It was the first prize no-one wanted. Last weekend Blenheim became the first place in Te Waipounamu where there was a community case of COVID in close to a year. As we headed into Labour weekend, COVID landed in Blenheim, leading to a flurry of activity at the CBAC in Horton Park (Blenheim) and in Saxton Field (Nelson). By Saturday 144 COVID tests had been processed in Marlborough.

Then on Thursday it became Christchurch’s turn. Suddenly it was all action stations. The MIHI Māori mobile team vaccinated at Rehua marae and Ara and Te Whare Roimata last week. This week they are vaccinating at the marae and at Te Kura Whakapūmau, University of Canterbury and Te Pa Rākaihatū.

Reserved capacity and walk-ins are occurring at Etu, Maui Hornby, Maui South City and Ngā Hau E Whā and a whanau approach is being delivered where the whole whanau is vaccinated at one time. The disability events, and notifications of walk-in and drive-through opportunities, are being posted on the new ‘one-stop-shop’ see link here

Last week mobile clinics took place at Philipstown Hub, Aranui-Wainoni Community Centre, Rawhiti Domain, Housing First / Te Roimata, and Hakatere Marae. The first in a series of Tradies Breakfasts takes place this Sunday to attract construction workers and apprentices for onsite workplace and merchant vaccinations. A rainbow community event is being held at the Maui South City clinic this week.

A clinic will be held this week at Avonside Girls and Shirley Boys and other school site clinics are being planned. Education sessions are being held at Linwood College and Hornby High School. A youth focused event at the youth space next to Rauora Park, Central City is being delivered this Friday in association with the Christchurch Youth Council and a clinic at the 298 Youth Health clinic is planned for next week.

And that’s just this week’s update!

Just in Canterbury alone, there are over 80,000 people who are eligible for a vaccination; including over 11,000 Māori.

The amount of work being undertaken right across Te Waipounamu is staggering. I am utterly amazed at the perseverance; the resilience; the sacrifices and the energy of so many community champions. People who have been vaccinating; testing; reporting; supporting; listening; nursing, treating, advocating and navigating for close to twenty months without a break. The Prime Minister talks often about a team of five million. My heartfelt awe is for the virtual army of kaimahi that are literally saving lives, day by day. They say gratitude is when memory is stored in the heart not the mind. If that is the case, then my heart is overflowing with memories of the commitments made and hours given so freely to the cause of combatting COVID.

The scope and extent of the challenge is equally huge.

Just in Canterbury alone, there are over 80,000 people who are eligible for a vaccination; including over 11,000 Māori.

Our responsibility has never been greater – to keep people alive – to be a great ancestor that our mokopuna will know, because of the actions we take now to keep ourselves safe.

Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu has been supporting the vaccination campaign in multiple ways.

We have sponsored incentives – devices for school clinics; kai packages or sponsored BBQ; food vouchers for whānau living on the streets; contributions to the Tane Ora campaign in Te Tauihu. A group of tane built on the collective momentum of tauira of Matike Mai to create connections and celebrate tane from a tuakana-teina perspective. Their initiative to support other men to vaccinate against COVID-19 across the rohe of Te Tauihu o Te Waka a Maui resulted in 37 tāne supporting 37 other tāne to vaccinate against Covid 19.

We are supporting the Community Managed Isolation; our Whānau Ora Navigators right across Te Waipounamu are directly supporting whānau involved. And it has been wonderful to support a range of applications across Te Waipounamu through the Innovation and Improvement fund which was just over $600,000.

Whānau Ora Innovation Fund

The Innovation and Improvement Fund has recommended thirteen applications from Whānau Ora partners right across Te Waipounamu, including:

Te Tau Ihu
Waikawa Marae will support vulnerable whānau with access to funds and resources that promote resilience and sustainability. Whakatū Te Korowai Manaakitanga Trust want to support whānau to be self-managing, sustainable and resilient through community maara for whānau and all aspects of growing and harvesting including storing kai for future use.

Te Roopu Tautoko ki Te Tonga will support whānau with basic needs including kai packs, health supplies, utilities and rent payments, mental health assistance, transportation, and education support. Arai Te Uru Whare Hauora will provide a range of supports for impacted whānau including cost of hygiene supplies for women and girls; the purchase of a trailer to assist whānau when they moveas well as digital technology so that whānau can remain connected especially in a lockdown situation. Tokomairiro Waiora will support whānau they work with to provide essential hygiene and kai packs as well as kaimahi as first responders when whānau are presenting with issues of mental health resilience in a COVID-19 environment. Te Hou Ora Whānau are funding budgeting and financial coaching as well as mental health support, and physical activity with a focus on rangatahi. Uruuruwhenua Health is supporting mental health and addiction services for whānau, which saw the demand for such services increase over the Delta lockdown period.


Te Whare Hauora has received support for whānau to receive mental hauora support in a safe environment that is able to promote security and wellness. Te Puawaitanga ki Otautahi will provide essential provisions including kai and health supplies, firewood, utility support, phones, and tablets to enable communication and education support are identified. Purapura Whetu are establishing Kono Manaaki for whānau who may be struggling with emotional, relational, or physical complications affecting wellbeing. Waitaha Health and He Waka Tapu are accessing a mobile health caravan to support the COVID-19 pop up clinics. The mobile caravan will be operated by Whānau Ora Navigators to provide wraparound support. Positive Directions Trust are utilising a mobile rangatahi hauora unit to assist in addressing mental health issues.

Ngāti Mutunga o Wharekauri Iwi Trust
Ngāti Mutunga o Wharekauri Iwi Trust will provide care packages, pandemic kits and support services as part of their commitment to ongoing COVID-19 outreach support.

Te Kīwai

Te Kīwai has successfully continued to support rangatahi and tamariki Māori to engage in physical activity by relieving whānau of the financial pressures to cover the costs of fees, subscriptions, and sporting equipment for their tamariki and rangatahi. From the 1st of July to 30th September, we received a total of 379 applications; 353 of those were for individual rangatahi and tamariki and 26 team applications.

We are particularly excited to congratulate Sativa Scott who accessed Te Kiwai for support for her dance fees. Shakedown is a Hip Hop Dance Competition that was held in Nelson on 16th October September, featuring crews and dancers from all over New Zealand. Sativa got to compete in her first shakedown HipHop competition in the mega crew section; placing 3rd.

From the 1st of July to 30th September, we received a total of 379 applications; 353 of those were for individual rangatahi and tamariki and 26 team applications.

Workplace wellbeing

In these times of uncertainty, it is even more important that we place a focus on workplace wellbeing. A culture of wellbeing, improves the physical and mental fitness of kaimahi, while at the same time creating workplaces which are more productive and happier environments to work in. I love the way in which our kaimahi give expression to the Five Ways to Wellbeing (Give, Be Active, Keep Learning, Connect and Take Notice).

This week, we came together for a spooktacular time to connect with each other, reduce stress, increase resilience and wellness and have fun at the same time! Over pizza and potions, we had a kanikani, some frightful jokes, and spot prizes for being the most scariest of all (and no I didn’t win!).