I’ve always enjoyed sport, as in, being on the sidelines when my sons were little, following whānau as they excelled, and watching the big national games. I’m not sports mad, but I have to say I am VERY excited for the almighty Pacific Series 2023, which is happening here in Ōtautahi this weekend.

Hosted by the South Island Pasifika & Sports Association, the rugby league tournament is a big deal and continues to grow each year. You may remember this beautiful story about Te Toka Tū o Waitaha re-establishing a Māori presence in the competition.

The kaupapa of the Pacific Series is first and foremost culture and using rugby league as the vehicle to bring nations and teams together to connect, share and celebrate the uniqueness and diversity of our people.

This year, the Pacific Series theme is “I belong”, sending the message that no matter who you are, there is always a space or place to feel connected to and belong; whether this is a marae, a church, a sports team, our whānau, we always have a place that feels like home, a place that lifts our spirits and mental health and well-being.

There is so much heart to this kaupapa, and our kaimahi were certainly not upset about giving up their public holiday to be there. If you have a few hours free, come on down and watch the action. It kicks off today (Friday) at Burnside Park and play continues on Saturday as well. Look out for the Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu flags and we’ll see you there!

And to all the teams, good luck!

Mauri ora


Huikai Creations

A candle business was not on the radar for Ngaire Briggs when she and her tamariki began playing around with a small DIY kit that they’d been given. It was something fun and creative they could do together, and it gave them a beautiful end product for their home, or something that could be passed on as a gift for friends and whānau. Friends of friends and whānau then started seeing the candles and asking where they could get them and soon Huikai Creations was born. To read more about this awesome pakihi Māori, see here.

Te Tauihu Tāngata Turi hui

Tu Tangata Turi and Deaf Action NZ/NZSL Club invite kaimahi working in hauora support and social service roles for whānau to an interactive hui at Omaka Marae, in Blenheim, on Friday, December 8, from 10am to 1pm.

This hui has been designed to ensure kaimahi grow their skills and learn first-hand about the daily life of tāngata turi whānau so they can improve their practice and grow their support networks.

Navigating the world of te reo Māori, New Zealand Sign Language and English can result in language mayhem, and this is sure to be a learning experience and a chance for whakawhanaungatanga with Tu Tangata Turi and Deaf Action NZ/NZSL Club. You will learn about the struggle that tāngata turi experience while engaging in everyday life and ways that you can improve your skills when working and walking alongside them in the mahi you do.

This hui will also help you learn about the current barriers and challenges tāngata turi experience and what is happening to address them. Hosted by: Kim Robinson MNZM, Tu Tangata Turi Whānau Ora Services, Sam Te Maari, Hemi Hema QSM.  Limited spaces available. RSVP by November 30 by emailing ranae@aroa.co.nz.   

Breaking down the barriers

Last weekend, we held another successful Aroā screening kaupapa in conjunction with He Waka Tapu Wāhine Ora Clinics, here in Ōtautahi, providing an opportunity for whānau to receive cervical screening or choose to undertake the HPV self-test themselves as well as hear some quality kōrero about staying on top of our health.

Enriched presentations shared by a panel of experts covered cervical cancers and the recent roll out of HPV self-testing, breast screening, bowel screening, and there were also stories shared of lived experience. We are all about encouraging whānau to take the time to put their health needs first, and we are looking forward to continuing kaupapa such as this under Aroā  in 2024.

In the ring

Kaikōkiri Tinana ‑ Tinana Champion Toihi Mahuika-Wright was at the Papuni Boxing event last weekend in Ōtautahi, which brought together boxing clubs from throughout Te Waipounamu. It was great to catch up with Papuni Boxing founder Reece Papuni and also Randall Dixon from Dixon’s Boxing in Whakatū. Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu has supported both clubs through Tama Ora and it was awesome to see the huge growth both clubs are enjoying. Ka mau te wehi!