He iti hau marangai e tū te pāhokahoka | After the storm the rainbow appear

One early morning this week Gina-Lee Duncan jumped out of bed and called out to her sleeping teenagers, let’s go catch the sunrise. She drove out to Te Onepoto and walked along the beach, heartened by the warmth of the dawn rays; ready for whatever the daybreak would bring.

I so love the example that Gina-Lee has set for me as a parent. That one action reflects a mother who is spontaneous, who is in love with life, and wants to inspire her children to wake up to the wonder of each day.

Ko Te Onepoto te māra a Hinekarikari: Te Onepoto is the garden of Hinekarikari. I have good memories of this beautiful beach. Taylor’s Mistake was the place my mate, Georgie and I would go, a special place to uncover pupu burrowed close to the surface of the sand; to forage for kai, and return home to feast on the treasures of Tangaroa. Along the way I learnt life lessons- never turn your back on Tangaroa; always acknowledge the gift of the bounty, just take what you need, be grateful.

Te Onepoto is known for its abundance of the jewels of the sea – kūtai, pipi and tuangi. On a good day you could gather pāpaka, paua; koura, ika, and other kaimoana.

The whakataukī, “Ko Te Onepoto te māra a Hinekarikari”, refers to Hinekarikari who was one of the wives of Tangaroa. Through their union, a luxurious variety of shellfish found in the foreshore come about.

The importance of gathering kaimoana and all food sources cannot be underestimated. Gathering and collecting food is the most important type of work for the survival of the people. Without food, the people would perish. It was this abundance of food and resources that no doubt attracted mana whenua when they first settled in the 1500s. The caves (ngā ana) at Te Onepoto provided shelter for the people to sleep inside during long cold nights. The history and heritage associated with Te Onepoto is very precious as it also a sanctury of kororā – a rare form of the little blue penguin that only breed in Waitaha.

More recently, not just one but apparently three Captain Taylors are alleged to have mistaken the beach for the entrance to Lyttelton Harbour and ran aground, hence its contemporary name, Taylor’s Mistake.

  • 1853 – Chief Officer Taylor ran the barge, Gwalior, aground on the beach
  • 1858 Captain Taylor wrecked his vessel the Volga
  • 1863 – another Captain Taylor made his mistake in the schooner, Catherine.

I'm Awesome

These life lessons in taking a moment to be in awe of the breath-taking beauty; the stunning landscapes; the astounding wealth of the sea-shore bounty, is a great reminder at this time of Huna, to nourish our hinengaro, wairua and tinana – a giveback day for Tangaroa.

During the lockdown period, our three year old mokopuna would jump hard out on her bed, and sing at the top of her lungs, from a pop-girl band, Rainbow and the Rainbooms.

I’m awesome

Take Caution

Watch out for me

I’m awesome as I want to be.

During that hectic period of endless zui, amidst the anxiety we all felt as we watched the impact of Delta take over our lives, sometimes Rainbow Rocks on high speed and top volume, wasn’t exactly what I wanted to contend with. But I must admit I have been missing that little bundle of effervesence as she returned to kohanga and me to mahi.

We could never work out the second line in the song – all we could make out was the emphasis Hine would place on ‘awesome’. But actually the second and third lines say it all – watch out for all our babies; be cautious; do what we can to nurture the wonder in their lives; to inspire the sparkle in their eyes, to caress them with kindness, to encourage them to be as awesome as they wanna be.

Manaaki Atu, Manaaki Mai 

We are acutely aware that Māori whānau are the most at risk of negative impacts of Covid-19 and are the least protected. Just 21% of eligible (aged 12 plus) Māori have had two COVID-19 jabs so far, compared to 35% Pakeha and 33% overall. These facts alone are sufficient justification for us to initiate whatever means we can to assist in providing information about vaccination.

Whaea Molly’s story is compelling – it encourages us all to korero.  We need to make sure everyone has somewhere they can go to have that conversation.

There was never any doubt in my mind about getting the vaccine. I worked with whānau Māori for many years at the grass roots level, and later was fortunate enough to manage the Ngāti Rārua health services for twenty years. For the past seven years, I have also been the co-chair of Te Taumata, the iwi board that oversees Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu.

These experiences mean that I know how important it is for us to frontfoot the vaccinations, because our Māori communities are always on the backfoot, especially when it comes to health. I would encourage everyone to get it – by doing so we are actually leading the world in keeping our whānau and our hapū and our iwi safe. When you look at what’s happening overseas, you can see that we’ve done very well so far and the vaccine is the best way to make sure that continues.

Our vaccination rates for Māori here in Te Tau Ihu are quite high, and I think that’s because there was a drive from a lot of us right from the beginning, to get the message out and to run our own clinics where our community would feel comfortable. I know that similar efforts are happening across the motu, and I hope that soon we will see the numbers of Māori vaccinations matching all other ethnicities.

I got my first dose at a regular clinic and I could see why some of our people were not feeling comfortable about going there. You’re standing in a line way out on the street and there’s no one to talk to and when you get inside it’s so quick, there’s no time to ask any questions. But at our clinics, it was like a day out – a really fun day where they could come and chat, have a cup of tea and some kai.

There were a few of our whānau members who were uncertain and one who was absolutely determined he wasn’t going to get it. The key to that is that we also have people in our community who are health professionals, nurses and doctors who are able to be at the forefront of our clinics so when people arrive they can actually ask questions – and they weren’t shy to do that!

