It might not be the best reference, but according to Google, we spend about a third of our life at work. That is around 90,000 hours all up, so it makes sense that often our colleagues end up feeling like family.

Today we farewelled two much-loved and highly respected kaimahi of Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu — Te Rā Morris, Kāhu Kōrako Whānau Ora Champion in Te Tauihu, and Tina Woodgate, Kaitauwhiro Mātāmua Executive Assistant, who are off to start the next chapter in their careers.

It is bittersweet. Tina and Te Rā are such special members of the team, but the opportunities that await them are exciting and enable them to continue to be grounded in Whānau Ora.

For Te Rā, this means a new start at Te Aka Whai Ora as a Hauora Māori Relationships Lead. He will be part of influencing positive change for the health and hauora of Māori and we know he will continue to serve whānau well. What a wonderful way to share Whānau Ora within his new mahi and the organisation.

Tina, meanwhile, is returning home to Te Tauihu, where she will take up the role of Operations Manager with Te Ātiawa o Te Waka-a-Māui Trust. Working among, and for, her people is not something Tina takes lightly, and we just know Tina is going to excel in this role.

Many of the acknowledgements today spoke of the beautiful people that Tina and Te Rā are. Of our connection to each other through the experiences that we have shared, the precious link that is whakawhanaungatanga and the magic of gifts that we each bring with us in the mahi that we do. While they leave to begin a new journey, there are no goodbyes as they are both firmly located in our hearts. Haere pai atu, kōrua. Ā tōna wā ki tōna wāhi.

This week, I also want to acknowledge a significant milestone for Ōtepoti-based Ngāi Tahu-owned health provider Te Kāika, who have signed an agreement with Te Aka Whai Ora, Te Whatu Ora, and the Ministry of Social Development as its readies to open its new Te Kaika Wellbeing Hub next year.

Te Kaikā was a village concept designed around a specific population to develop a model of primary care that is integrated, whānau-centred and responsive to the needs of a particular community. The intention of the kaupapa was a collaboration between Te Rūnaka o Ōtākou, the University of Otago, Arai Te Uru Whare Hauora and Caversham Medical Centre to establish a low-cost GP clinic and integrated hub to assist whānau to access support for health and wellbeing.

Since then, there has been significant growth and Te Kaika is a much-valued – and much-needed – part of the community. Te Kaika was one of the first initiatives supported by Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu in 2015. We saw the potential and value in the kaupapa, and it is heart-warming to see Te Kaika continue to reach new heights. Ngā mihi mō ngā tau kei mua i te aroaro.

Kia pai tō wā whakatā.


Connecting in Kaikōura

Last month, Kaikōura-based kaupapa Māori health service, Te Tai o Marokura hosted a ‘Hey Blokes, No Jokes’ dinner to mark Men’s Health Month. The three Whānau Ora Navigators based at Te Tai o Marokura took to the stage as emcees for the evening and there were four awesome guest speakers, including two who spoke to their personal experiences of overcoming health barriers to get to a place in which they are now thriving. There were so many hearty drops of wisdom throughout the night and feedback was overwhelmingly positive, an encouraging sign for more kanohi ki te kanohi events to kōrero and support one another.

Rangatahi wellbeing report

If you have an interest in rangatahi wellbeing, Te Hiringa Mahara is holding a webinar on Wednesday, July 26, 12-1pm to share insights from the recent youth wellbeing report. There are three guest speakers as well as time for questions and answers. To register for the Teams webinar, please email and an invitation with a link will be sent to you.