They say that hearing is listening to what is said; listening is hearing what isn’t said. When we listen with curiosity; listen with the intent to understand; we can show the greatest kindness. The quieter you become, the more you can hear. As the country engages in dialogue of division; the art of appreciative listening becomes even more important than ever. With a bit of provocative prodding from the media, it appears everyone has an opinion about those who you are worthy and those who are not; those who are vaxxed or unvaxxed.
There is all range of reactions about reference to gangs; to sex workers; to prisoners; to a pastor from the Destiny Church. At the end of it all, we are all whānau members; doing our best to enable our mokopuna to be fit and strong. There is no value in the game of divide and rule. The solution lies in the conversations we must have about how we eliminate COVID from our midst; what we can do, collectively; to reduce the terrible impact that the Delta strain is having on our communities. We have to have this dialogue together – to listen to different point of views – and to make wellbeing our universal focus.
Last Friday our Pou Whakaaweawe, Hikairo Te Hae, visited Te Tau Ihu to attend the graduation ceremony for Pito Mata, an initiative created by Hawaiki Kura led by Kiley Nepia with a focus on Māori rangatahi leadership and the rediscovery of their history and whakapapa through the use of mau rākau, mahi waewae, haka, waiata, and other activities. Hikairo was very privileged to witness first-hand the positive impact that whānau transformation has on our rangatahi, the future leaders. While up in Te Tau Ihu, he also got to meet and learn about Te Pātaka, led by Josh Joseph, the initiative that has provided kai to so many whānau and kaumātua in need.
To finish off his time, Hikairo stopped in for a bite to eat at Morries Munchies, an initiative created by Whirimako Hills where he was welcomed with open arms. He got to spend some time talking to them over a bowl of seafood chowder and two large fry bread. They were able to share their vision, all about creating opportunities for rangatahi to be able to come through and learn life skills, things like cooking and running a business.
Our Whānau Champion Gina-Lee Duncan has been spending time in Te Tau Ihu and Te Tai Poutini, checking in with whānau from Poutini Waiora in Hokitika, Te Āwhina Marae in Motueka and Whare Manaaki in Māwhera. Kōanga Kai is such a beautiful kaupapa, bringing in all whānau to enhance connections when society is encouraging isolation, and a safe space from divisions because everyone has food in common, and the desire for health!
We have also received milestone reporting from Noaia, a programme that streamlines rangatahi and wider whānau into meaningful and sustainable employment pathways across a range of sectors. At a recent catch up they received some amazing feedback from their participants, who they have supported to get their driver licences, first aid certificates and forklift licences.