If someone is feeling uncertain about the vaccine, I like one-to-one conversations so you can get to know why – whether they’re scared, whether they’ve read another theory online. If they totally disagree and want nothing to do with it, that’s one conversation. But if they’re scared and want to know more about it, that’s a different one. We need to make sure everyone has somewhere they can go to have that conversation, whether it’s their GP if they have a good relationship or to a Māori NGO.

I have had experience with some of our whānau who were uncertain and sometimes even determined they weren’t going to have it. Usually all they needed was to talk to the right person to make them feel comfortable. And I have had those conversations to say it’s more than you that you need to be looking out for – don’t run the risk for our babies and our whānau.


COVID-19 Response Ngā Kete Matauranga Pounamu

Reading the special COVID newsletter put out this week by Ngā Kete Mātauranga Pounamu Charitable Trust in Invercargill made it so clear how kaupapa Māori essential service providers made such an outstanding contribution to the greater health and wellbeing of whānau throughout the recent Alert Levels 3 and 4, and now 2.

Throughout the higher alert levels Ngā Kete Mātauranga Pounamu continued to test and vaccinate the community (2849 vaccinations since the beginning of Alert Level 4), reduced their face-to-face GP consultations by 80%, continued phone appointments including GP consultations, and addictions, cancer, and stop smoking support, stepped up their cleaning and became part of the Murihiku Food Hub Centre.

Ka mau te wehi e Ngā Kete


Patients were still able to collect prescriptions from our pharmacy throughout this time and rostered staff greeted patients at the front door to ensure safe practices and that needs were being met. The kaimahi prepared about 30 kai parcels a day including bulk parcels which were either collected or delivered to locations such as Gore, Mataura and Te Anau. They also created a four-part Hauora series throughout Alert Level 4, which followed the four cornerstones of Te Whare Tapa Whā – Taha Hinengaro, Taha Tinana, Taha Wairua and Taha Whānau.

They received some wonderful feedback about the vaccination clinics.

“Yesterday we came into PIACT as a whānau to get our COVID-19 vaccinations and I actually didn’t want to leave. The staff are so beautiful and kind and respectful, and funny! I have highly recommended everyone I know to book and visit your facilities, as the process was so easy, fun and extremely well run.”

Ana Fa’au

Waiata hou - tukuna

Local kapa haka superstar, entrepreneur and wahine toa, Ana Fa’au, this week shared the incredible excitement of a new waiata created and crafted by Siu Ki Holeva Willimas-Lemi, Thom O’Connor and Ana.

The waiata was released on Sept 13, to mark the beginning of Te Wiki o te Reo Māori. At the end of September, they will be releasing a bilingual version of this song titled ‘Guardians of Papatūānuku.

The taonga pūora are played by the amazing Ruby Hinepunui Solly. The singers are Siu, her sister Leah Willimas-Partington and Ana. Have a listen and a share the waiata, Nga Kaitiaki o Papatūānuku.

In her application for Wave 13 funding, Ana made a compelling case for Māmā as being at the heart of their whānau. We are so proud to be supporting Ana in seeking to support Māmā and their tamariki in their te reo journeys; as well as enabling constructive opportunities to connect with one another, share lived experiences and to grow together, to become the best parents they can for their tamariki. When our mothers are seen, heard and affirmed, the whole whānau benefits.

Women in Public Service Summit 

We are excited to invite you to register for the upcoming Southern Women in Public Sector Summit

being held at La Vida Centre in Christchurch and virtually on Thursday, 28 October 2021.

Please join us to hear from diverse and engaging lineup leaders sharing their experiences and career highs and lows.

Registrations are now open and you can register here. We anticipate a quick sell out and encourage you to register early.

The cost to attend in-person is $305 +GST per person and includes attendance at the Summit, day catering and networking function upon conclusion of the Summit.

We are excited to also provide virtual tickets to the event this year for $150 +GST per person and

includes attendance at the Summit plus opportunities to interact and engage

within the virtual platform with other delegates.

You have until Thursday 19 September 2019 or until tickets are sold out, so get in quick.

To find out more information please head to the event website. If you require any assistance, please email wpss@auaha.co.nz.

He Tai Timu, He Tai Pari, He Tai Nui

Ngā Pou Mana invites you to register for our online Hui-ā-Tau from 11 – 16 October 2021. We will host and facilitate a series of workshops and sessions over zoom that will be guided by our theme “Taitimu, Taipari”. We are also providing you the opportunity to wānanga alongside key guest speakers who are ensuring a flourishing future for Māori Health.

Poroporoaki – Barb Greer

Ka tangi moteatea ana te ngākau mo te take kua riro mai te karere o aitua. E tau ana te kapua pouri mai Kawatiri heke iho ki Makaawhio i te wehenga o tera kuia o tātou ko Barbara Greer. Nō reira e te wahine maia haere, haere e moe.

We were saddened this week to acknowledge the loss of founding Te Taumata member for Ngāti Apa ki te Rā To Charitable Trust, Barbara Greer.

In 2008, Barbara was awarded a Member of NZ Order of Merit for her services to Māori and to health. She was a Justice of the Peace; a champion of community; and a proud Coaster. Whaea Barb had a wonderfully exuberant personality; a great sense of humour and thoroughly good-sense as well. We will all miss her.

Barb passed away peacefully at home surrounded by whanau on Sunday, September 12, 2021. Our love and heartfelt sympathies are extended to her husband, Paul; and all those who mourn her most as a cherished mother, nana, great grandmother, sister and sister-in-law, aunty, cousin, and friend.

Messages to 228 Hampden Street, Hokitika 7810 or can be left on Barbara’s tribute page at www.thompsonfd.co.nz.