The flames dancing high into the horizon marked the dawning of Puanga/Puaka in a special way for our new commissioning manager, Huata Arahanga.

In the early morning light, the Arahanga whānau gathered at the Puanga celebrations on Koro Ruapehu. As the pūtatara and pūkaea sounded out, karanga were offered by the nannies. This was followed with some beautiful ruruku (karakia) and a special mihi to koro Ruapehu; to honour the arrival of winter; to pray to the maunga to clear it for the community.

The families then gathered as an iwi and remembered the many who has passed over the previous year – their names released into the flames of the fire; a precious opportunity to set them free. 

Huata reflected “Twas the best way to start the new year – returned with two full cups – filled with aroha, wairua, mauri all filled and fed through the natural practise of whānau ora”. 

Puanga is the star that signifies the beginning of the Māori New Year. We look to Puanga and those stars are the ones who guide us into the pathway to Matariki.





Puanga and Kōanga Kai

The star Puaka, a blue-white star in Orion, has important significance to Ngāi Tahu as it marks the end of the mutton bird and tuna season.  

The cycle of Haratua is to preserve kai, finish planting crops and trees in preparation for winter. Being the end of the year, Haratua is a time of reflection, setting and reviewing goals and aspirations. It’s an opportunity for whānau to celebrate; remember loved ones and look forward to the fruits of the new year. The tohu for this maramataka include the appearance of karamu (Coprosma robusta), tawa and karaka berries, which were traditionally collected and preserved for protein in the colder months. Other tohu in the moana are the spawning and migration of pākirikiri (blue cod).

In the spirit of Puanga, this week our team has been out on the road, negotiating the agreements for the new fund – Kōanga Kai. Kahutane Whaanga is pictured below, negotiating a new Kōanga Kai contract with Renee Love and Waikawa Whanau Ora Navigator.






Donna from Te Piki Oranga took the opportunity to encourage Kahutane into the vaccine clinic for his first COVID-19 vaccination while at Waikawa Marae.

Kahutane then travelled on to meet with Joy Shorrock, interim general manager at Te Awhina Marae, Motueka, for another korero around Koanga Kai.



Meanwhile, one of our Whānau Ora tutors at ARA; and Kōanga Kai panellist, Pounamu Skelton (Te Ati Awa, Taranaki and Ngati Ruanui) has been sharing the love about Hua Parakore – an organic gardening approach reflected through a kaupapa Māori lens imbued with Mātauranga. 

Pounamu shares the significance of six principles (whakapapa, wairua, mana, māramatanga, mauri, and Te Ao Tūroa). She talked about how these principles have been threatened and compromised by processes of raupatu (land confiscation) and impoverishment due to colonisation, as well as the large-scale changes of industrialisation. Hua Parakore is an indigenous movement which pushes beyond the need for food security and demands food sovereignty; advocating to rebuild our soils, plant and animal health, and therefore people and planetary health.

Pounamu has taught mātauranga permaculture for the past five years around Taranaki, where she focused on the healing opportunities that occur from getting people, and especially youth, engaged in Māra Kai. 






Whanake Mana: Training outline 

Uplifting our collective awareness and ability to support whānau 

This training is designed as a shared hui with staff from Southern District Health Board, ACC and kaupapa Māori community providers, to look at new models of working closely together and utilising our collective skills to support whānau in their health journeys. 

The focus will be on whānau who are recovering from traumatic brain injuries, but will be applicable to many other health conditions. 

Facilitator: Mathew Kiore, Pou Taki educator, SDHB 

Where: Wakari Board Room, 2nd floor, Wakari Hospital, 371 Taieri Rd, Wakari, Dunedin

When: Thursday July 1st, 9am-12pm 

Please RSVP to

Farewell to Evon Currie, Community and Public Health

This week I had the privilege of speaking to honour the contribution of Evon Currie, who has resigned from Public Health where she has been regional manager for the last 25 years.

Evon played a crucial role in the establishment of the South Island Hauora Alliance – providing clear leadership; consistent enthusiasm; impeccable organisation and unbridled motivation. 

