“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.
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:
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.