My mokopuna (three years) was conversing with her mate (four years) about the holiday she had just been on. “We went on an adventure to find treasure,” she said. “And did you find the treasure?” she was asked. “Yes. The treasure was a beautiful waterfall.”

Over the course of our holiday we had marvelled at the Kaihinaki – the legendary Moeraki boulders; travelled through the luxurious wildness that is the Catlins; foraged for beauty at the stunning Gemstone Beach; and experienced a lifetime moment in flying over Kā Roimata o Hinehukatere – the breathtaking glacier that is found in Poutini ki te Toka (South Westland). So when thinking about the possibilities for treasure, we were spoilt for choice.

There is no denying that the mauri in the cascading three-tiered Pūrākaunui waterfalls in the midst of the Catlins are indeed spectacular. For our Hine Te Kohurangi clearly there was a moment in that spiritual landscape that touched her soul; that told her he wahi taoka – this was a special place. But if that conversation had not been passed on to me I would be none the wiser.

There is a theory, tabula rasa, that individuals are born lacking knowledge – literally a blank slate waiting for adults to fill in the space. Our tamariki, our mokopuna, contradict this theory by showing us in their own inimitable ways, just how much they know. All we need is the time and heart to hear them.

It was a good reminder as we start this new year, to listen to our children, to wait for them to create their own stories, to learn from them about seeing the world through their eyes.

Wave 16 opening next week

Wave 16 is launching next week, and we can’t wait to see applications coming in. Wave funding has become a crucial part of the Whānau Ora approach in Te Waipounamu, and I never cease to be amazed by the depth of creativity in the applications submitted by whānau. It is a true demonstration of the values that lie at the heart of Whānau Ora – tino rangatiratanga – and whānau-led solutions.

We will be accepting applications for Wave 16 from Monday 17 January until noon on Monday 28 February. Next week our team will be hitting the road and holding a series of workshops across Te Waipounamu. We encourage whānau to head along, learn more about Wave funding and even get some help completing your application form. Check out the list below to see when we’ll be in your area and click on the links to register.

Timaru, Caroline Bay Trust Aoraki Centre
10am, Monday 17 January
Ōtepoti, Corstorphine Community Centre
6pm, Monday 17 January
Kaikōura, Takahanga Marae
12pm, Monday 17 January
Blenheim, Maataa Waka ki Te Tau Ihu
10am, Tuesday 18 January
Alexandra, Alexandra Community Centre
1pm, Tuesday 18 January
Queenstown, Rydges Hotel
4:30pm, Tuesday 18 January
Motueka, Te Āwhina Marae
12pm, Wednesday 19 January
Nelson, Victory Community Centre
6pm, Wednesday 19 January
Murihiku, Koha Kai
11am, Wednesday 19 January

Murihiku, Ngā Kete Mātauranga
6pm, Wednesday 19 January
Awarua, Te Rau Aroha Marae
4pm, Thursday 20 January
Ōtautahi, Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu
11am, Monday 24 January
Ōtautahi, Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu
6pm, Monday 24 January
Hokitika, WestREAP
11am, Tuesday 25 January
Westport, Epic Westport
4:30pm, Tuesday 25 January
Online workshop
6pm, Wednesday 26 January
Click here for Zoom link
Online workshop
6pm, Friday 28 January
Click here for Zoom link

Visit to Ariki Creative

Earlier this week our contracts advisors were out at the Ariki Creative studio to record a radio advert for Wave 16. Right from the first hothouse weekend, Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu has always shared a close relationship with Hori and his team of digital natives, and it has been a joy and a privilege to share a space with them for many years and now to see them flourishing in their beautiful new premises on Ferry Road, complete with this state-of-the-art audio-visual recording studio. Many thanks to Max and Damo for putting together the promotional materials for Wave 16.

The amazing Max Tiweka with two of our Wave kaimahi, Mihi-Rose Tipene and Huata Arahanga

Filming for Tama Ora at HCC

This week we began filming for a digital story on one of our newest kaupapa, Tama Ora. This fund is delivered in partnership with Sport New Zealand Ihi Aotearoa, and focuses on engaging rangatahi Māori in physical activity. This allows them to build healthy habits that will benefit them throughout their lives, and to set meaningful goals for the health and wellbeing of themselves and their whānau.

We caught up with Manu and Corey Hale from Hale Compound Conditioning (HCC) to learn more about the Tama Ora initiative they have been delivering at their Ōtautahi gym. We’ll be filming more kaupapa soon and look forward to sharing the finished digital story with you soon!

Staff BBQ

To celebrate our first full week back at work, on Thursday our kaimahi and their whānau gathered together for a BBQ picnic. Thanks to the fabulous Ati for manning the BBQ, and to the Hā Ora team that put this event together. Check out this selection of photos showing our kaimahi enjoying some whakawhanaungatanga and some beautiful kai!

Pito Mata - rangatahi wānanga

Hawaiki Kura is a Māori-owned business based in Te Tauihu (the Top of the South Island) which specialises in Māori development, Māori tourism and cultural awareness training.

It has been so exciting to watch the progress of their latest wānanga, Pito Mata, which focuses on cultural leadership for rangatahi. The wānanga took place this week from 11-15 January, travelling between Wairau and Kaiteriteri Beach.

Activities included Māori meditation, workouts led by Sarah Wikotu, and haka fusion, a mixture of haka and salsa taught by head kaiako Te Ao Marama Nepia.

Thirty-five rangatahi have been involved, and the whakawhanaunganga and inspirational kōrero was an amazing way to start the year. Graduation for Pito Mata is taking place this weekend at Ūkaipo, the Rangitāne Cultural Centre based in Grovetown.

Holiday programme for Warrior Princess

If you’re based in the South Canterbury area and looking for something to keep your kids occupied, check out the amazing school holiday workshops run by Warrior Princess. Warrior Princess is one of our incredible Wave initiatives, with a focus on empowering young wāhine to confidently speak their truth and know their worth. Although their usual workshops are for wāhine only, the school holiday programme is open to all tamariki. Through the Warrior Princess way, tamariki will feel better connected to te ao Māori and develop their sense of identity through whakawhanaungatanga, karakia and waiata.