I have a huge amount of respect for Māori health researcher, Professor Rawiri Taonui.  Rawiri Taonui (Te Hikutū and Ngāti Korokoro, Te Kapotai and Ngāti Paeahi, Ngāti Rora, Ngāti Whēru, Ngāti Te Taonui) was New Zealand’s first Professor of Indigenous Studies. He has written over 670 book chapters, media features, articles and opinion pieces, won 9 writing awards and given over 900 media interviews. So when he told us this week that Māori face the largest pandemic risk in 103 years, I listened.

So when he told us this week that Māori face the largest pandemic risk in 103 years, I listened.

In his view, Level 3 Delta has allowed more people to move about Auckland and cross Auckland borders with other regions, enabling and disguising Delta’s movement into the marginalised periphery of the Māori community.  The evidence is unfolding in front of us. There are new cases in Raglan, Kāwhia, Hamilton and Karapiro. There is an elevated risk of further transmission into Northland and from the Waikato into other regions. The principal risk is to the lower vaccinated Māori community. The statistics are sobering:

  • Māori are 13 of 29 new cases.
  • This is the eighth time in nine days Māori have had the highest number of cases by ethnicity.
  • Māori are 42.6% (149 of 376) of new cases during Level 3.
  • Māori are the highest number of new cases by ethnicity since September 14.
  • Māori cases are 21.1% (305 of 1,448) of all Delta cases (yet 16.7% of the population)
  • Māori cases passed the total for all Pākehā, Asian, and MELAA cases on September 30

All the statistics in the world, however, won’t make a difference if they sit static in news releases without sparking the conversations we need to be having. The rongoa is found in the korero. We have to keep talking about Delta; about vaccination; about cherishing life; protecting the pa; making our contribution towards upholding the sanctity of life.

Our biggest challenge to addressing the dramatic path of the Delta Strain is not just the abundance of conspiracy theories; it is complacency.

We need to bring our best minds together, to create new strategies and devise new approaches. It was so exciting this week to see the launching of a new campaign, “I’m vaccinated for my kapa haka”.

While Te Matatini, the national organisation for kapa haka is discussing whether it will only allow whānau to attend if they are vaccinated, title defender Ngā Tūmanako became the first haka group to run its own vaccination programme.

The korero is steadily building – we do not want to be the generation that takes our eyes off a deadly virus that places all our whānau at risk – we all need to have the conversations, to vaccinate or not to vaccinate, there’s plenty to talk about.

The first step in our recovery is in the korero.

Talk about it – let’s bring the change we need to see.

Elite Shearing

This week our amazing kaimahi Eileen Woolland and Gina-Lee Duncan were proud to participate in the Elite Wool Industry Training’s annual two-day research and development meeting. Elite delivers quality shearer and wool handling training and asked Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu to speak at this event to make sure that their trainers are aware of the supports and opportunities provided by the Whānau Ora network.

Historically the wool industry has been known to be challenging and demanding, and it is exciting to see changes being made and wellbeing becoming a key focus amongst trainers. With generations of shearing in her whānau, Eileen was particularly pleased to see this shift in perspective as the industry welcomes Whānau Ora into these spaces. Both Gina-Lee and Eileen were given a warm welcome and felt privileged to spend time alongside the most amazing and skilled shearers and wool handlers in the country – they even had the opportunity to shear the last side of a sheep each.

Elite Wool Industry provide training observing the four pillars of Te Whare Tapa Wha wellbeing Taha Tinana, Taha Wairua, Taha Hinengaro and Taha Whanau. We have been thrilled to invest in them through our Wave 15 funding.

Whare Manaaki

The crew from Māui Studios and our contracts advisor Kiri Williams headed to Māwhera this week to film the incredible kaupapa that is Whare Manaaki o Te Tai Poutini. One of our Wave 11 initiatives, Whare Manaaki is a kaupapa Māori space that aims to bring whānau together, to build connections and to help them access the support they need.

It is always incredible to spend time on the ground with the initiatives we support, and Whare Manaaki was no exception. We look forward to seeing the digital story of this kaupapa coming to life in the next few weeks, and in the meantime you can learn more about Eli and her amazing team here.

Wave 14 Updates

This week has been a refreshing one, bringing with it quarterly reporting from a number of our Wave initiatives. It is always wonderful to peruse these reports and remind ourselves of the many amazing things going on throughout the motu.

