We have taken time over the last week to remember those who have passed on, to celebrate each other and to look forward to the year ahead. We have looked to the morning skies to observe the lights of Matariki and Puanga.

Thanks to New Zealander of the Year, Dr Rangi Mātāmua, the whole motu now celebrates Matariki, or the Māori New Year, with a public holiday. I hope that you all got time with your whānau over the weekend to be together and to celebrate Matariki.

For us at Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu, we took time to sit with friends and shared dinner together to celebrate Matariki. We were honoured to have Gina McClusky from the Salvation Army share a kōrero with us around Matariki and its meaning. In particular, she talked of how it can be used to help bolster good health and well-being in our communities.

Ivy with Kaapua Smith at Tohunga Tūmau

We were also privileged to attend this year’s Tohunga Tūmau event at Te Pae Convention Centre on the eve of Aotearoa’s Matariki Day. It is the third year running for Tohunga Tūmau which is a night of celebration hosted by some of our finest chefs to celebrate Puanga Matariki. The hākari has been held in Tāmaki Makarau, Te Whanganui-a-Tara and now Ōtautahi. It is a showcase of Māori kai, local ingredients and manaakitanga.

The week has been a time of new beginnings, a start to the Māori New Year and a reminder that there is often a silver lining. In acknowledging the latter, we welcome the appointment of two new directors to our General Partnership Board, Dr Lorraine Eade and Elijah Pue, who have started their three-year term. I look forward to their devotion to supporting whānau ora.

Both are more than capable and while we will miss Rebecca Mason and Simon Heath and their smart support and steadfastness, I expect big things from Lorraine and Elijah. No pressure.

Lorraine (Ngāti Toa Rangatira, Ngāti Rārua, Rangitāne o Wairau, Ngāti Koata, Te Ātiawa, Ngāi Tahu) is based in Wairau while Elijah (Te Ātihaunui-ā-Pāpārangi, Te Ātiawa, Ngāti Tūwharetoa) lives in Raetahi. He was previously a policy advisor to Dame Tariana Turia.

They are held in high regard in their respective fields and among their communities. You will find more detail on their backgrounds in this release from Gena Moses-Te Kani and Taku Parai, our co-chairs of Te Taumata, the governing body of Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu.

Meanwhile, as we now take the new year in hand and I think to the aspirations we have for our whānau, our communities. I think specifically of Hiwa i te Rangi, or as Dr. Mātāmua calls her, the wishing star. The karakia that speaks to her specifically I hope invokes in us a sense of mindfulness of others, a courage to act on what is right and a hope that the new year will truly bring good things for you and for all whānau.

E tū Hiwa i te Rangi, ko ngā manako nui, kia puta ai ko ngā. Wawata

Ki te whai ao, ki te ao mārama, koia!