Ka Koroki Te Manu

Presentation on Whānau Ora – Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu; Nga Hau e Wha marae; Christchurch

Helen Leahy, Pouārahi / Chief Executive

Wednesday 27 September 2017



It is our honour and privilege to be part of this welcome to those who come from the four winds, who have travelled far from across the globe to land here at Nga Hau e Wha.

Exactly forty years ago, on 23 September 1977, the Christchurch City Council made this site  – what was known as Cuthberts Green – as a marae site.   The proposed marae siting was strongly opposed by the local community and 179 public objections were made to the proposal, all from residents of neighbouring properties.  

And yet today it stands as the largest national marae in New Zealand.

It has become a meeting place for all peoples from everywhere; a hub for the community with multiple agencies and services working together in the common interest.

It is, indeed, a perfect setting from which to welcome the world.


The 2017 Social Enterprise World Forum is founded on the traditional wisdoms of the indigenous people –  with the theme, Ka Koroki te manu referring to one of the karakia, or prayers of Ngai Tahu.   The wisdom in that karakia is worth repeating.

Ka Haea te ata, ka Hāpara te ata

Ka korokī te manu

Ka wairori te kutu

Ko te ata nui, ka horaina

Ka Taki te umere,

He po, he po, he ao

ka awatea.


As the dawn breaks and we hear the birds call, we move from the time of darkness to the new era of enlightenment.    Each new dawn enables us to embrace new knowledge, to be inspired by the possibilities that rise in front of us.

This city has experienced the rumbling of the earth, the shattering of structures and suburbs alike, through the impact of earthquakes in 2010 and 2011 and the thousands of aftershocks that permeated our lives for years to follow.

And yet just as the phoenix arises from ashes; or the lotus flower emerges out of the mud, we have seen the spirit of enterprise flourishing in large scale, systemic and sustainable social change.

My particular focus today is to introduce the concept of Whānau Ora as one of New Zealand’s proudest opportunities to highlight and advance the social innovation emerging from the indigenous peoples of this land.

The name Te Pūtahitanga o  Te Waipounamu is literally the convergence of the multiple rivers of the South Island.  

It is a vision drawn from the nine iwi – the nine tribal confederations that have mana whenua status to this land.  

Mana whenua refers to the mana held by local people who have ‘demonstrated authority’ over land or territory in a particular area, authority which is derived through genealogical links to that area.

There is another meaning to Pūtahitanga – and that is the long strata of clouds above us.

It encourages us to look above, to seek inspiration from innovation, to search for technologies or strategies, inventions or approaches with entrepreneurial zeal to meet the needs of our families so they may flourish in their own image and on their own terms.

We come then to Whānau Ora.  Whānau – literally meaning to be born of; the siblings, cousins, aunties, uncles, grandparents in which you share a common genealogical connection – extended family.

Ora – is the expression of wellbeing.   You might hear the words – Kia ora : as a greeting; or Mauri Ora – wishing you the breath of life.

Indeed if you were to consult a Maori dictionary, you would find 274 dictionary definitions of this concept of ora – ultimate and unparalleled wellbeing.

Whānau Ora then represents an unwavering belief in the innate capacity of our families to do for themselves, to contribute meaningfully to economic and social development and the driving passion to make transformation happen.

Essentially then, Whanau Ora social investment is unique because it:

  • recognises a collective entity,

  • endorses a group capacity for self-determination,

  • has an inter-generational dynamic,

  • is built on a Māori cultural foundation,

  • asserts a positive role for whānau within society and

  • can be applied across a wide range of social and economic sectors


For us in New Zealand, Whānau Ora is a practical but innovative approach which has allowed us to break away from the constraints of a silo sector mentality, or a mainstream idealogy.   It pushes us to take risks that others wouldn’t dear.

Through our collective force, we are able to share wisdoms, build networks and work together to create a sustainable future for all our generations to benefit from.


Our approach brings together both social enterprise – what we call as whānau entities – submitting ideas through a commissioning pipeline.

These ideas are driven by whānau themselves; they emphasize practical, innovative and unique approach to address what we might variously call market or government failure.   Other streams of work focus directly on whānau circumstances – the day to day challenge of making ends meet – through Whānau Navigators.

We have a focus on creating sites of safety free from harm of violence, a focus on resilience and suicide prevention; a focus on Mokopuna Ora – the wellbeing of our children.

We have approximately 115 of these whānau enterprises currently standing strong across the South Island; you will hear from two of them today – Hale Compound Conditioning and Bros for Change.

