Two things fill the mind with ever new and increasing admiration and awe, the more often and steadily we reflect upon them: the starry heavens above me and the moral law within me.  Immanuel Kant, Critique of Practical Reason

My mokopuna and I spent a special moment this week, gazing upwards, looking, without luck, for the moon in all her fullness.  

Poutūterangi, the tenth month of the Māori year, begins on the night of the New Moon (Whiro), this year that is the 13th March.    Sometimes – like this month – the way our moon shows itself is slightly different, nine days later, as is the case with this month.   Not that I explained all of this to the mokopuna – she was more curious as to where the sun went to bed, and I was struggling to give a sensible response.

Instead of searching in vain for the sun and the moon to show themselves, I instead pointed out to baby the luxurious bed of stars that our world was cloaked in; glittering, shimmering, a flash of light here, a twinkling burst of wonder there.   Those starry heavens are places to lose ourselves in, to reach for the skylight and imagine more.





I was once taught by a very wise man, Matua Whatarangi Winiata, that our kaupapa are like those starry heavens above.   When we are struggling to respond to a nasty comment, or an unexpected attack look up and reach out for one of our kaupapa to help us.   Perhaps this is a time when manaakitanga will be our guide – that we actively consider the expression of generosity of spirit towards one another.   Or is the pursuit of kotahitanga all that we need – that a complaint is splintering our unity; resolution to the satisfaction of all parties is what we need to focus on.   It could be that rangatiratanga is the kaupapa that is at stake – the collective destiny should drive us forward.   Or maybe the taonga that is whakapapa is the kaupapa that reminds us what is important, what we need to do to move on.

As another wise man (Alexander Pope) once said, “to err is human; to forgive divine”.  All of us make mistakes ourselves yet find it hard to forgive others for their hapa.   I have found this strategy from Matua, looking upwards to find a way out of confusion and conflict, really useful – what kaupapa can we draw upon to help us in this situation?

Wairewa Manaaki Kai Wānanga





Ka hāhā te tuna ki te roto If the lake is full with eels

Ka hāhā te reo ki te kāika If the home resounds with speaking

Ka hāhā te takata ki te whenua The land will be inhabited by people

Last weekend Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu was honoured to be invited to the hākari for the manaaki kai wānanga that is being held at Wairewa Marae, 12th-14th March. 

The invitation came from Manea Tainui, who is leading a whanau initiative, Manaaki Kai which is about passing on intergenerational knowledge that supports the vibrant functioning of key marae events, centred around the manaakitanga of marae kai traditions. 

Manea Tainui was taught by her legendary taua, Mere Tainui. Manea spent many hours at Onuku, and in her taua’s kitchen learning how to plan, manage and ensure manuhiri left with a positive memory of their time there and ultimately about the kai. 

The dream for Iwi Kai is that the whanau impact of Manaaki Kai will allow those who participate to become more confident to take responsibility for all level of marae catering. This may lead to new horizons and opportunities for employment or business including: 

Wananga 1- Marae catering budgeting/management resources 

Wananga 2 – Selection and preparation of traditional Maori food 

Wananga 3 – Practical Demonstration through various marae catering events.

We love your manaaki Manea!   Keep doing what you do – feeding the puku, filling the heart.

Working together with the Police in Kaikoura

One of the key roles of Whānau Ora Navigators is connection – connecting whānau; connections with whakapapa; linking in to marae; working together with helping agencies.   Building strong, healthy and mutually reinforcing relationships with state agencies is always a good step for working together with whānau.   This week our Manukura, Rachael Haate, saw that relationship-building magic in action with the team at Takahanga Marae.





Ahakoa he iti, he pounamu

This week some of our team have been enjoying the beauty of Te Tai Poutini, as they work with whānau entities on their reporting and milestone requirements for Wave 13.   One of our entities who is selling and gifting firewood to kaumātua gifted our data analyst, Sam Selwyn, with his first ever piece of pounamu. It was a lovely gesture of gratitude to a very hard working Sam.

