Ka rere ngā purapura a Matariki – the seeds of Matariki are falling.

This week, whānau across Aotearoa are enjoying the first public holiday marking the rising of Matariki. It has been truly fabulous to see the country getting behind this significant event, and celebrating the traditions and stories of our tīpuna.

The whakataukī about ngā purapura a Matariki, or the seeds of Matariki, traditionally referred to the seasonal snowfall that often accompanied the rising of the star cluster. Today, we like to think that the seeds of Matariki are evident in the many gifts that this tradition has bestowed upon us as it is revitalised across the country, and its rich history and customs quickly become part of our national identity. It is wonderful to see the myriad of ways that whānau and communities are choosing to acknowledge the rising of Matariki.

Here at Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu, Matariki is first and foremost an opportunity to reflect upon the year that has passed, and to spend some time thinking about all the loved ones that we have farewelled in the past year. We keep their memories alive in our hearts even as we acknowledge their ascent into the night sky, where they join our tīpuna from years gone by.

We are also turning our thoughts to the pōtiki of the Matariki cluster, Hiwa-i-te-rangi, who safeguards our hopes and dreams and helps bring them to fruition. This is a time to set our aspirations for our mahi in the next year, and to plan out the path to success.

Pride Month at Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu

June is Pride Month, an opportunity to celebrate our Rainbow Takatāpui whānau. Takatāpui translates to “intimate companion of the same sex”, and is a kupu that embraces whānau who are gender and identity diverse, gay, lesbian, bisexual, intersex and queer. On Friday 17 June we marched through the city centre of Ōtautahi to show our solidarity with this beautiful community. The army band led us in tune and whānau marched adorned with sparkles and colour and smiles upon our faces. Inclusion and visibility are the key to keeping our connections strong, and that is the power of Pride celebrations.

This year Aotearoa abolished conversion therapy, the dangerous and discredited practice that seeks to change or suppress a person’s sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. Budget 2022 included funding for eight primary healthcare providers around the country to provide gender affirming care to gender diverse whānau, working with them through hormone therapy and individual healthcare goals on their journey. Workforce training is also being implemented so that the same care can be given across Aotearoa, creating a health system that treats whānau with fairness and dignity. The end of last year marked the passing of a bill allowing trans and non-binary whānau to change the gender on their birth certificate without providing evidence of a medical procedure – yet another change that is in favour of inclusivity and against discrimination. These are all massive steps forward for our rainbow whānau, removing barriers to enable everyone to live their true lives while standing in their mana.

Pictured beside and below are some of our beautiful kaimahi celebrating Pride Month both at Te Whenua Taurikura and at last week’s Pride March.

Regional Sports Trusts wānanga at Waitangi

Last week our Kaikōkiri Hauora, Toihi Mahuika-Wright attended a wānanga in Waitangi, to connect with regional sports trusts from all around Aotearoa and learn more about how they support whānau through their Tū Manawa fund. It was an amazing networking opportunity, and in particular Toihi connected with the regional sports trusts from Te Waipounamu to start a kōrero about how we can work collaboratively to achieve the best outcomes for whānau. The wānanga featured amazing and inspiring kōrero, with a highlight being the rangatahi panel. The incredible panellists spoke about the value and importance the rangatahi voice holds when it comes to making decisions that affect them.

Haerenga to Wharekauri/Rēkohu

Our Relationship and Engagement Manager, Harley Kaihe-Katterns and Commissioning Manager Huata Arahanga recently returned from an incredible  haerenga to Wharekauri/Rēkohu. They packed a lot into a short trip, including a magical wānanga about navigation with Ngāti Mutunga o Wharekauri, providing training and support to Hā o Te Ora o Wharekauri Health Hub, hui and kōrero with Hokotehi Moriori Trust, a meet and greet with Mayor Monique Croon and supporting staff from the Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) at a pōwhiri.

Feedback from the Kaingaroa community told us that their Kōanga Kai kaupapa has proved to be absolutely essential. Due to the desolate conditions and difficulties in obtaining produce on the island, whānau have been accustomed to going without fresh fruit and vegetables.

Kōanga Kai has changed that, and one whānau member commented that just the action alone of creating a māra kai has brought an already tight-knit community even closer together. The village already has amazing plans to further develop the māra kai, including building a second tunnel house and a suitable water catchment system to water the gardens. A large number of fruit trees have been planted, as well as some large native trees which will eventually provide shelter for the māra kai. It was extremely rewarding and in fact emotional to see the success of the māra kai – not just in terms of its output, but also the huge positive effect it is having on this small community. They are demonstrating generational succession planning in its finest form: teach the kids, let them lead the way and build the future.

Tai Neke, Tai Ora panel

At the beginning of June we hosted the first ever panel for Tai Neke, Tai Ora. This rōpū was brought together to assess applications to Tai Neke, Tai Ora, from whānau who are seeking funding to help them improve the hauora of whānau within their hapori. We were proud to put together a panel that covers a range of different skills and extensive experience working in hauora, and grateful for their support in identifying applications that will create real change for whānau. Pictured left to right, the panellists were Aaron Hāpuku (University of Canterbury), Kelly Barry (Wairewa Rūnanga, Amotai), Amber Clarke (Whitiora) and Brandon Manuel (Sport Canterbury).

L-R Karen Roos (Te Puni Kōkiri and KUMA treasurer), Janice Lee (Koha Kai and KUMA board member), Keri Limmer (KUMA Coordinator and Business owner), Karmela Rapata (Business owner and KUMA board member), Mel Wright (KUMA Coordinator and Business owner).

KUMA meet at Koha Kai

Last week the whānau from Te Kupeka Umaka Māori ki Araiteuru (KUMA) were delighted to come together in person for the first time in a while, for a whakawhanaungatanga BA5 event. This brought the members of the Otago and Murihiku business network together to share the kaupapa of their businesses, meet the new coordinators, Keri Limmer (Ōtākou/Murihiku) and Mel Wright (Tāhuna/Wānaka), and to listen to our keynote speaker Ian Collier, chair and Acting CE at Great South. It was a great night, an opportunity to strengthen connections and learn from other members of the business community.

KUMA is a network of Māori businesses from across Otago and Murihiku. It is managed from Ōtepoti and governed by a board of trustees who are passionate about supporting Māori businesses by providing mentoring,  coaching, business advice and other opportunities. Members of KUMA are profiled on the website and social media pages, and have access to training opportunities, regular networking events, business clinics and host events such as the KUMA Business Awards Hui and the Suzanne Spencer Tohu Maumahara Business Award.