Kia rere ngā mihi maioha ki a koutou katoa.

With a heart full of gratitude, I wanted to start by thanking all of you who attended and supported Whānau Ora Symposium 2023.

What a beautiful and powerful two days together, reminding ourselves of our whys, exchanging mātauranga, being inspired by some incredible speakers, and simply connecting. The power and wairua of this incredible Whānau Ora network we have created together is unmistakable.

When Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu officially launched in July 2014, our vision was forthright and unfaltering: Whānau rangatiratanga, whānau oranga. We had one workstream – the Wave – our unique whānau enterprise model that invests in whānau belief and brilliance. We are now approaching Wave 18 and have had the pleasure of working alongside hundreds of entities and partners.

And, together, we are so much more than when we first set off.

Our mission, Māu te ara, kia ora ai te whānau, reminds us all that we can define the pathways to enable whānau to thrive. And that is what we must continue to do – grow the vision further, plant the seed of transformation amongst whānau, and nurture it so that it may flourish.

Thank you to everyone who participates in the many tributaries of Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu; those who govern us and lead us; those who give their all at work for us, who partner with us and trust in us. Most of all I thank each and every one of you who form the highways of hope that comprise the Whānau Ora ecosystem in Te Waipounamu. Whether as Navigators or Coaches; as whānau entities or initiatives; you dreamed the dream, you stepped forward and every day you make the change happen.

Thank you to our emcee, Ngahiwi Apanui; to our special guests and panellists; our incredible Sign Language Interpreters; caterers Kai Connoisseurs for that incredible kai (!); photographer Maania Tealei, our hosts at the Majestic, our pakihi Māori stallholders, dinner emcee Tofiga Fepulea’i, Te Kou o Rehua and Mellow Studios, Ariki Creative and NAIA. Ngā mihi ki a koutou.

I don’t know about you, but I am already looking forward to next year.

If you want to relive some of the magic, see Maania’s beautiful photos below.

E mihi ana