The Brazilian writer, Paulo Coelho, once said:

Postpone joy; it will diminish. Postpone a problem; it will grow.

Normally, at this time of year, ngā morehu gather at a small settlement outside of Whanganui to celebrate the birthday of Tahupotiki Wiremu Ratana. Ratana, of Ngāti Apa and Ngā Rauru, founded a movement that transformed the spiritual and political landscape of our nation.

Every year followers, politicians and Māori leaders flock to the Pā, to take part in days of celebrations; music, sports; bands; church. In 2021 the celebration was scaled back to just one day. This year will be the same, the Rātana Komiti has decided. The usual church service will go ahead, but no politicians are invited.

ANZAC Day; Gallipoli services; Christmas parades; Hui-ā-Tau; 21sts; weddings. Cancellations and postponements have become part of our new normal.   We have postponed joy – but at the same time we have confronted the challenge of COVID. We have made hard decisions, in the best interests of our whānau.

We have eliminated the risk of an outbreak; we have reduced the chance of increasing transmission of Delta.

Momentum is now building to put in place barriers to the transmission of Omicron.  But the precautions we take – to postpone, to defer, to cancel – should not mean we postpone joy.  Our most important task could be to find new ways to enable joy.

They say a person needs just three things to be truly happy in this world: someone to love, something to do, and something to hope for. The key to getting through this time is to concentrate our efforts on these three things. Large-scale events; mass celebrations may all too quickly become super-spreader events – so we need alternatives. Our imagination; our inspiration can be mobilised around something to do, something to love, something to hope for. We can all get involved in Project Joy.

Wave 16 roadshows

Our kaimahi have been on the road this week holding workshops in Te Tauihu, Murihiku and Ōtākou. It’s been fantastic to see whānau turning out to learn more about Wave funding and get help with their applications. As always we are beyond inspired by the creativity and entrepreneurship out there in our communities, and we’re looking forward to seeing many of these ideas come to life in Wave 16. Our workshops will continue next week on Te Tai Poutini and in Ōtautahi, and we are also hosting two online sessions. If you can’t make it to any of these, make sure to get in touch with our team and we’ll find a way to connect with you! Email or give us a call on 0800 187 689 – and visit our Wave web page for more information

Max and Trinity from Ariki Creative capturing the Kaiawa crew.

Tama Ora – Kaiawa Sports Incorporated

This week we continued filming for our Tama Ora digital story, this time visiting another of our entities: Kaiawa Sports Incorporated. This amazing organisation brings together rangatahi and whānau to participate in sports, aiming to create strong mental and physical hauora outcomes. Our Tama Ora fund has supported Kaiawa to establish the Kaiawa Premier Women’s Touch League, a community of rangatahi wāhine between the ages of 15 and 24. Their aim is to revive youth and women’s touch in Ōtautahi, through a tuakana teina model that provides support and mentorship. It was awesome to see the Kaiawa team in action, and to see the encouraging environment they’re providing for rangatahi wāhine.

Kōanga Kai

This week our Whānau Ora Champion Gina-Lee was also on the road, catching up with three of the southern Kōanga Kai initiatives: Te Whānau o Hokonui Marae (Gore), Koha Kai (Invercargill) and Uruuruwhenua (Alexandra). Kōanga Kai is all about building food resilience and connecting whānau with traditional ways of growing and producing kai, and it was a good time of year to see some beautiful māra kai at the height of their productivity. Check out the photos below to see how their mahi is going.

Book launch

On Friday we were delighted to host the launch of Niho Taniwha: Improving Teaching and Learning for Ākonga Māori, a new pukapuka by Dr Melanie Riwai-Couch and published by Huia. This is a practical workbook that will equip teachers and educational leaders with the skills required to improve their cultural competency and build better relationships with whānau and iwi.

This sort of resource is crucial for our tamariki, who deserve to be taught in ways that draw upon the strengths of their tūpuna legacies; which whakamana the marae, the hapū and iwi, and whakapapa of each child; and which use the full range of physical, social, intellectual and emotional approaches to learning.

New signage for Te Whenua Taurikura

This week we were excited to have new signage installed on the outside of our office building here in Ōtautahi. We are hoping that this will make our presence more visible, making it easier for whānau to find us and encouraging them to pop in and say hello if they’re passing.

Maui Studios

Māui Studios have been alongside us the entire time, creating value for Whānau Ora, businesses, organisations and not-for profits. They’ve created websites, films, illustrations and graphic design collateral to help promote Whānau Ora entities and their aspirations to new heights. They have also played a key role in the development of our digital communication strategy.

This includes our website, blog, over 40 videos, our Instagram and Facebook. At the start of 2021 they moved into new premises, and it was so wonderful to catch up with them all recently, and check out their fantastic studio.  They are absolutely passionate about their work in te ao Māori digital space.

Waka Toa Ora seminar - Omicron

Waka Toa Ora is a group of community and public health organisations in Waitaha, led by the Canterbury DHB. Next week they are holding an online seminar to discuss the likely impacts of community transmission of Omicron, and how organisations and communities can prepare and work for equitable outcomes.

This seminar is taking place at 2pm on Tuesday, 25 January. Click here to register online if you’re interested in attending, and click here to learn more about the event.