Morries Munchies

Although Morries Munchies in Wairau found lockdown difficult with the cancelling of catering events, they used the time to go over their work strategies and plan renovations for their kai caravan. When they are able to operate they have been providing work experience to two rangatahi which has led to an ongoing relationship for future events.

Most significantly, on 25 September they marked a huge milestone with the opening of their shop. Morries Munchies will be open from Thursday-Saturday every week with a regularly changing menu depending on what is in season. Pāua pies, hangi, fry bread and BBQ meats are all regular features!

Kura Poi

Kura Poi is a new kaupapa in development by Pōtiki Poi that will offer poi classes to tamariki and rangatahi in Ōtepoti. In the past three months the team have been busy securing studio space and planning content and timetables for their classes.

In the coming months, the team are hoping to hold their first classes and are exploring ways to deliver content online in case of further lockdown restrictions.

“Kura Poi is another pathway connecting us to our culture” – Georgia Latu, CEO Pōtiki Poi.

Kura Poi has been one of the new initiative supported through our Tama Ora funding; a joint venture with Sport New Zealand Ihi Aotearoa.

Māori Portraits By Maania Tealei Photography

Maania Tealei is a talented photographer based in the Timaru region, offering beautifully curated portraits wearing Māori kakahu, taonga and tā moko. These images offer their subjects a way to reconnect with their roots, to showcase taonga and to demonstrate their pride in their history and culture.

Tama Ora - Kaiawa

‘Tama Ora’ comes from the whakataukī ‘Tama tū tama ora, tama noho tama mate’ which translates to ‘An active person will live while a lazy person will not’. These are words of encouragement to urge rangatahi to participate in physical activities and exercise so that they can make good choices for their own health which will also benefit their whānau. This funding pool hopes to see rangatahi thrive in physical activities and exercise so that they can set goals and make significant progress for the health and wellbeing of themselves and their whānau.

One of the initiatives funded through this fund is Kaiawa Sports Inc which has received funding towards the establishment of Kaiawa Premier Women’s Touch League in Ōtautahi. This competition is targeted to wāhine aged 15-24 years old and aims to restrengthen the women’s touch league in Christchurch.

Te Whare Pū Rākau o Matamata For Wāhine Toa

This is a practical programme on Te Tai Poutini that enhances leadership qualities for wāhine through the development of physical, mental, emotional and spiritual growth. The skills of mau rākau can be applied to all aspects of life to achieve holistic wellness. The programme involves group and one-on-one coaching sessions as well as wānanga, supported by online videos, Facebook and a programme journal. Contact Jerry Pu on 027 242 209 or jpconsultingnz1@gmail.com if you’re interested in participating.

New Research Into Heart Disease

Great news this week to hear that Karaitiana Taiuru from the Christchurch Heart Institute at the University of Otago has been given a Heart Foundation grant for a two-year study in trying to help understand why heart disease is the leading cause of death and disability in Māori aged 65 years or older. Dr Taiuru says he’s motivated by the experience of his own whānau.

“Most men in my family didn’t make it past 65 and there was a mistrust of the health system. Whānau just didn’t go to the hospital, they would prefer to pass away at home. I still hear stories like that now. With research and education and making sure Māori are on the agenda, hopefully, this will be a thing of the past,” he says.

Tū Pono

Whāngaia Ngā Pā Harakeke Ki Ōtepoti

Whāngaia Ngā Pā Harakeke ki Ōtepoti is an initiative based at the South Dunedin Police Station that provides support for whānau affected by family violence. An ever-growing whānau of police, iwi organisations, NGOs, Whānau Ora Navigators, kaiāwhina and government agency staff working alongside one another in one big whare to make positive and sustainable change.

After a year of Whānau Resilience co-design, wānanga and hui with partners and whānau, it was decided to incorporate the Tū Pono strategy into working with whānau, using a kaupapa Māori framework to connect on a deeper level with our whānau. Tū Pono is now at the forefront of the co-design process.

The team are now further developing and customising Tū Pono for the Whāngaia Ngā Pā Harakeke kaupapa, with the creation of new resource packs that can be provided to whānau, and the launch of Te Pae Oraka Iwi Community Panel, which helps people make positive changes rather than going to court.

It is deeply rewarding to see Tū Pono contributing to the meaningful change that the team are creating in Ōtepoti, guided by whānau knowledge, aspirations and strengths.