Over the past week, our thoughts have inevitably turned to Tāmaki Makaurau, and to the many whānau and hapori who have been affected by the extreme weather and flooding. It has been sobering to see the impact it has had – from loss of life and injury to damaged homes and infrastructure that will undoubtedly take weeks or months to repair.
We mihi to the incredible Te Pae Herenga o Tāmaki, the regional Whānau Ora Collective. Their teams have been working around the clock to deliver a coordinated response, offering tautoko to whānau throughout the rohe. Their deep knowledge of and connection to the communities they serve mean that they are perfectly placed to get support to where it is most needed – this is the power of Whānau Ora, and we feel a strong sense of pride and solidarity as we have seen their response roll out over the past days.
As with any extreme weather event, this week has served as a reminder that climate change will touch us all – if it has not already. Here in Te Waipounamu, we have faced our own extreme weather events, most recently in Te Tauihu and Kawatiri, and we know how devastating the aftermath can be for families and indeed entire communities. It is important that we do our best to prepare for emergencies, and to that end we are grateful to be able to share an incredible resource that can help whānau navigate unexpected scenarios. Put together by Te Kotahi o Te Tauihu, the Rautaki ā Whānau prompts us to think about the steps we will need to take to be prepared in the case of an emergency. I encourage everyone to download it and put some time into making sure your whare is as ready as it can be.
This week our team have continued their round of Wave 17 roadshows, travelling through Otago and Murihiku to connect with whānau. It has been an amazing week and our kaimahi have shared in the dreams and aspirations of whānau and have come away buzzing from the connections made and kōrero shared. It was a reminder of our collective purpose to create better outcomes for whānau, and it was truly incredible to see the energy rise in the room as each workshop progressed, as whānau began to believe in their own potential.
In Dunedin, we were hosted by Lisa and the team at Skillsec – one of our Whānau Ora Navigation partners. We were pleased to have 17 whānau attend, as well as support from local Whānau Ora Navigators and the regional Te Puni Kōkiri team.
Our next stop was Te Rau Aroha Marae in Bluff, where we were privileged to experience the mana of the marae and the whānau who work tirelessly within its walls and beyond. It was such a special place to spend time with whānau, and our southern champions were alongside us to provide that added layer of tautoko to whānau who are considering applying for Wave 17.
The workshop in Te Anau was smaller, giving us the opportunity to connect and engage with all participants, before we headed to Queenstown where we were hosted by Shyla Hona at ASB Tāhuna. Once again, our regional Whānau Ora Navigators were there to support the event and spread the kōrero within their hapori.
I want to acknowledge the incredible support of our champions in the community – whānau, past Wave recipients, Whānau Ora Navigators, our Whānau Ora partners and the wider hapori who came to tautoko both whānau and the kaupapa. I also want to acknowledge the hard-working kaimahi who have been out on the road meeting with whānau over these past weeks. The kaimahi did say it did not feel like work and rather that they were inspired by the diversity of ideas and incredible kaupapa that whānau want to realise and bring to life. A beautiful reminder to us all just how privileged we are to be in this space.