While there are essentially 114 unique models for 114 unique whānau settings, we achieve a common purpose through a strengths focus and an outcome basis to our work.

The notion of a ripple effect – Te Panga Pokare – will be addressed particularly by our entities in their korero with you.

The initiatives operate across a wide form of social value from physical fitness, community gardens, a café, cookery and gardening schools, healing, low cost health clinic, tourism, cosmetics out of oyster shells, language growth.

The social value framework indicates a particular opportunity to create authentic social connection which in itself is a social gain.   Research indicates the strengthened connections with whānau have a significant impact on health, wellbeing and longevity.

One initiative, for example, a Maori apprenticeship training scheme, demonstrates a significant financial return.   Researchers from Lincoln University analysed the potential earnings as a result of training and employment, for each of the 39 whanau involved in the scheme over their working life.  The analysis indicated tha the apprenticeship scheme has the potential to return a cost benefit ratio of 1:7; potentially returning seven dollars for every dollar invested.

The settings are as varied as they are in geographic location.

Pa Ora, Pa Wananga has created an ambitious plan for whānau transformation through creating a thriving and sustainable living and learning marae for whānau and community.  It follows traditional Maori pedagogy, recognising the important role that marae play in the development and nurturing of culturally strong whānau.  

Their organic condiments provides a steady income stream which also enables the marae to provide afterschool support for young children, (Pa Kids); developing a feasibility study for a Maori immersion school; and a programme on mau rākau – traditional weaponry and physical activity.


What we know is that the investment in whānau enterprises strengthens the capability of the homes and marae our whānau are located in.  Whānau health has improved with evidence of increased physical activity, improved access to services, reduction in smoking, drug and alcohol use and better management of chronic conditions.   In addition a powerful social network has established.


The issues differ across the South Island; the impact however is often shared : strengthened communities representing an emphasis on the vital relationship between the level of investment and outcome.


An important and immediate impact has been the growth of whakawhanaungatanga – the collaboration of partners, whānau, rūnanga, iwi, social agencies, government.


As our social enterprises evolve and develop their capability this collaboration is vital for achieving sustainability.


And this is where our target is focused on transformation – te ao hou – the new world. We believe the greatest impact of our social enterprise model will be seen in a self-sustaining community that reaches across the South Island connected through social capital. As a result of whānau and social enterprise, whānau will be less dependent on state intervention, more innovative and entrepreneurial, more cohesive, nurturing and resilient.


We call this outcomes mapping model – Nga hihi o te ra – literally the radiating effects of the sun.  

Part of the success of an initiative can be seen from the size, scope, reach and frequency of radiating outcomes from core business. (added value created)

  • Hale Compound Conditioning

  • Kakano Café

  • Koukourarata

  • Bros for Change


The challenge for our model is around sustainability.   Our funding is driven by one year of principal funding to take a whānau enterprise from start up through to sustainability.

We are trying to maximise the long term impact by holding wananga, specific learning opportunities to focus on

  • Organisational skills and capabilities of whānau entrepreneurs, for example

  • Investment readiness among whānau entrepreneurs

  • Measurement of outcomes

  • Access to capital


In order to respond appropriately, we have made a commitment to:

  • Increase awareness of social investment opportunities – online platforms, networking opportunities, symposium

  • Improve organisational skills and capabilities : Human Capital: Intensive expert advice from Whānau Enterprise Coaches (>2,700 hours last year)

  • Improve investment readiness – sustainability clauses in our contracts; working with philanthropic sector, community trusts

  • Provide start-up funding


So are we making a difference?

  • We know that the investment in whānau enterprise commissioning has increased cultural connection for whānau and built cultural capability in Te Waipounamu: 45% of whānau engaged with te reo Maori speak well compared to 5% Maori average  

  • 99%  whānau engaged with initiatives report they are doing well compared with 84% average for Maori across New Zealand

  • 94% whānau engaged with initiatives report high level of life satisfaction compared to 79% Maori average across New Zealand.


Finally, I began with the karakia

Ka Haea te ata, ka Hāpara te ata

Ka korokī te manu

As morning breaks and the dawn chorus is heard it is appropriate to know the reality of multiple outcomes, the courage and determination of our social enterprise champions, and to demonstrate the impact of the transformation process being led by our whānau.


And so it is appropriate to end on a high, with the story of Hale Compound Conditioning, Manu and Korey Hale; and Bros for Change (Jaye Pukepuke).