Now firmly back at my desk after a beautiful few weeks spent travelling with whānau (a holiday we had meant to take four years ago), there is a lot to catch up on! A new Government (in the making), lots of kaimahi news and wins, a full diary; and I would not have it any other way. It is true that travelling makes you appreciate home that much more.

I have also been catching up on some beautiful kaupapa that happened while I was away, like the KUMA business awards in Tāhuna and Te Mana Kuratahi in Whakatū – there have been so many great things happening all over Te Waipounamu.

A big thank you to Vanessa and the team for keeping things ticking over and picking up my work. I am keenly reminded that having a solid team around you really does make all the difference.

Lots to fill you in on this week – keep reading for the latest.

E mihi ana


The future is in good hands!

Te Mana Kuratahi 2023 ki Whakatū, kua ea, Hi! Ngā mihi whakahara ki o tātou tamariki katoa e tae atu ki te taumata i ngā mahi a Tāne Rore, a Hine-Rēhia. Ko te iwi Māori te wikitoria o te wiki nei ki te hāpai ngā whānau katoa.

Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu were proud to not only support the momentous Te Mana Kuratahi kapa haka nationals last week in Whakatū but be immersed in four truly inspiring days with tamariki brimming with passion and eagerness to showcase their cultural pride, honour their whakapapa and celebrate their talents on the national stage. Six kura from Te Waipounamu competed; Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Tuia Te Matangi opened the competition followed by Pitau Whakarei, from Nelson Intermediate, Te Kura Kaupapa Māori Te Kura Whakapūmau i te Reo Tūturu ki Waitaha, Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Te Whānau Tahi, Ngā Mātātupu, from Parklands School, and Te Pā o Rakaihautū.

Te Kapa Puāwai of Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Hoani Waititi Marae took the overall honours, for the fourth time!

A huge mihi to hosts Te Tauihu o te Waka-a-Māui Māori Cultural Council and ngā iwi o Te Tauihu for an absolutely amazing event. A big thank you also to Te Matatini and Erica Sinclair Photography for these stunning photos!

Bring on the secondary school nationals next year, also in Whakatū!

Connecting whānau

Uruora is a digital solution created by Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu in early 2022 to support Māori, Pasifika and rural communities to access telehealth services. Telehealth is an increasingly popular option – provided you have an internet connection and access to a device. In this video, we caught up with Alexis Manera, the Whānau Ora Navigator at Ōnuku Rūnanga, and some of the whānau she works with in Akaroa. Their stories show us the profound impact of the Uruora initiative as it works to eliminate disparities for isolated whānau members and bring them closer to essential healthcare services and the wider community. Click here to read more about Uruora.

Raumati ki Tonga

In the vibrant world of art, one name is making waves and capturing the essence of New Zealand’s creative spirit: Redgie Walker-Small. Redgie, who comes from Kaiapoi, was one of our Wave 17 recipients and it has been inspiring to see him climb ever greater heights. Next month, Redgie’s work takes shape in an exhibition – Summer in the South | Raumati ki Tonga – at Te Atamira, in Tāhuna Queenstown. It opens on Saturday, December 2 and runs to January 31, 2024.

Hari Huritau!

Each month, we take a moment to celebrate the birthdays of our kaimahi – young or old or in between, it’s a milestone! Here are our October ‘babies”, from left, Jed Friel, Tanita Bidois, Anastasia Hapuku, and Jose Apiata.

Te Hokinga Mai 

Te Hokinga Mai is a new eight-part documentary series on Whakaata Māori that follows the intimate journey of people from all around the country as they connect with their Māori whakapapa and whenua. Episode Two was close to our hearts, featuring our very own Kaitiri Mātauranga ‑ Whānau Ora Champion, Gina-Lee Duncan. It is as much a story about Gina-Lee’s journey in the housing and planning space as it is her about return home to live on her whenua, not unlike many other whānau who also yearn to return home to their roots. You can watch Gina-Lee’s story here.

Kā Kura Kā Manu

This week saw the opening of a really special exhibition at Rei Art Gallery in Ōhinehou Lyttelton. Kā Kura Kā Manu is dedicated to the importance of manu (birds), and features artworks created by tamariki from Te Kura Tuatahi o Ōhinehou (Lyttelton Primary School), Te Raekura (Redcliffs School) and Te Kura o Paeraki (Mount Pleasant) as well as emerging, mid-career and established artists. From November 10-27, the tamariki artwork takes centre stage and then from November 28 to January 5, the exhibition shifts to the works of the artist collective. Rei Art Gallery is a Māori-owned and operated gallery under local mana whenua, Kāti Wheke. Within Rei is a collective of artists who are committed to pushing boundaries, generating conversation, and creating new possibilities under Te Tiriti o Waitangi. Find them at 10b Norwich Quay, Lyttelton, down Robert Forbes Lane, next door to Hope River Pies.

Secure your future

Now is the time to enrol if you think a qualification in Whānau Ora sounds like a great idea and focus for 2024. Manaaki Ora are holding courses in Rotorua and Ōtautahi. Contact them on for further information.