I love Mondays, and Mondays in Murihiku, what a great way to start to the week. Some people might screw their nose up about Mondays, but to me they represent promise of time to meet, to think and to get things done. As I made my way back to Ōtautahi from Murihiku on Monday, it wasn’t the famed southern hospitality and getting things done on my mind; it was procurement.

You might have heard of ‘progressive procurement’, which was introduced as a government policy in 2020 to increase the diversity of government suppliers of goods and services, starting with Māori.

On Monday, while in Invercargill, I attended an event for Māori businesses organised by Te Puni Kōkiri, which is tasked with delivering Te Kaitaonga Haere, the Government’s Progressive Procurement Policy, along with the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE).

I applaud Te Puni Kōkiri for doing more to make our Māori businesses aware of this kaupapa, it was a really successful event.

There is also a suite of active support for Māori businesses to get ready for government procurement opportunities.

But back to the policy, which sets an initial target of 5% of all government contracts to be awarded to Māori business. What is progressive about 5%?

When you consider that almost 150 government agencies spend more than $51.5 billion on goods and services each year, 5% is a drop in the ocean. Māori business are not merely under-represented in the total government spend; they are severely under-represented. That the 5% target was exceeded in the first full year of reporting following the introduction of the policy (it reached 6%) demonstrates there is scope there to set a target that spurs a faster rate of change.

If you own or run a Māori business, I urge you to find out more about this policy. For general information, have a look here and to see what procurement opportunities are available, go to the Government Electronic Tender Service (GETS).

Awarua Whānau Services

Along with Vanessa Whangapirita, our Pou Whirinaki ki Te Tai Tonga – Regional Champion in Southland, and Relationship and Engagement Manager, Haley Kaihe-Katterns, I also had the pleasure of visiting Awarua Whānau Services while in Murihiku.

As well as hearing from the Navigation Team and Managers we got to have a look at progress of the māra kai, which is being developed under the Kōanga Kai Initiative. Every māra kai visit we do, I leave feeling inspired, and this visit was no exception.

Nourishing whānau at Te Āwhina Marae

Una Stephens (Ngāti Rārua, Te Ātiawa, Ngai te Rangi), is the Kōanga Kai Co-ordinator for Te Āwhina Marae in Motueka. For Una, the māra kai is not simply about growing a garden. It’s about so much more – reconnection to the whenua, nourishing whānau and reigniting Mātauranga Māori me ona tikanga into the daily lives of whānau. Click here to read more about this beautiful kaupapa.

Tamariki Movie Night

On Monday night we held a Tamariki Movie Night at the office for kaimahi and their whānau to mark Children’s Day. And what a joy it was to host. About 20 tamariki watched Encanto, before some of the wee ones gave their own live performances. Thank you to Kairuruku Tari Islay Hurrell for making this happen. A great time was had by all – adults too!

He Pī Kā Pao

The first session of our in-house He Pī Kā Pao te reo Māori course with Te Wānanga o Aotearoa was held at Te Whenua Taurikura on Wednesday. It is always heartening to see and hear kaimahi using more and more te reo Māori as the year progresses. Karawhiua!

Come work with us!

This week we have started the process of recruiting for two new Commissioning Advisors for the Wai Ora team. We are looking for people with skills in relationship management, engagement and communication, and report writing. Our Commissioning Advisors are responsible for a portfolio of commissioned initiatives post-investment and throughout the duration of their agreement with Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu. For a full job description and to apply, have a look here.