It’s officially December, and kaimahi across the motu are feeling the pressure to meet deadlines and complete tasks before many workplaces close down for the holiday period. Here at Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu we are as busy as always, and our team is working hard to ensure that everything is in order and our mahi will continue without interruption when we return in the new year.

However, it has got me thinking – again – about the importance of balance, and reminding ourselves that not everything is as urgent as it seems. When I stepped into the role of Pouārahi, I quickly learned that I needed to be able to prioritise and defer some work-related tasks if there was any hope of finishing the day with enough time and energy to spend on myself and my whānau. I worry that too often we get caught up in the pressure of replying to every email and returning every phone call, a never-ending task that leaves us depleted and exhausted.

As we go through these final weeks of the calendar year, I encourage everyone to take stock of what truly needs to be prioritised before we all take a much-needed break. There are undoubtedly some deadlines that need to be met when it comes to supporting whānau at this time of year, but equally I know that we are all sometimes guilty of putting an arbitrary deadline on less pressing tasks, just because it seems convenient to tidy them up before the end of the year. Let’s give ourselves – and those around us – the grace to enter the holiday season without feeling undue pressure to wrap everything up.

Of course, as we do look forward to having the time to rest and rejuvenate, we remember that not all of our whānau are fortunate enough to have the same opportunity. Many of our Whānau Ora partners will continue to provide services throughout the holiday period, and we acknowledge them for the incredible work they do to support whānau at this difficult time of year.

Little Shop of Taonga

Wave 16 recipients Dion and Jade Hancy from Little Shop of Taonga have been extremely busy building the new premises for their business. They began operating as a predominantly online shop, allowing them to enter the market and remain sustainable during the COVID-19 pandemic. As the business has thrived, Dion and Jade wanted to challenge themselves and create opportunities for growth and saw the benefit of having a physical store where whānau and hapori can feel the wairua of the taonga while they are shopping. Their new store is now open in Kaiapoi, and during his recent visit our Commissioning Manager, Huata Arahanga felt very emotional to see the evolution of the space from a bland concrete and brick garage to a retail space that is filled with aroha, warmth and a range of beautiful taonga.

Watch the video below to learn more about Dion and Jade and visit their website or their new store if you’re interested in a spot of Christmas shopping!

Ataahua Hair

This week we received an amazing video from Nadia Mason of Ataahua Hair, sharing the journey that her business has been on recently. With the support of Wave funding, Nadia uses her salon in Blenheim to provide a safe and professional service for whānau who need some extra tautoko – whether that’s kaumātua, those with special needs or health issues, or those who are simply uncomfortable in some social environments. Subsidies make her treatments affordable and Nadia is passionate about supporting whānau to build their confidence and participate in society.