This week I have to admit to feeling envious of those kaimahi who had the foresight to take leave so they could attend Te Matatini Herenga Waka Herenga Tangata National Kapa Haka Festival in Tāmaki Makaurau. Although, even around a screen in the office here in Ōtautahi, the atmosphere has been electric, such is the power of kapa haka.

I am sure we have not been the only ones sneaking a few moments here and there to catch our favourite kapa and witness some truly incredible talent. We were so proud to see rōpū  from Te Waipounamu take the stage on Thursday, and today, and tears of pride were flowing. Finals tomorrow – thank goodness it is not a work day!

On Wednesday, we came together as a team at 12.51pm for a minute’s silence to mark the 12-year anniversary of the February 22 Christchurch earthquake. Lives were changed forever that day and although time passes and we are seeing a city reborn, the heartache and tragedy does remain. We take heart by acknowledging and celebrating our resilience as a city and reflecting on how far we have come in the past 12 years. We hope the communities in the north currently struggling in the wake of Cyclone Gabrielle can take some hope from our own example – rebuilding lives, homes and communities is possible, it takes time, but there will be light.

The theme of reflection was continued at mahi this week as we welcomed the team from quality accreditation programme, Te Wana into the office for three days to conduct interviews with Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu kaimahi and other stakeholders.

Taking an inward look at ourselves is important to ensure we are continously improving and creating optimal outcomes for both our staff and those we serve. This is our third accreditation round and we are looking forward to seeing how we can continue to adapt, do better, and aim higher for the benefit of whānau.

Welcoming the Te Wana team to Te Whenua Taurikura, from left, Ati Vili, Hikairo Te Hae, Ivy Harper, Jane Clark, Stephanie Pope, Liz Harber and Clive Aspin.

Mana Tāne - Waitaha

Last week, we had the opportunity to host a  special three-day wānanga focused on enhancing tāne wellbeing. Mana Tāne – Waitaha, held at Kōkōmuka Lodge in Eyrewell Forest, brought together Tāne Whānau Ora Navigators, Tūpono Connectors and tāne they work alongside to share in mātauranga, focusing on enhancing hauora as matua within their whānau, resilience, and strengthening connection.

We were joined by tāne kaimahi from Te Pouwhenua, Te Whare Hauora, Te Puna Oranga, and all the way from Ngāti Rangi in Ohakune. At the mihi whakatau we were generously welcomed by Ngāi Tuahuriri whānau and kaumātua, and so began three days of inspiring learning.

Sessions included mau rākau with Jai Te Ahunga, mirimiri with the team at Te Arateatea Whare Hauora, and others facilitated by our Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu tāne kaimahi supported by Kahutāne Whaanga. Guest speakers included Jared Riwai-Couch from MENgineering, Ruatau and his Te Arateatea team, and Broken Movement Trust’s, Jacob Skilling and Zac Guildford.

It was an amazing couple of days and we cannot thank enough all those who helped bring this together and took part, including our beautiful hosts at Kōkōmuka Lodge, Karla and Rex Gamble.

Taiohi Tangata Marae Wānanga

There were some tired but happy faces at Ūkaipō in Wairau this week as Rangitāne o Wairau wrapped up their five-day Taiohi Tangata Marae Wānanga.

About 20 rangatahi took part in the wānanga, which saw them travel with iwi Trustees Dr Peter Meihana and Keelan Walker to various sites of significance, feasting on the rich tuku iho of the Wairau and Rotoiti, in the Nelson Lakes, and strengthening their connection to their iwi, their whakapapa and each other.

There was, of course, also time for fun; rafting on the Kawatiri awa and a swim in the Wairau on a hot day were highlights.

On the last day, rangatahi put their hours of haka and waiata practice to action, welcoming their whānau to Ukaipō with an impressive haka pōwhiri.

Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu was proud to support this wānanga via the RUIA fund, which was designed to support rangatahi wellbeing, intergenerational leadership, succession planning and cultural development. This fund is delivered in partnership with Rātā Foundation and the Ministry for Youth Development.

Rafting on the Kawatiri.

Rangitāne o Wairau Trustee Dr Peter Meihana takes a whakapapa session at Tuamātene, in Grovetown.

Tū Ngātahi on tomorrow

Missed out on going to Te Matatini 2023? If you are in Whakatū, head to Tū Ngātahi at Rutherford Park on Saturday afternoon to watch the finals on the big screen. Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu is excited to support Tū Ngātahi, an initiative led by Te Kotahi o Te Tauihu Trust to celebrate the resilience of Te Tauihu o Te Waka-a-Māui over the past few years. Market and kai stalls, free entertainment and a hauora zone. It’s on from 2pm to 6pm. Look out for the Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu stand and say ‘kia ora’ to the team.

Applications closed

Applications for Wave 17 and Tai Neke, Tai Ora are now closed. Thank you for your applications; we are excited to see what this Wave will bring. Applications will now go to our Independent Assessment Panel for consideration mid to late March and all applicants will be contacted after that.