points in which our identities meet at a crossroads. 

“Sometimes, we tend to think of people as having one identity and forget about other aspects that make up their whole, that make up their struggle and humanness. A teacher is more than just their job. An Asian person is more than their race. And a mute person more than their different ability. We do not possess just one identity. We all stand at the crossroads of x and y, and z, a, b, c, etc”.  (Intersectionality 101; C Violette).

Sophie-Claire talked about how sometimes we privilege certain women over others; or exclude or marginalise groups of women on the basis of seeing them as ‘other’: women with disabilities; queer women; Muslim women; young women; rural women.   She asked us to stand and commit; to choose to challenge so that all may be free.




The Minister, Hon Poto Williams, encouraged us to keep focused on challenging injustice while also remembering about self-care – and most importantly to remember that strong women have been raised by those who believed in; may we know them, may we be them, may we create strong children to follow.




My kōrero focused on how we choose to challenge the status quo, by what we say, who we bring into the room, how we make people feel.   I referred to the stunning korowai, Kahu Matarau, which cloaks the justice precinct, Te Omeka.   The aluminium kākāpo feather cloak by Ngai Tahu artist Lonnie Hutchinson, represents an expression of status and mana.  It speaks of protection; it is the embodiment of the words of Pita Te Hori, first Upoko Runanga o Ngāi Tūāhuriri, 1861; Kia atawhai ki te iwi; Be kind to your people.



I shared also the amazing examples from across Te Waipounamu of women in the Whānau Ora Space, who are choosing to challenge.   Sofia Tuala (Warrior Princess in Temuka) helping young women to withstand the challenges of te ao hurihuri; Janice Lee and Koha Kai in Invercargill fighting against prejudice and being the change they want to be; Jade Temepara and her maara kai skills – challenging the fastfood culture; and the Puha Girls in Motueka, Julie, Tracey and Kathy, proud to present Waka Whenua Limited to the world!

Georgia Latu (Potiki Poi in Dunedin); has a beautiful story which I am sure we will hear more of at our annual symposium held next month, 8-10 April.

“Kia ora ko Georgia tōku ingoa,

When I was 12 years old I started my own business making poi with my whānau in the lounge of our whare. I named my business Pōtiki Poi. Pōtiki is the last name of my ancestor Tahu Pōtiki that lead my people to the South Island. And Pōtiki also means, youngest child. My youngest brother was born with Trisomy 21 and I want to ensure my business will some day support him and others like him in our community”.


Cholmondeley Children Centre

In Wave 12 Cholmondeley Children’s Centre entered into a Wave agreement with us called the Awhi Project.   The project builds connections between wh`anau and kura; to ensure tamariki and their whānau are better supported throughout their journey with Cholmondeley.   The aim is to support whānau with growing the skills of resilience and nurturing.   Nathan Tau and I spent some time there with General Manager Robyn Wallace and fund raising Manager, Tanya Cooke.





Cholmondeley has the most exquisite outlook over Whangaraupo / Rapaki


Kaikoura Wananga

This week our entire team spent three days in Kaikoura – a time for strategic planning; for dream-weaving, for swimming, eating and consolidating connections.   As part of the time in this beautiful community we invited many of our entities together to share their story.


We had a range of entities that came to spend time with us:

  • Te Tai o Marokura, Takahanga Marae

  • Te Ahi Wairua o Kaikoura

  • Kaikoura District Council – inflatable boats (Jo York)

  • Kohu Horse-treks and

  • Ngā Kaitiaki o Kaikōura Wātene Māori Trust; Mana Kōhine, Mana Wāhine; Kaikoura


Kohu Horsetreks



  Te Tai o Marokura, based at Takahanga Marae

  Te Tai o Marokura, based at Takahanga Marae




 This photo takes me back a few years, 35 to be precise, when I was a teacher at Hagley Community Learning College, and Nathan, Huata and Chevy were my students.    Seems like yesterday….

Below: Jo York from Inflatable waterboats


jo york.jpg





We had an amazing race all over Kaikoura; building sculptures based on our uara (our values); scavenger hunt and all sorts of adventures along the way!






The blue team, the pink team and the green team~

Mana Kōhine, Mana Wāhine

Mana Kōhine, Mana Wāhine’ in Kaikoura engages with young wāhine who are disengaged from education. The initiative runs daytime sessions to help wāhine learn life skills and grow in confidence and self-esteem. It helps wāhine aged between 12-24 but will not exclude any wāhine outside this age, to develop a plan for their future and identify and achieve their goals. It also helps wāhine gain an awareness of the effect of drugs and alcohol and become aware of the concept of hauora from a Māori perspective. The course will celebrate te reo Māori and tikanga, and wāhine will grow in their use of te reo Māori. There will also be leadership and team building exercises. Other activities may include wāhine learning skills like, weaving, basic cooking and Information Technology skills. Whānau will benefit as they see their wāhine grow in confidence and their ability to make good choices




Contact Tracing

Contact tracing is key to keeping our communities safe from COVID-19.  To stop any future spread of COVID-19, we all need to record the 3 Ws: where we have been, when we were there, and who we met.  Scanning QR codes using the NZ COVID Tracer app with Bluetooth on is one of the best ways to do this.  By scanning QR codes, we not only keep COVID-19 out of our communities, we also keep our businesses open.   We all need to keep following the 4 Golden Rules to help protect our whānau and friends from COVID-19:

o            Wash your hands

o            Scan QR codes

o            Turn on Bluetooth tracing on the NZ COVID Tracer app

o            Stay home if you’re feeling unwell and get advice about a COVID-19 test.

The full media release is available here: http://www.beehive.govt.nz/release/covid-19-vaccine-roll-out-plan

Birthdays in the whare





A beautiful moment in time with sister Losa and Mummy, Taua Kiwa Hutchens, to celebrate Vaea’s 60th birthday.

Also celebrating a birthday this week was our beautiful Operations Lead, Ati Vili.