Listening to the aspirations of whānau and supporting the realisation of whānau, hapū, iwi and hapori-led solutions and initiatives is what drives Whānau Ora and underpins everything we do at Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu. It is not about us, it is about those we have the privilege to work with.

It makes sense that when it comes to rangatahi, they, too, are supported to test their own ideas and pave their own way, and it is this notion that led to the creation of RUIA in 2019.

Delivered in partnership with Rātā Foundation, RUIA has supported hundreds of rangatahi Māori in Te Waipounamu to realise their aspirations in the areas wellbeing, intergenerational leadership, succession planning and cultural development. We have seen some incredible RUIA initiatives come to life over the past five years and we are excited to see more. Applications for 2023 opened this week and we encourage you to help us share the word. From Hokitika to Temuka, Te Hoiere to Murihiku, we want to hear from rangatahi in every corner of Te Waipounamu, Rakiura and Rēkohu/Wharekauri.

The same goes with Tama Ora, which also opened this week for applications.

Tama Ora is a partnership with Sport New Zealand Ihi Aotearoa and funds kaupapa that enable tamariki and rangatahi Māori to stay active. It is open to both individuals and groups in Te Waipounamu, Rakiura and Rēkohu/Wharekauri and can support an event, project or programme with grants up to $20,000.

These opportunities can be the difference. Please help us ensure our whānau know about them, and remember we are here to help answer any questions about the application process.

Meanwhile, we have had an overwhelming response to the reopening of Te Kīwai, with more than 680 applications in the first week alone. This reflects the very real need in our communities. If you know of whānau Māori, particularly in our rural communities, who are in the position of having to choose between kai or paying for their activities for tamariki, please encourage them to apply. Although please be advised that there may be delays in application processing times, due to the high demand (and thank you to the kaimahi who are working hard to get through these).

Kia pai tō wā whakatā. Enjoy those weekend sports!

"These opportunities can be the difference. Please help us ensure our whānau know about them, and remember we are here to help answer any questions about the application process."

Kata, Hikairo and Islay are passionate advcates for RUIA, which is driven by rangatahi, for rangatahi.

A network like no other

Connecting Māori across Te Waipounamu, the Whānau Ora network continues to build in strength and impact. This week, 28 Navigators and Tū Pono and Mokopuna Ora connectors from Te Tauihu o Te Waka-a-Māui met at Omaka Marae in Blenheim for a regional navigation wānanga. These opportunities to come together, share kōrero and ideas for growth, and learn while connecting to te ao Māori are vital.

Nikki Brown, Whānau Ora Navigator at Omaka Marae said it had been a valuable three days. “Being in a space of like-minded people is so important for the Navigator whānau and being able to connect to those over the hill has solidified an already strong bond.”

For Megan Hadfield, Whānau Ora Navigator at Maataa Waka ki Te Tau Ihu Trust in Whakatū, the wānanga was uplifting.

“The opportunity to connect is always something we look forward to, not only because we get to come together and strengthen our connections but because we get to soak up so much beautiful mātauranga and come away with our cups overflowing.

“Every aspect of this hui from the whakawhanaungatanga, the sharing of skills and knowledge, the learning that took place, the incredible facilitators, the beautiful venue – and let’s not forget all that delicious kai – was all outstanding!

Kai with a conscience

Ngaio Haraki (Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāti Awa) and Jordan Duggan (African American), the pair behind The Saucey Kiwis – TSK Conscious Eatery, combine their love of international food truck culture with a passion for hauora, and the belief that enjoyable vegan kai is medicine. The couple are keen to create a full experience revolving around delicious, plant-based kai but also create a sense of community and establish The Saucey Kiwis food truck as a destination in itself. They have a regular spot at the Mt Pleasant Food Truck Alley on Sunday evenings and their growing popularity has seen them providing kai at the Christchurch Hip Hop Summit, the Vegan Night Mākete, and the Long Run event with the Crusaders, to raise funds for the Child Cancer Foundation. This is just the beginning! Read more about The Saucey Kiwis here.

Growing connections

Gina-Lee Duncan, Kaitiri Mātauranga ‑ Whānau Ora Champion, and Richelle Schaper, project manager of the Kōanga Kai initiative at Te Hā o Kawatiri, recently met with second year policy and planning students from the University of Canterbury to talk about community resilience, and what that looks like from a te ao Māori perspective. As we have seen repeatedly through the Kōanga Kai initiatives, maara kai bring people together. Evidence shows us that whānau who have engaged, have had personal outcomes far beyond the growing and harvesting of kai. Among other benefits, maara enable a safe space to talk, learn and gain a sense of community in times of need. It was a special thing to see the work of Te Hā o Kawatiri celebrated by revisiting stories of the maara development. Ka mau te wehi!

A new dawn in healthcare

Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu were represented at a dawn blessing for Te Rau Kawakawa, a new Buller Health facility in Westport, on Friday last week. The day had been a long time coming for the local community and it’s arrival was heralded with a beautiful sunrise over the Paparoa range. We congratulate Te Whatu Ora and the Buller community – Te Rau Kawakawa is an impressive facility that was hard fought for and is testimony to the importance of a strong community voice.

Ngā mihi aroha ki a koutou

You can imagine my face when I made my way to the wharekai on Thursday, my birthday, and was greeted with a ‘May the 4th’ guard of honour, with kaimahi donning Star Wars-themed masks. Ngā mihi aroha ki a koutou. I love the thoughtfulness and am proud to have such a great team. However, I cannot take all the birthday glory. This week we also celebrated Senior Data Analyst Sam Selwyn’s birthday. Sam is a valued member of our team, and it was great to take the time to acknowledge his special day. Hari Huritau ki a koe, Sam.