Aaron Tauwhare is responsible for leading an initiative around the concept, ‘Fill their woodbox’.   The kaupapa presents as a whanau firewood business that markets itself on its values proposition, because for every trailer load of firewood sold they promise to donate a load of firewood to a kaumatua or whānau in need.  Customers get to feel good that their purchase is one of kindness.  Aaron’s son and nephews learn practical skills around problem solving, safe operation of machinery, as well as health and safety awareness.

The Panel appreciated the triple focus of your initiative: the skill development for whānau in running and operating a business; the COVID purpose of focusing on material need such as warmth, and the iwi-inspired initiative, of the spirit of Manaaki – for every load sold, one load to be donated to kaumatua.    Just beautiful.




Whetū i te Rangi Symposium, 3 May 2021

The Whetū i te Rangi Symposium to be held 3 May 2021 at Te Papa.  Whetū i te Rangi will identify ways to improve access, choice and equity for tangata Māori towards the end of life and in bereavement. For further information on registration, scholarships, and flyers, please click the following link.

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Project Maurihiko

If you thought there was something special in the air this week it was probably due to the electricity generated by these people.





Project Mauri Hiko kicked off at Awarua Synergy in Murihiku a couple of weeks ago.  This week (Thursday), Project Lead, Sumaria Beaton advised me of the incredible progress that is being observed with the Navigators working alongside of the amazing team at Awarua Synergy. Sumaria gave each navigator a few tasks to work on with a view to share and update at the next Zoom call. 

The digital story of Project Mauri Hiko along with a progress report will be shared at this year’s Whanau Ora Symposium in Otepoti. We are hopeful that all the Project Mauri Hiko navigators are able to attend and be part in showcasing the ground-breaking mahi they have been involved in. 

The sun is always shining in Te Tai Poutini

This week our stellar team, Sue Quinn, Gina-Lee Duncan, Mihi-Rose Tipene and Sam Selwyn, were based in Hokitika, Greymouth and Westport, helping to progress the contractual negotiations with some of the whānau entities who have been invested in through Wave 13.


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My team said it was a pleasure to meet Sunny Petley who is facilitating a kaupapa on Section 7aa of the Oranga Tamariki act, at Arahura Marae today.    As one said: “Thanks for the introduction of another amazing wahine trail-blazing change within systems”. 




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Mokopuna Ora Navigator


Mokopuna Ora Navigator – Fixed term 12 months full time (working from Motueka).

The focus of this role: The purpose of a Mokopuna Ora Navigator is to provide key activities to support whānau to be self-determining including, identifying whānau current circumstances and steps to achieve aspirations, centered around the first 1000 days of a tamariki life. 

To achieve this, the. Mokopuna Ora Navigator will: 

  • Navigate services and opportunities around whānau, enabling whānau to be more self-managing and responsible for their economic, cultural and social development and well-being. 

  • Ensure that whanau with tamariki 0-5 are connected with services that pertain to the wellbeing and growth of the mokopuna. 

  • Support whānau to identify strengths within whānau, facilitate and mentor whānau to identify aspirations, and draw on a range of approaches to support whānau in achieving their aspirations. 

If you think you have what it takes, then we’d love to hear from you.   Please contact Robyn at for a full job description and employment application form. Additionally, please forward your CV to the above email. Applications close: 26th March 2021.

It was great to see a good turnout in Nelson for our reporting workshop this week as well.


Words in Wellington

This week we have spent a few days in Wellington, both at Parliament and in a forum convened by the Ministry of Social Development.   I started the day speaking to the Justice and Regulations Review Select Committee on the Family Court (supporting children) bill.  Our position was that we need to look at ways of connecting to the power of Section 7aa in the Oranga Tamariki legislation, so that every case concerning every child coming before the Family Court is contextualised within a discussion around whakapapa, whanaungatanga and mana tamaiti.

The hui on the waterfront looked into the concept of Social Sector Commissioning.   It was a great opportunity for passionate people in policy and practice across Aotearoa, to share our views and aspirations around commissioning for outcomes.   It was a particular privilege to have Hon Carmel Sepuloni attend the forum, to share her focus for this area.


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