…  if only you knew that when I think of why I even bother at all, I think of men like you.

… If you only knew that it’s the shame that you pushed down that whispers in your ear telling you I’ll leave if I knew.

Because if the truth whispered it would tell you nothing you could ever tell me would change my mind about you.

Because I see you my best friend, and when I see you.

I don’t see the gangster … “

The words of Matt Brown of She is Not Your Rehab always bring a reason to pause, to reflect, and reaffirm the non-negotiable importance of whānau-led approaches and solutions.

Speaking on the first day of Hiwa-i-te-rangi, the 2023 National Family Violence Conference and Masterclasses, in Te Whanganui-a-Tara on Thursday, Matt recited a poignant poem he wrote for a client, who became a friend, who became a brother. I See You recounts a conversation which spoke to the shame many tāne who have been involved in violence carry.

I doubt there was anyone who was not affected by Matt’s words when he spoke as one of two keynotes on the first day of the conference. His words highlighted that solutions can be found, when people are heard and seen, and held accountable to themselves, and not to a system.

It has taken a decade for successive governments to somewhat understand what a true Whānau Ora partnership looks like, and there is still work to be done as the Auditor-General’s recent report noted. But it was heartening to hear Minister for the Prevention of Family and Sexual Violence, Hon Marama Davidson, in opening the conference, reaffirm the need to involve whānau and community from the start, not only when thinking about support for people who use violence, but across many situations. After all, we know issues do not exist in silos and neither do the solutions. It requires everyone working together.

The crisis in the North Island is one example. We know levels of need are still very high and we also know that levels of violence increase after a crisis. That is why right now, as Hon Davidson noted, is the right time to be flexible, to put in place higher trust relationships and focus on primary prevention work. Now is not the time for these types of partnerships to be deferred and reprioritised in order to make balance sheets more politically appealing.

However, it is not policies alone which will support people to be able to live violence-free lives, or funding, or even the academic evidence. It is also the people themselves, the community, peer support, people with lived experiences who may not be qualified in a traditional sense but who can guide with the support of professionals.

It is this inter-connected approach of Whānau Ora that we must look to.

Navigation wānanga

A three-day wānanga with Whānau Ora Navigators in Queenstown this week was an opportunity to build relationships and strengthen one another by sharing best practice when it comes to developing and consolidating mutual trust, respect and skills. As well as looking at the PATH and FOCUS processes, which support whānau empowerment, we also had the opportunity to build connection to the whenua and connect to our traditions and mātauranga Māori at a pounamu workshop led by Tabuvae Tamihana. After years of being pushed apart by the pandemic, the simple act of coming together was refreshing and the kōrero shared was inspiring. We mihi to our southern Whānau Ora Navigators and our partners for their hard work and for the support they provide to whānau in their communities.

Mustering awareness

While in Queenstown we met with Peter and Elsie Lyons to prepare for the introduction and rollout of our Uruora Telehealth initiative into the shearing community. The Lyons have been pillars of the shearing community in Aotearoa for more than 35 years and we are pleased to be collaborating to extend telehealth services to their kaimahi in remote and isolated areas across Te Waipounamu. Shearing gangs often spend many weeks on circuit without access to a GP or specialist care. It is hoped Uruora will bridge that gap, leading to better outcomes for our rural-based whānau.

Te Whare o Rei

Whakaraupō Carving formally opened Te Whare o Rei earlier this month with a dawn ceremony shared with whānau, locals and kaupapa toi enthusiasts alike. Rei is a collective of artists from across Aotearoa with a unique variety of works. Their kaupapa is to collectively bring the identity of Te Waipounamu forward, uphold tino rangatiratanga, and empower the creatives of tomorrow. The collective of artists are Damian Mackie, Alix Ashworth, Ngahina Belton-Bodsworth, Russ Harris, Gwyn Hughes, Angus Goodwin, Kate McLeod, Jace Dean-Holder, Simon Max Bannister, Jordan Mackie, Noah Mackie, Ngaio Cowell, Delaney Davidson, Selena Tapae, Jacob Chick and Skye Broberg.

Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu were able to support Whakaraupō Carving Centre Trust with Whatu Kura Toi: the stones of knowledge, an introductory online course, designed to accommodate whānau from all backgrounds who want to deepen their understanding of Te Ao Māori. Visit Te Whare o Rei at 10b Norwich Quay in Lyttleton for more information or if you are outside Ōtautahi, visit their website.

Tūpuna Pono Summit

On Tuesday, Vanessa Hutchins, Pou Kōkiri – Deputy Chief Executive Officer, and Whānau Ora Champion, Te Rā Morris attended the Tūpuna Pono Summit in Whakatū Nelson. The summit, convened by hapū-owned business, Wakatū Incorporation, was aimed at picking up the conversation around the long-term future of Te Tauihu and shining a light on positive initiatives happening throughout the region. From the redevelopment programme at Te Āwhina Marae in Motueka to the work of iwi collaboration, Te Kotahi o Te Tauihu Trust, to an indigenous crops programme by Wakatū Inc – the stories were plenty and meaningful. We mihi to Wakatū Incorporation for their leadership and the invitation to listen and consider how we support whānau in Te Tauihu.

Taiohi Tangata Marae Wānanga

Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu were pleased to be able to support Rangitāne o Wairau to hold its second Taiohi Tangata Marae Wānanga for rangatahi via the Ruia fund. The wānanga is designed to build rangatahi capacity, through sharing the unique kōrero tuku iho and whakapapa of Rangitāne o Wairau. Take a look at the video!

‘Kia ora – E te iwi’

‘Kia ora – E te iwi’ is a kaupapa Māori living well programme run by Cancer Society Marlborough for whānau facing cancer. The next one-day wānanga will be held at Omaka Marae in Blenheim on Friday, March 31 and offers a space to talk about cancer and treatments, get help with understanding what support is available, learn about strategies to cope and simply connect. Whānau Ora Navigators Nikki Brown and Renata Wallace are hosting this wānanga. If you would like to attend, please email Whanauora@omakamarae.co.nz


Tari life

Welcome Jed

On Monday we welcomed Jed Friel to the Mana Ora team. Jed is our new Policy and Data Advisor and brings a wealth of experience and enthusiasm. For the past two and half years, Jed has worked as a Project Analyst for Te Uru Taumatua (TUT); the iwi office for Ngāi Tūhoe in Te Urewera. Jed worked across numerous projects, the most significant of these being the construction of a pilot community village as a way of providing warm, safe housing for iwi members who could not afford to own their own home through conventional means.

Jed also led three makeshift teams during the COVID-19 outbreak where he was responsible for the procurement and assembly of several “Covid packs” that were dispersed throughout the Tūhoe rohe.

Prior to that, Jed worked for six years at recruiting firm Jackson Stone and Partners in Wellington, where he managed various projects and focused on improving the use of the data management system. Nau mai ki Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu Jed.

Special guests

Last week we had a visit from Te Puni Kōkiri. It was great to catch up kanohi ki te kanohi after many virtual hui. Pictured are, from left, Sam Selwyn, Ivy Harper, Kayla Hollis (TPK), Jess Hollis (TPK), Jason Lee, Anna Waititi (TPK), Tanita Bidois, Jesse Roth (TPK), and Nathan McCluskey. In front are Oriwia Hohaia and Julia Maxwell.

Celebrating together

Last week we celebrated Hikairo Te Hae, Pou Whakaaweawea – Culture and Innovation, turning 28 years old. Hope you had a great day Hikairo.