As communities in the north continue to dig deep to support one another in the aftermath of Cyclone Gabrielle, the announcement this week of targeted funding for Māori communities to assist with the recovery was welcome news.

Minister for Māori Development, Hon Willie Jackson, and Minister for Whānau Ora, Hon Peeni Henare, were at Waipatu Marae in Hastings to unveil the $15 million short-term support package, which included $3 million for Whānau Ora to be distributed via our two Commissioning Agency counterparts in the North Island.

We applaud this package; there is no doubt this pūtea will come as a great relief for the many groups, marae in particular, who have been feeding, housing and supporting displaced members of their communities for weeks now.

But $3m for Whānau Ora – an approach that we know works for whānau Māori – does not seem a great amount. We hope there is more support available for communities and also from other government agencies to support those very networks that have been doing the mahi.

Since the first rainfall hit last month, the Whānau Ora Commissioning Agencies have been in full swing, across several rohe, working with affected whānau, linking them to support, temporary accomodation, medication. They have been helping with co-ordination and distribution of donations and supplies and also assisting whānau with insurance and relief support funding. And that is not an exhaustive list.

In this context, the extra funding will help, but does it go far enough?

Last month, Auditor-General John Ryan released a report looking into how well public organisations are supporting whānau-centred approaches in terms of policy development and services delivery. The results were not encouraging. More than a decade on from Whānau Ora being introduced in 2010, the Auditor-General found that while some public organisations had taken small steps to support whānau-centred approaches, overall, there had been no significant shift. This, he noted, meant that whānau Māori were at risk of missing out on the support available to address their needs.

The report is timely as agencies set plans and strategies in place to deal with the Cyclone Gabrielle recovery. There have been numerous reviews of Whānau Ora since it was introduced. All show that the approach is successful and is making a difference for whānau.

Now more than ever it is paramount that politicians and agencies take heed of the evidence.

It is whānau who know best what they need – that is the premise of Whānau Ora. Whānau can do for themselves, if only we trust in them.

Nau mai ki Te Whenua Taurikura

Te Whenua Taurikura was buzzing this week with the arrival of new tenants. We officially welcomed the team from kaupapa Māori health, wellbeing and social service provider Purapura Whetū to the building on Monday. Established back in 2002, most of you will be familiar with the work of Purapura Whetū within the Waitaha community. If you need to find them at Te Whenua Taurikura, they are situated next to Ihi Research and kaimahi  can guide you there.

Dr Nathan McCluskey, centre, with son Finn-Eli and wife Gina.

Welcome Nathan

On Tuesday, it was exciting to welcome Dr Nathan McCluskey to the team as our new Outcomes Specialist.

At the whakatau, Nathan spoke of the importance of whānau and briefly shared his life journey in how he found himself at Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu. He also spoke of his desire to contribute to the mahi that we do and hoped that with the qualitative and quantitative experience that he has had in life and in work, that it would help to contribute to the wonderful work that we do. He also noted what a privilege it was to be able to work at Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu.

Nathan has extensive experience in comprehensive research projects, including the South Island User Needs Assessment of the Agricultural Production Survey; Analysis of the impact of the Government’s 100-day priorities on Māori; and the Māori Social Survey (MSS). He has also been involved in family and youth research; public administration and policy analysis; gathering Māori ‘statistics’ and kaupapa Māori methodologies; and policy research and analysis.

With interests in rugby, softball, speedway, tramping, whānau and community work, we are sure Nathan will settle into the tari well!

Rangatahi Creative

Luke Siaki says that working with youth is ‘a calling.’ It’s something he has done for the last five years as a fulltime youth clinician with Enabling Youth. Now, as the founder of Christchurch based The Rangatahi Creative Hub and supported by his wife Shanelle (Te Arawa), he is focussing on encouraging rangatahi to reach their full potential. “There are a heap of talented kids out there, but they often don’t have the knowledge, the resources or the self-belief to know where to start.” With the help of RUIA funding, Rangatahi Creative opens their doors to a dozen rangatahi who visit two nights a week some travelling for up to an hour into the city to take part. Read more about this unique Ōtautahi space here.

Big on heart

When Sachiko Shimamoto, founder and director of Kai Connoisseurs, wants to get things done, nothing stops her. In about a week, Sachiko pulled together a kai and kākahu fundraiser at Kai Connoisseurs HQ in Aranui to support whānau affected by Cyclone Gabrielle.

“There are whānau who have lost it all, everything they ever owned, washed away,” says Sachiko. I had a thought as I was adding a top to the pile of stuff I’ve been meaning to give away, why not try sell these clothes, so that someone else can replace their clothes; and at the same time create an opportunity for our community to come get some pre-loved bargains.”

That thought quickly blossomed and on Sunday crowds turned up to tautoko the event. Sachiko said the response had been amazing, with hundreds of clothing and accessory donations as well as some awesome raffle prizes donated. In all, $5500 was raised for Hinemihi Marae in Wairoa – ka mau te wehi!

Waitaha navigation news

Growth in the Navigation space brought a restructure and the introduction of the Mauri Ora team last year, with three Powhirinaki working across three regions to support Whānau Ora Navigators embedded in organisations across Te Waipounamu.

Pouwhirinaki ki Waitaha, Carlos Thompson, reports on a busy six months for his team in this space, with a photo diary.

Out and about in Whakatū

It was great for kaimahi to be out and about in the community in Whakatū last weekend at Tū Ngātahi, an event held to celebrate the resilience of whānau in Te Tauihu over the past few years. Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu had a stall at the event and it was the perfect chance to talk to people one to one about what we do. Thank you to Ethan Staps, Jason Lee, Leanna Pardoe, Anastasia Hapuku (pictured, left to right), and Te Ra Morris for representing us so well.