Working from home in isolation this week I took the chance to catch up on the mail – the real mail, which is mostly bills these days anyway. Within the small stack of thin white envelopes, was a letter reminding me of the change to Te Kōwhiringa Pōti Māori, the Māori Electoral Option.

It feels like this has largely gone under the radar, but it is an important one to be aware of. So, what is it all about?

Prior to March 31, if you were on the Māori Roll for elections and wanted to change to the General Roll, or you were on the General Roll and wanted to change to the Māori Roll, you could only do this during a Māori Electoral Option period, held every five to six years. At the end of last year, legislation was passed to allow voters to change between these rolls whenever they want, except in the three months before a general election; in the three months before a local election; and before a parliamentary by-election if the change would move you into the electorate where the by-election is being held.

The roll you choose decides which electorate you vote in, and it also determines the number of general and Māori electorates.

It is completely up to you which electorate you want to vote in; the important thing is that you do exercise your right to vote, whether that be in a national election or a local body election.

Some of you may have received the letter I did in the mail from the Electoral Commission. If you haven’t and you want to know more, have a look here. If you want to check which roll you are on, click here.

Meanwhile, at Te Whenua Taurikura, work is building as we prepare to open three funds aimed at supporting the wellbeing of our tamariki and rangatahi. Te Kīwai will launch on Wednesday, 26 April, while Ruia and Tama Ora will be open from 1 May. I encourage you to spread the word and let whānau know so they can start thinking about their applications.

Kia pai ō koutou wā whakatā.

"It is completely up to you which electorate you want to vote in; the important thing is that you do exercise your right to vote ... ."

Visit from Minister Henare

It was great to welcome the Minister for Whānau Ora,  Hon Peeni Henare, to Te Whenua Taurikura on Friday. Minister Henare has had a busy start to the year after picking up the ACC portfolio and his more recent portfolios as Minister of Forestry and the Associate Minister for the Environment, a space he shares with Hon James Shaw. Minister Henare also holds the Tourism portfolio and is the Associate Minister of Health (Māori Health).

Talking to kaimahi, Minister Henare said he considered Whānau Ora to have a space in all those portfolios. He also noted that he continued to be impressed with the work of Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu. Some of the topics covered in the discussion included Whānau Ora Navigators, tāngata whaikaha and whānau haua, housing, the cost of living crisis, and commissioning. His continued support is welcomed and we look forward to sharing more stories of success in the Whānau Ora space with him.

Energy Hardship Expert Panel

On Monday, Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu is hosting a session with the Energy Hardship Expert Panel to hear about the Panel’s proposed strategies to tackle energy hardship. The Panel is an independent body, appointed by government following recommendations by the independent Electricity Price Review. Chair Keri Brown and a very familiar face to you all, Panel Member Helen Leahy, will give a short presentation on their discussion paper, Te Kore, Te Pō, Te Ao Marama | Energy Hardship:  the challenges and a way forward, which outlines 27 strategies within five key focus areas, or kete, to help tackle energy hardship in Aotearoa. You can read more about the Energy Hardship Expert Panel and their Discussion Paper here. Please join us at 10am if you are free to share your whakaaro on this kaupapa.

Director vacancies

A reminder that candidates interested in becoming a Director on the General Partner Limited Board (GPL) of Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu have until May 1, 2023 to apply.

Providing operational governance to Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu, GPL currently has two Director vacancies. Applicants should be experienced and established directors with a strong and proven track record. For more information, visit