Last weekend – 27 August – marked the beginning of the lunar month Mahuru and in turn the beginning of Mahuru Māori, the annual reo Māori challenge that has been steadily building momentum as the language revitalisation movement continues to grow. Created in 2014 by language champion Paraone Gloyne, Mahuru Māori builds upon the wero of Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori by challenging individuals, whānau, schools and workplaces throughout Aotearoa to consciously use te reo Māori throughout the month of Mahuru.  

This year is particularly significant for both Mahuru Māori and Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori. Fifty years ago, in 1972, Māori activist group Ngā Tamatoa presented a petition to Parliament demanding that te reo Māori be incorporated into the school curriculum. With 30,000 signatures, this petition demonstrated the immense value placed upon our language, and the deep sense of loss at the way it was stripped away from successive generations of whānau Māori. It was undoubtedly a turning point in the language revitalisation movement, leading to the recognition of te reo Māori as an official language of this country in 1987.

Here at Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu, te reo Māori is a huge priority – both in terms of our workplace practice, and in our aspirations for the whānau and hapori we serve. Research has demonstrated time and again that whānau Māori do better when they are connected to their culture and identity, and te reo Māori is an inextricable part of that. Through our Wave funding, we have been proud to support a number of initiatives dedicated to uplifting the language and making learning opportunities more accessible to our whānau.  

One of these includes Te Kai a Te Rangatira, an initiative led by Pippa Hakopa that is bringing te reo Māori back to the whānau of Rakiura. We are proud to share their story in the video below.  

Minister Henare (front centre) with kaimahi and directors of Te Putahitanga o Te Waipounamu

Visit from Minister Peeni Henare

On Thursday we were delighted to host the Hon Peeni Henare at Te Whenua Taurikura. This is an important relationship for Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu, as he is the Minister for Whānau Ora and we value every opportunity to share with him the amazing work of Whānau Ora in Te Waipounamu. This visit was also a chance for Minister Henare to connect with our new Pouārahi – although he has met Ivy many times before, it was their first meeting since she stepped into the role. 

Wairau Regional Whānau Ora Navigator Hui

This week Whānau Ora Navigators from across Wairau and their managers came together to hui with the newly-formed Mauri Ora team from Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu. This is part of an ongoing initiative that will foster greater connection and collaboration within each region and provide crucial support to the amazing NavNation. The hui was led by our Pouwhirinaki mō Te Tauihu, Deedee Bancroft Wickens, who says it was a positive and uplifting event – the only downside was that the recent flooding meant that Whānau Ora Navigators from Te Tai Poutini and Whakatū were unable to attend as planned. “There was fun, laughter and interesting kōrero during whanaungatanga, and some planning for ongoing community of practice was established. It was great to spend time together, and I really appreciate everyone being able to spare their precious time for this important kaupapa,” says Deedee.   

Nikki Brown, Whānau Ora Navigator for Omaka Marae said that it is important to provide forums like these regional hui and the Whānau Ora Symposium to bring Whānau Ora Navigators together to celebrate their collective mahi and success. “It was wonderful to be in a room filled with so much energy. Having this opportunity to whakawhanaungatanga filled my kete and was a great reminder of why we do what we do.”  

University of Canterbury Graduation

This week we have been proud to celebrate the achievements of our kaimahi Tanita Bidois, who graduated from University of Canterbury (UC) with a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Māori and Indigenous Studies. Tanita is an extremely dedicated wahine who has balanced her mahi here at Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu around her studies and her whānau, and we are delighted to see her hard work rewarded. A number of our kaimahi were able to attend yesterday’s Māori Graduation at UC, while the rest of us tuned in via the livestream that we had playing in the tari. Congratulations Tanita!