Over the past few weeks, we have been reflecting on the mighty kahikatea, the tallest tree in our native forests and a symbol of whanaungatanga and partnership within te ao Māori. The kahikatea is known for its unique root structure, which does not grow primarily underground like many trees. Instead, the roots spread across the forest floor to connect and intermingle with the roots of other kahikatea, making it one of the strongest and most resilient trees in the forest.
June and July are always busy months for Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu, as one financial year draws to a close and another one begins. It’s a time for us to renew agreements with many of our existing partners, and this year it has also marked the beginning of new contracts with entities funded through Wave 16, Navigator partners, Kōanga Kai, Tai Neke Tai Ora, RUIA, Tū Pono, Mokopuna Ora and Tama Ora.
Much like the entwined roots in a grove of kahikatea, our relationships with our partners are the key to the strength and resilience of the Whānau Ora network. They represent collaboration, and the sharing of resources and knowledge. They are the key to the growth success of the Whānau Ora approach. Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu remains committed to supporting our partners to deliver Whānau Ora outcomes throughout the motu, and to playing our role through advocacy and representation.
As we move into a new year of partnership, we hope that we will all stand tall and strong together as we continue to demonstrate the value of Whānau Ora and the magic that can be created when we believe in the power of whānau to create their own success.
On Monday this week, Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu was part of a funding partnership panel in Wairau, alongside the Department of Internal Affairs, Rātā Foundation, Tindal Foundation and Marlborough District Council. This panel was the first of its kind in the region and an amazing opportunity to think about how we can work together to create better outcomes for our hapori.
It was especially wonderful to support a previous Wave recipient, Hawaiki Kura as they presented to the panel. Kiley and Donna Nepia and Tineka Smith shared the story of their amazing kaupapa, and the dedicated empowerment wānanga they deliver for rangatahi Māori, tāne Māori and wāhine Māori. It was the first time that funders had come across the incredible Hawaiki Kura kaupapa, and we were so pleased to see the team earn the recognition they deserve. A huge mihi to the Hawaiki Kura whānau, and to Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Rārua for hosting us at Tokomaru House.
On Tuesday this week, kaimahi from Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu and Tū Pono Te Tau Ihu a Te Waka a Māui attended the launch of Mana Tāne in Whakatū. Led by local volunteer Mapunui Harrison, this eight-week programme is designed to support whānau wellbeing by providing wraparound support for its participants. It is targeted at tāne who are struggling with suicidal ideation, depression, addiction and the ongoing impacts of trauma experienced within their lives, with the overall message that “It’s ok not to feel ok and to reach out for help.”
Mana Tāne is under the umbrella of Mana Whānau Charitable Trust, one of our previous Wave entities created by Adele Keefe. Mana Tāne will complement Mana Wāhine, the first wānanga developed by the trust, as they work to support the whole whānau.
This week we were delighted to see one of our Wave entities Tātou celebrated in the media, with this beautiful article about the values and meaning behind this Ōtautahi café. Many of you may have visited the vibrant space that seeks to provide a home away from home for its customers, and to uplift and celebrate Māori culture and te reo Māori. We encourage you to read the article and even better, to pop down to Tātou on Morrison Avenue in Papanui.
We were stoked to hear from Bonnie Tainui and Akshay Shukla from one of our Wave 14 entities Wellnessthatworkz, a kaupapa that supports whānau wellbeing and encourages self-care in all its forms. Bonnie is also a marriage celebrant and works with whānau to celebrate their special day – pictured below. She has recently been completing a certificate in Tikanga in Business through Te Wānanga o Aotearoa which is reinforcing her connection to te ao Māori and her own whakapapa. She has also attended wānanga delivered by her iwi, Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu, and is grateful to Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu for giving her the support and encouragement to learn more about her identity.
Wellnessthatworkz has been supporting the community with focus groups on self-care, as well as distributing COVID-19 packs to community members and the local rugby club.
The Migrant Ethnic Community Support Trust has been using funding from Wave 15 to create events that celebrate Māori culture and language for new arrivals to our country. On 4 June, they hosted an event at Rāpaki Marae with the support of Taua Sally Pitama and Tā Mark Solomon. To support this event, two pamphlets were designed and distributed as a resource for participants to take home. The first outlines basic kupu and phrases in te reo Māori and encourages their use in daily life, while the second provides an introduction into Māori history and culture, including kaupapa such as the haka, marae and hangi.
