Dates are marked in calendars, speakers are locked in, venues are confirmed and importantly, the kai is in hand; after a year’s absence, we were so excited this week to be able announce the dates for Whānau Ora Symposium 2023.

Each year, where possible, it is our great honour to host this event and bring the precious Whānau Ora network of whānau, partners, and entities spread throughout Te Waipounamu together, to share their collective stories and highlight their work. The chance to look to each other for support and inspiration is something I know is valued highly among our communities, especially our rural whānau. This year is no different.

Symposium 2023, to be held in Ōtautahi, will focus on the need to continually realign back to our kaupapa, whānau. Tēnei te Pō! Tēnei te Ao! speaks to renewal, realignment and restoration.

After the fresh snowfall of winter come the tender shoots of spring. In much the same way, after the interruption of COVID, we now have a chance to look anew, restore, and realign to our central purpose of believing in whānau; investing in whānau; being inspired by whānau.

Speakers will be announced in the coming weeks, but I can promise you some beautiful kōrero and plenty of food for thought – and for eating. If you haven’t already marked Thursday, September 21 and Friday, September 22 in your diary, I encourage you to do so. Tickets go on sale soon.

We hope to see you there.

Noho ora mai


Te Whai Wānanga, Whānau Ora 2023

Last Friday, Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu hosted Te Whai Wānanga, Whānau Ora 2023 for our tāngata whaikaha, whānau hauā community.

This was all about giving the opportunity for tāngata whaikaha and whānau hauā to actually be at the centre and lead the kōrero, and not be the add on. The stories shared brought to life the everyday challenges faced that go unseen, unheard, and unnoticed.

Whānau shared their stories about being disabled in an able community and the challenges they face (or have faced) in life trying to get the recognition and support they need. Many of the stories were heartbreaking but also inspirational in the desire of the whaikaha community to continue despite the adversity.

This quote was reflective of so many that were received from those who attended:

“I just had to email you to say thank you so much for an amazing weekend with all those beautiful people. I have a hope that opportunity will come again to us as a roopū and as a whānau we found a new day in this weekend.  Not only did I love, love, love it but I also loved hearing the kōrero of those beautiful people. Thank you for all your hard work in organising this hui.”

The wānanga draws on the work that Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu has undertaken with members of the Whānau Ora Interface Group and the information gathered will be used to inform the Insights report due to Te Whatū Ora about the commissioning approach that is undertaken by Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu. The outcomes achieved by whānau as a result of the Te Whai Fund that was made available to tāngata whaikaha and whānau hauā will be a feature of the report.

Connecting with rangatahi

“Our approach is unique. We’re taking what many people claim is the problem and we’re using it as a solution. And we’ve lost count of the number of young people who have taken part in our gaming events,” says James Wards. As the chair of Insert Coin To Play Charitable Trust, James and his fellow trustees, Marcin Lipski and Jesse Hall focus on delivering a wide range of fun digital events for rangatahi in the South Island. These events are a doorway to e-sports and digital technologies, where youth can make new friends and learn how to take part in something they love in a safe and healthy environment. Read more about this awesome kaupapa here.

Building communities

A highlight for us in the office and for the Whānau Ora Navigators based in Waitaha are our monthly Community of Practice (CoP) hui at the tari. This time is allocated to whakawhanaungatanga, to share kai and knowledge and it is a great chance to meet one another, talk to anything that might be coming up in the course of their mahi, and work towards finding collective solutions.

The value that comes from sharing, especially from the more experienced Navigators, is easy to see. As well as providing support, it also helps us save time, allows sharing of information around other organisations’ processes, ultimately speeding things up for whānau, and also allows for networking – which is the key to Navigation. There is support out there, but knowing how to access it can be tricky, so everything we can do to fill those gaps is also crucial.

During the hui, we also have a micro training session covering various subjects relevant to whānau. So far, topics have included the Mauri Hiko – Healthy Homes initiative and Uruora, which covers online GP access for rural whānau, kaumātua, or tāngata whaikaha. We also had a presentation from Limited Volunteer Services (LVS) from Burnham Camp Army. Coming up we will host Community Law and  Victim Support Services.

Bringing organisations into the tari to share what they have going on is so important in the Navigation space. The chance to simply meet, share kai and make new friendships is invaluable.

Nau mai, Tayla

A warm welcome to Tayla Wylie (Ngāi Tahu, Ngāti Kahungunu) who joined the Mana Ora team last Monday as a Reporting and Policy Assistant. Tayla is passionate about hauora Māori and brings a wealth of experience in enhancing participant engagement in New Zealand clinical research. Tayla loves to work as part of a team and problem solve and is certainly another welcomed addition to Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu.

Kaitauwhiro Whānau – Commissioning Advisor

Kia hiwa rā, kia hiwa rā, kei te kimi mātou o Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu i tētahi tāngata ki te whakakī i tētahi tūnga wātea. Nā reira, pānui mai i ngā kōrero e whai ake nei.  Ko koe pea te tangata tika.

We have an exciting opportunity for a Commissioning Advisor to join our team at Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu! Our Commissioning Advisors are responsible for a portfolio of commissioned initiatives post investment and throughout the duration of their agreement with Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu. You will provide support along the contract negotiation process, as the face of Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu.

For a full position description and to apply, click here. If you would like any further information, please email Applications close on Sunday, September 3, 2023, at 10pm.

League fundraiser

Omaka Marae Māori Women’s Welfare League are fundraising for this year’s regional conference – which they also happen to be hosting! Take a look at the marae Facebook page to stay up to date on raffles and other League initiatives.