This weekend wraps up a huge week of festivities in Ōtautahi celebrating our rainbow community. Whakahī Ōtautahi Christchurch Pride Week 2023 gets bigger and spreads its wings further into the community each and every year.

As part of the celebrations last weekend, two of our kaimahi – Carlos Thompson, Pouwhirinaki mō Waitaha, and Kata McLean-Nutira, Kaikōkiri Hauora – attended their first community outreach event promoting the rangatahi sexual health campaign #sexkōrero at the Pride Picnic Outing 2023 in Rangiora, North Canterbury.

We know Māori and Pasifika, our Tangata Whaikaha, Takatāpui, wāhine, and rural whānau are under-represented in health statistics. With historic frustration in the health sector over the difficulties faced in trying to find solutions to bridge that gap, this was a great opportunity for us to listen and engage with our rainbow whānau, celebrate them, and make the topic a little easier to engage in and talk about.

#sexkōrero is a campaign for rangatahi, led by rangatahi, with the voice of rangatahi at the centre. Our vision is to ensure young people have an accurate understanding and knowledge of what to look out for, be aware of, or where to go when sexual health and wellbeing is concerned. We are not promoting sex, rather offering that safe space to kōrero, sharing on-point information, and steering rangatahi towards agencies that are mana enhancing, uphold confidentiality, respect, and manaakitanga, while normalising kōrero surrounding sex and sexual health in a positive way.

We have recently welcomed a rangatahi-led communications team on board to refresh the #sexkōrero Instagram page, so watch this space and share the word about #sexkōrero with the rangatahi in your lives.

Pae ora

I attended a two-day wānanga in Ōtepoti last week with Tania Batley, Kaitauwhiro Mātātahi Mokopuna Ora, to discuss the new Hauora Māori Strategy being developed by Te Aka Whai Ora and Manatū Hauora Ministry of Health to set the direction of the new health system for improving Māori health and wellbeing. It was a good opportunity for whānau, hapū, iwi and health providers to meet and share their whakaaro on health delivery – and barriers to accessing healthcare. The challenge will be, as it always is, to ensure those views are accurately reflected in any future models.

Manaakitanga Funeral Service

Betsy Williams designed Manaakitanga Funeral Service to provide tikanga and values-based, affordable funeral services to whānau across the Waitaha region. Manaakitanga Funerals began two years ago during the COVID-19 pandemic when Betsy’s whānau were gathering weekly for karakia due to an illness in her family and she saw the need for this kind of support.

Tāua Betsy was first put in touch with Charlie McKenzie from South Island Funerals who was looking for someone that could provide whānau Māori with a whānau-focused service. Read more about this heart-warming kaupapa here.

Te Arateatea Whare Hauora

Te Arateatea offers a Te Ao Māori approach to health, healing and wellbeing. Recently, I was privileged to attend the opening of their new Whare Hauora at the Tannery in Woolston and what an incredible space it is. The beautiful artwork is by talented artist, Darryl Thomson (Ngāti Kahungunu). Ruatau and Hana and their beautiful baby together with their kaimahi are excited to be in their new whare. If you have not been yet, weave a visit into your plans. The whare looks and ‘feels’ beautiful. They are located at the end of the car park, to the right, along the boardwalk. Have a look at their Facebook page for information about their services and community clinics.

A voice across borders

Our Kaitauwhiro Mātātahi Mokopuna Ora – Mokopuna Ora Contracts Advisor, Tania Batley, is one inspiring wāhine and a reminder of the power that lies inherent in all of us.

This week we learned that Tania had been invited by the Gynaecological Cancer InterGroup (GCIG) to participate as an advocate in a consensus conference as part of a two-day workshop, in Seoul, South Korea. Tania was initially a patient and then an advocate and now a research colleague of Professor Alison Brand, the co-chair of GCIG. GCIG, have run these forums before, however, this is the first time an Endometrial Cancer Consensus has been held.

Tania’s role along with other patient advocates will be to help reach a consensus on research and clinical trials for women who have gynaecological cancer.

Tania will be working with two oncologists, from Australia and Canada, as well as other patient advocates on a series of questions that will look at how research and clinical trials are delivered to whānau with endometrial cancer. Tania is already working with her team via Zoom on solutions ahead of the workshop in November.

We congratulate Tania on her role in this kaupapa and know she will continue to be an incredible advocate.

Supporting survivors

Kath Coster is a survivor of decades of abuse in state care. The third generation of her family to have been in state care, Kath, who lives in Ōtautahi, was just 9 years old when she found herself a ward of the state. Kath is one of thousands of young people and vulnerable adults who are the focus of a Royal Commission of Inquiry that is investigating the abuse of children in state and faith-based care in Aotearoa New Zealand between the years 1950-1999.

Kath has struggled for decades to give voice to survivors and seek support to address the legacy of that abuse, which has now become intergenerational. As a member and representative of the New Zealand Collective of Abused in State-care Charitable Trust (NZCAST) it is her aspiration to make positive changes that can improve outcomes for those in care today and those who will enter care in the future.

Kath received support from Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu to identify survivors living in Te Waipounamu to register with the New Zealand Collective of Abused in State Care Charity Trust (NZCAST).

Kath also travelled to Waitangi to meet with other survivors to register them and ensure their voice is represented and they have the legal support they need. The Royal Commission’s formal registration for survivors closes on Tuesday, March 21, 2023, and it is Kath’s hope that all survivors are aware of this opportunity to be heard.

Kath is happy to kōrero privately with survivors who may be reluctant to come forward, or who may want to understand more about NZCAST or the process of registering with the Royal Commission and can be contacted by email at Survivors can also email NZCAST at

Otherwise, whānau can register directly with the Royal Commission by calling 0800 222 727 before 4.30pm on Tuesday, March 21 or email with the subject line “Register”.

I encourage everyone to register so that your voice can be heard.