Together we formed a collective agenda – to focus on the first 1000 days. We commissioned a ‘1000 Days’ health intelligence report; we shared a conversation on workplace commitment to support for breastfeeding; we followed closely the progress of six Mokopuna Ora pilots; and we provided strategic advice to the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet along with the Directors of the Child Wellbeing Unit and the Child Poverty Unit. Our submissions and presentation directly contributed to the Government’s Wellbeing Strategy. The evolution of the Hauora Alliance has been fundamental as an effective means to promote, enhance and facilitate the health and wellbeing of the people of the South Island.

It was a real joy as we farewelled Evon to also meet her three beautiful mokopuna.







Hui on the development of the Māori Employment Action Plan

Thursday 1 July

9:00am – 11:30am, followed by a light lunch

Addington Raceway and Events Centre


Te Ara Mahi Māori (the Māori Employment Action Plan Reference Group) invites you to their hui on the Māori Employment Action Plan on 1 July in Christchurch. Te Ara Mahi Māori is an independent reference group established by Government to partner with officials to provide recommendations on the Māori Employment Action Plan. Once it is developed, the Action Plan will provide a concrete plan for how the government can support Māori in work to achieve their aspirations. They are undertaking targeted hui around to motu to engage with whānau outside of central government.

Te Ara Mahi Māori is made up of: 

  • Janice Panoho (Ngāpuhi, Te Arawa, Ngāti Whātua, Ngāti Hine, Waikato-Tainui)

  • Darrio Penetito-Hemara (Ngāti Haua, Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Tamaterā)

  • Kerri Nuku (Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāi Tai)

  • Naomi Hughes (Ngāti Maniapoto)

  • Grant Williams (Rongowhakaata, Ngāti Porou, Ngāti Kahungunu, Kai Tahu)

  • Jonathan Tautari (Ngati Wai, Ngati Hine, Ngapuhi, Tainui)

  • Huhana Lyndon (Ngāti Hine, Ngātiwai, Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Whātua, Waikato-Tainui)

  • Theresa Rongonui (Ngāti Tūwharetoa)

  • Paul Retimanu (Ngāti Hamoa)


They want to hear your insights into how Māori experience the world of work, and to test the mahi they have done so far on developing their recommendations. They would also appreciate you passing this invite onto others you know of who have interest and expertise in Māori experiences of work (including other areas that intersect with this, like education, training, and wellbeing). 

They are holding a hui in Christchurch on Thursday 1 July 2021, and invite you to attend. It will run from 9am-11:30am, followed by a light lunch. Please RSVP to by Friday, 25 June 

TU Matahiko

To celebrate the completion of our TU Matahiko programme for our South Island pakihi, we’re holding a rā whakamana (day of celebration) and you are invited!




Māori Housing Strategy

Māori have a clear vision of all whānau in warm, safe, healthy, affordable, secure homes. The Government recognises it has a role in supporting Māori to achieve this vision. We want to review our current Māori Housing Strategy – and create a new strategy that builds on the momentum of recent Māori housing efforts by both Māori and the Crown. 

The new strategy is an important opportunity to shape Māori housing priorities for the next 30 years and influence government investment. Te Tūāpapa Kura Kāinga, Te Puni Kōkiri and Te Matapihi are working in partnership – to design the new strategy – and to engage with Iwi and Māori housing leaders around the motu – to make sure we “get it right”. 

Friday 25 June; 10.30am-2.30pm; Te Puni Kōkiri; 1 BNZ Centre, 120 Hereford Street, Christchurch. To RSVP, email with the event you are interested in, the name of your organisation and attendees. Links will follow for online events on receipt of your RSVP.

National Sexual and Family Violence : Tangata Whenua Roopu



Over the next two weeks, Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu is supporting hui in Kawatiri, Hokitika, Murihiku, Otepoti, Motueka, Wairau and Waitaha to discuss and respond to the Government’s proposed national strategy on the prevention of sexual and family violence. Naumai, haeremai!


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