Maure is the moon on the twelfth night of the lunar month. Sometimes it is the ninth night or the thirteenth to sixteenth night. During Maure, it is a time for good planting or fishing, a good time to gather resources. This week we heard Maure referred to as “the time is now.”

While we are not attempting to do the impossible – fill the shoes of Helen Leahy or write the weekly blog for Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu as she would – we are taking up the challenge that ‘the time is now’ to stand in our own truth and our own power as we step up and adjust to our interim roles.

We have been fortunate to have worked with Helen and to be able to follow in her footsteps. There is no denying the phenomenal leader that Helen is, and she has given us all a wonderful example of leadership. While Helen has left Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu, she leaves behind a team that has been reinforced in our sense of purpose, that same sense of purpose that has driven Helen every day – to reflect the trust placed in us by the nine iwi of Te Waipounamu – and to always uphold whānau at the centre, today and always.

While we cannot replicate Helen’s gift of storytelling, we can certainly keep everyone in touch with what has been happening over the past week.

Although many of you may already be familiar with us, we wanted to introduce ourselves.

Ivy Harper

Ko Kahuranaki te maunga
Ko Poukawa te waiu
Ko Te Hapuku te tangata
Ko Ngāi Te Rangikoianake me Ngāti Mahuta oku hapū.

Originally from the metropolis of Te Hauke in the beautiful Te Matau-a-Māui, I have lived in Ōtautahi for over 22 years with my whānau.

I have a keen interest in gender issues and human rights with a focus on indigenous rights. It is my privilege to work at Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu as Principal Advisor and currently in the interim Pouārahi role.

Vanessa Hutchins

Ko Ngongotaha te maunga
Ko Rotorua nui a Kahumatamoemoe te roto
Te Arawa te waka
Te Arawa te iwi
Ngāti Pikiao te hapū

Born and bred in the deep south, I have an inherent connection to our natural environment, from the rugged southern coastline of Bluff to the unspoilt scenery of Tuatapere, my place of birth.

I am passionate about the environment and intergenerational change. It is an absolute honour to serve our communities and to be part of Whānau Ora.

Poroporoaki for Helen Leahy

Last week we hosted a poroporoaki to farewell our Pouārahi of seven years, the irreplaceable Helen Leahy. It was very special to have members of the Whānau Ora network from across the country joining us at the Aranui Wainoni Community Hall, and many more joining us online via Facebook live, to celebrate Helen’s immense contribution and wish her well on the next stage of her journey. It was an honour to hear from speakers including our Te Taumata representatives,  John Tamihere, CEO of the Whānau Ora Collective, Wilmason Jensen from Pasifika Futures, and Hon Te Ururoa Flavell, representatives from our Whānau Ora Navigators, Dame Hon Tariana Turia and of course Helen and her whānau.

We have worked closely with Helen for a long time, and have always loved the energy, compassion and aroha with which she approaches her mahi, as well as her razor-sharp mind and tireless work ethic. It was wonderful to see how much she has been loved and appreciated across the wider community. A selection of photos from her poroporoaki are below.

Update from Tū Anō

This week we received another inspiring update from one of our Wave initiatives, Tū Anō. Led by Jarreau Whiunui, the Tū Anō programme works with rangatahi to overcome challenges in their lives. The programme is delivered using Te Whare Tapa Whā and helps participants to improve their hauora and develop a strong sense of identity and self-worth. Check out the video to learn more about Tū Anō and read a case study of their mahi below.


Tū Anō have been working with a rangatahi who was struggling in managing his anger, which resulted in incidents occurring at home with his whānau. During the beginning sessions with him, the rangatahi was able to identify numerous ways to calm himself down. By the midway point of the programme, he had successfully changed the way he reacted to his whānau and was making positive steps towards other goals. Other goals consisted of achieving NCEA Level 1, making the first 15 rugby team and playing basketball for his school’s senior team. At the end of the programme, his progress, the completion of his goals and how he was feeling about finishing the programme was reviewed. The rangatahi was very happy with his progress and is looking forward to the remaining year.

Mahara Lane

Mihi Taurua (Wave 15 recipient) officially launched her te reo Māori photo booth, Mahara Lane, with a Mother’s Day brunch event on Sunday. Through Mahara Lane, Mihi wants to grow, strengthen, and normalise te reo Māori and has created a bilingual photo booth that is available for celebratory events such as birthdays, weddings, prize giving events, school balls and other such functions. The booth will provide an opportunity to capture special moments whilst also providing a bilingual experience. Some of our kaimahi attended the launch event – photos below.