“Oral storytelling gives knowledge a soul” –– Trent Hohaia.

Over the past week, I have been reflecting on the wealth of knowledge and information handed down from our tūpuna and the power it has to influence our decision-making today. From the He Waka Eke Noa conference, to our visit from Hon Marama Davidson, to a two-day hui with our Kōanga Kai entities, the focus has well and truly been on embracing the wisdom of our tīpuna. This wisdom is still alive today, immersed in our pūrākau, whakataukī and whakatauāki – oral traditions passed down over generations.


We have always known that these stories carry a unique ability to connect us to our history, to build a sense of identity that grounds us in our whakapapa. He Mokopuna, He Tūpuna, He Tūpuna He Mokopuna. Beyond that, they also reinforce our values and provide a framework for decision-making to ensure the health and wellbeing of our whānau. These stories are kept alive in the retelling of them, and it is important that we all play our part to ensure that their message remains strong and true.

All of the research tells us that the best outcomes for Māori are brought about by Māori-led solutions – solutions that are rooted in tīpuna wisdom and the enshrining of traditional values and practices.

Pūrākau also position us with messages about how to flourish and grow, what to do, what not to do, how to strategise, to live. Who tells the stories makes a difference. Throughout this week I have been inspired by the whakaaro of pūrākau, of telling our own stories and ensuring that the wisdom contained in them is clearly understood by those at the decision-making table. We should all tell our own stories.

This is true not only for our traditional pūrākau, but for the stories of our people that continue to emerge and develop as time goes by. Whānau voice is the cornerstone of Whānau Ora, and we know that the only way to understand the needs of our hapori is to hear from them directly. As we think about the wisdom handed down over generations, let us also look to what we can learn from the communities we serve. It is our responsibility to ensure that everyone is in a position to tell their own stories and to have their voice be heard – and listened to.

He Waka Eke Noa – Māori Cultural Frameworks for Violence Prevention and Intervention

This week, researchers and experts from throughout the country gathered together in Ōtautahi for He Waka Eke Noa, a two-day conference focused on Māori cultural frameworks to address the very real issue of whānau violence. A number of our kaimahi were fortunate enough to attend this event and learn from the wisdom of speakers including Hon Marama Davidson, Distinguished Professor Graham Smith and Associate Professor Leonie Pihema. It was an invaluable learning opportunity and a chance to make connections with others working in this area. These relationships will strengthen the nationwide response to family violence and above all place Māori-led solutions at the heart of our response.

Hon Marama Davidson visits Te Whenua Taurikura

This week we were proud to welcome Hon Marama Davidson to Te Whenua Taurikura to spend time with our kaimahi and share updates on key workstreams in her capacity as Minister for Prevention of Family and Sexual Violence.

The hui was an opportunity for the Minister to provide an update on the progress of Te Aorerekura – The National Strategy to Eliminate Family Violence and to build on the information, stories and knowledge shared at He Waka Eke Noa that was held in Ōtautahi on 11-12 October 2022.  It was also an opening to update the Minister on the work of Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu particularly in the areas of:

  • Tū Pono
  • Mokopuna Ora, and
  • The Omicron Response

The Minister reaffirmed her support of the mahi that Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu does not just in the spaces noted above but also in the enabling the dreams and aspirations of whānau in whatever space that might be for them, and of course at keeping whānau at the centre of all that we do.

Mauri Hiko

Our Mauri Hiko project is designed to assist  Whānau Ora Navigators with training on ways to save energy within our whare – knowledge that can then be passed onto whānau throughout the motu. The training is delivered by Awarua Synergy, and uses the acronym HEMI to cover four key conceptions: heating, electricity, moisture and insulation. Mauri Hiko also provides Whānau Ora Navigators with access to resources that help whānau upgrade their whare with products that enhance energy efficiency, such as curtains, shower heads and draft stoppers. Earlier this year we held a competition to encourage our Whānau Ora Navigators to get involved in Mauri Hiko and were delighted by the response. We’re especially pleased to announce that our first winner is Marcia MacDonald, Whānau Ora Navigator for Waikawa Marae. Marcia is very passionate about this kaupapa and has helped many of her whānau upgrade their whare, and when we shared the good news with her she immediately started thinking about ways to use her prize to benefit others.

If you want to attend our upcoming workshops please register here.

Jolt Dance Company

Last Friday, Jolt Dance Company celebrated their 21 year anniversary with a performance held at the McCombs Performing Arts Centre at Cashmere High School. Jolt has been leading the way for innovative and inclusive dance practice since 2001, challenging mainstream perspectives about dance, disability and difference by exploring movements and connections that are artistically unique. Last week’s performance was no exception, a night of colour and sound and an explosion of movement and expression. The upbeat tempo grew as the night progressed and the final performance had everyone celebrating together as one. Our tāngata whaikaha whānau demonstrated their boundless talent and freedom, and it was an amazing night to showcase this for the audience.

A visit from a past board member

Last Friday, we also had a visit from Donovan Clarke, a previous member of the Board from June 2014 to Aug 2019. Donovan was appointed the Chief Executive Officer of Toitū te Waiora Community, Health, Education and Social Services Workforce Development Council (WDC). The role of Workforce Development Councils is to ensure the vocational education system meets industry needs and gives a stronger voice to Māori business and iwi development.

Donovan and his team were in Christchurch to talk about their work and keen to progress a further qualification for Whānau Ora.

Kōanga Kai hui

This week we brought together whānau from our Kōanga Kai kaupapa across the motu for an amazing hui. A particular mihi to the team from Koha Kai who, upon hearing of their flight cancellation, jumped into the car and drove from Invercargill to be with us for whakawhanaungatanga at 11am in Ōtautahi. It was great to have representation from Wharekauri/Rēkohu, as well as all of the other whānau who dedicated two days to networking and sharing kōrero with champions of māra kai.

The first day of the hui included a wānanga facilitated by kaimahi from Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu on data, helping everyone to understand what entities can do with information to celebrate and promote whānau success and resilience. Time was also with the Para Kore team learning to recognise how much or how little waste we all generate in our daily lives, and to learn about microgreens. The participants  were inspired by the presence of Jessica Hutchings during an online wānanga on soil health and its role as our taonga and the ancestral connections of tūrangawaewae and whakapapa. These sessions brought about many lightbulb moments that increased our passion  for the mahi of Kōanga Kai.

The second day was out in the field, seeing first-hand the examples of everything that had been spoken of the day before, beginning with a visit to Te Pā o Rākaihautū in Linwood. The tamariki spent time with the roopu, harvesting herbs and greens from the māra kai as everyone walked the whenua. It was a reminder of the bigger picture that can be achieved through a network, and recognition of the crucial role that māra kai hold in building and binding a community. Then the participants  were off to Manaaki Whenua | Landcare Research Centre in Lincoln. Katarina Tawiri hosted everyone  within Te Pā o Harakeke and shared a kōrero of inspiration that we are what we eat.