We have turned our thoughts to the night sky many times over the past few months, reflecting on Matariki and the significance of traditional Māori star lore during the Matariki period. This week, it is the moon that is diverting our attention. Te Rākaunui – the full moon – is always a spectacular event, and even more so in this instance as it will be the last supermoon for this calendar year.

A supermoon is a new or full moon that coincides with the moment when the moon is orbiting closest to Earth. On these occasions, Rākaunui appears larger than usual and may result in a king tide – and for some people, a heightened emotional state.

August’s supermoon is commonly known as the Sturgeon Moon, drawing on mātauranga from Native American tribes who observed the large number of sturgeon fish that were found in the Great Lakes in North America at this time of year.

As we revitalise the maramataka here in Aotearoa, it is fascinating to see the overlap with the way that many other indigenous people traditionally used the lunar calendar to predict the best times to cultivate and harvest crops, and fish and hunt for certain species. Today’s supermoon is also an opportunity for us to reflect upon another common theme from the past few months – the importance of making time to stop and smell the roses, or in this instance, to stop and view the Sturgeon Moon. Too often we find ourselves getting caught up in the daily grind, one busy week blending into another – so much so that if you’re like me, you might be experiencing some disbelief that it’s August already.

Tonight, I will be standing outside, hoping for clear skies and the opportunity to glimpse or even gaze upon the full glory of Rākaunui – the Sturgeon Moon. As I take a moment to absorb the wonder of our universe, I will be clearing my mind and renewing my energy so that I can come back to mahi next week, ready to continue the important work of Whānau Ora.

Helen Leahy appointed as Pouārahi for Ngāti Rangi

We are delighted to congratulate our former Pouārahi Helen Leahy, who has been appointed as the Pouārahi for Ngāti Rangi entities Ngā Waihua o Paerangi and Te Tōtarahoe o Paerangi. Her leadership of Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu over seven years was outstanding, and we are so proud and pleased that she has found a role that will harness her passion and commitment to creating better outcomes for whānau. In classic Helen fashion, she has said that she is privileged by the opportunity and inspired by her responsibility as a māmā and nana of Ngāti Rangi uri. We look forward to seeing Helen thrive in her new role.

Pōwhiri at Te Hauora o Ngāti Rārua

On Tuesday this week, our kaimahi Deedee Bancroft-Wickens was delighted to attend a pōwhiri at Parerarua Marae for staff joining Te Hauora o Ngāti Rārua, including their new Whānau Ora Navigator, James Ramsay-Kauri, Kaumātua Navigator Sophie Smith, Ahuru Poipoia Alena Andrews and Jodie Luke, the new administrator for Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Rārua.

Te Hauora o Ngāti Rārua has a long history of hauora service provision within the community, and is also an accredited social service provider with Te Kāhui Kāhu, and Deedee said it was an honour to attend the pōwhiri and learn more about the incoming kaimahi and the mahi they will be doing to help whānau in Wairau. As the Pouwhirinaki for Te Tau Ihu, Deedee works closely with our Whānau Ora partners in the region and it’s wonderful for her to be part of these events.

Mauri Ora team travel to Kaikōura

This week our Mauri Ora kaimahi were in Kaikōura, sharing space with some of the local Whānau Ora Navigators. This includes Amelia Hollman, who recently returned to Kaikōura from the Wairau and holds the role of Whānau Ora Navigator for Te Rūnanga o Maatawaka. Kaikōura is home for Amelia, with a whakapapa link through Tamaherangi.

Amelia has strong networks and connections into the community, including sitting on various committees such as Community Networkers, Violence Free Kaikōura, Housing Forum and pastoral care at Kaikōura High School. Her determination and passion is to encourage and support whānau in her community in becoming self-sustaining and standing on their mana to reach their dreams and aspirations. In Amelia’s view, the key to growing healthy communities is working collaboratively with other networks in the community to achieve tangible outcomes: after all, it takes a village! Bringing her skill-set home to help her community was one of her dreams and she is loving every minute of it.

Getting to visit Whānau Ora Navigators to connect and be kanohi ki te kanohi is where the magic is and we see the champions that they are in the place that they mahi from.

Tamāhine Boutique

We are proud to support our Wave 16 entity Tamāhine Boutique, the vision of Autumn Hemi-Dehar. This is an online boutique that targets sustainable shoppers who are seeking clothing, décor and accessories inspired by traditional Māori art forms. Products are designed to encourage a pride in our cultural identity and foster a deeper connection to te ao Māori. Autumn’s designs are inspired by traditions of kōwhaiwhai, taniko and whakairo as well as te reo Māori, waiata and whakataukī.

All materials are sourced ethically and sustainably within Aotearoa and overseas and prioritising organic, recycled and premium cotton. Décor and jewellery are handmade, with a view to reducing the carbon footprint and encouraging the wider community to do the same. Based in Westport, Tamāhine Boutique is whānau-owned and operated, and recently participated in the Westport Wearable Arts Show (pictured here) which created greater awareness of the brand and a greater appreciation of toi Māori.

Staff update

This week we celebrated a special birthday for Huata with cake and flowers. Hari huritau, Huata! Over the weekend, several of our kaimahi also attended the Ōtautahi premier of A Boy Called Piano.