The Trust provides complex immigration advice for free and helps to support migrants in vulnerable situations, such as domestic violence, achieving refugee status and victims of terror. Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu is honoured to support their mahi and honours their commitment to strengthening the connection to te ao Māori for new members of the country we all call home.
Over the past few months, Isley Tipene from Rukuwai Collective has been working with other organisations to coordinate two three-day wānanga for wāhine and rangatahi. The decision to include rangatahi emerged after wāhine who attended previous wānanga spoke about the difficulties of parenthood, especially for single mothers seeking positive role models for their tamariki and rangatahi. The solution was a wānanga for rangatahi that ran in May and was a great success.
Rukuwai Collective also delivered a programme for wāhine in collaboration with Te Ara Poutama and Te Kotahi o Te Hoe, designed for wāhine who are trying to break the cycle and get out of the justice system. Isley knew this meant the wānanga would have to have a focus on whanaungatanga and manaakitanga, which required the need to bring together a strong team who could deliver this. The aim was to meet the needs of wāhine who have experienced trauma, addiction to drugs and alcohol, and who are seeking a sense of connection. The wānanga provided different workshops such as rongoā, waiata, haka, mau rākau, karakia and a burning/cleansing ceremony. By day three the team noticed a huge change in all of the participants whoreported feeling a sense of belonging for the first time in a long time. It was a hugely positive outcome and contributed to a successful wānanga.
This week we heard from Rawiri and Ngaoma Koia from Mokopuna Māori Arts and Tāmoko, who started their kaupapa because they wanted to give back to their people and the wider community. Their aspiration is to heal people through toi whakairo, toi raranga, toi mahi, uku, kohatu, rongoā, waiata and karakia. In their latest report, Ngaoma says: “Our main highlight this term was opening another business called Koia Designs with a business partner who needed some guidance back to te ao Māori. We see this as a tohu of what we are meant to be doing. We knew this would generate a passive income allowing Mokopuna Māori Arts to have its funding and keep our wānanga going for future times. Not even COVID-19 could stop the mahi we were sent out to do.”
This week we received an update from Ngā Pou Whirinaki Cultural Consultants, who are reporting significant growth since their successful application for funding under Wave 15. Originally established to provide cultural reports to improve outcomes for whānau engaged in the judicial process, they have now doubled their capacity to meet the needs and increased capability in this space by providing training, support and supervision. Ngā Pou Whirinaki have built relationships with other report writers across Aotearoa and in May they hosted a small group of independent writers who discussed and shared their experiences. As a collective, plans were made for wider reaching professional development and networking opportunities.
Wave funding has also allowed Ngā Pou Whirinaki Cultural Consultants to diversify its services and provide business advice, procurement strategy and support at local, regional and national platforms. This protects the future sustainability of the business. One example is the creation of Tī Wana Services, in which Ngā Pou Whirinaki Consultants founder Monica Lei collaborated with Kiri Williams from Idea You Services. Under the umbrella of Tī Wana, they have been delivering a COVID-19 welfare response to Māori and Pasifika communities in Canterbury. They have provided welfare support to over 2500 whānau members and say that through this, they are living their dreams and aspirations.
Floods and heavy rains did not stop our first Navigation Partner regional hui from taking place this week, although several regretful partners were not able to beat the weather and their absence was acknowledged by our Relationship and Engagement Manager Harley Kaihe-Katterns in his mihimihi. This event was the first of many such occasions, intended to bring together our Whānau Ora Navigation Partners across the regions and create opportunities for collaboration and knowledge sharing.
Whanaungatanga was the highlight of our hui, with activities and games to uplift our spirits as the elements persisted outside. Our Pouwhirinaki Vanessa Whangapiritia said it was a true privilege to be able to strengthen and create new relationships. Our team is looking forward to the next regional engagement hui, to be held in Murihiku on 4 August 2022.
This weekend Health New Zealand is hosting a pop-up collection site in Timaru as part of its Stay Well This Winter campaign. Head down to the carpark of Timaru Hospital on the corner of Queen Street and High Street to collect free rapid antigen tests (RATs) and masks – they will be handing them out between 9am and 1pm on Saturday 30 July.