After what feels like a few heavy months, this week is undoubtedly one of light and celebration as Te Huinga Whetū and Matariki shine bright on the national stage and in our homes and communities.

The eight iwi of Te Tauihu o te Waka-a-Māui and the Te Tauihu Māori Cultural Council gathered at the Trafalgar Centre in Whakatū on Monday to welcome more than 2500 kaihaka to the city for Te Huinga Whetu Kapa Haka Kura Tuarua o Aotearoa, the National Secondary School Kapa Haka Nationals. The power and pride in the voices of the haukāinga that boomed across the stadium were unmistakable and a reminder that, with each generation, we can only become stronger.

Throughout this week, more than 1 million people will tune in to watch the kapa haka battle it out, teaching, connecting, and uniting us. Behind the scenes, iwi and marae across Te Tauihu, and numerous community groups are working hard around the clock to co-ordinate, feed, and manaaki more than 10,000 manuhiri. It is an incredible effort and one that should not be underestimated.

Meanwhile, in hapori big and small all over Te Waipounamu, from Wairau to Te Anau, whānau, hapū and community groups are also preparing for Matariki celebrations. The number of public celebrations and events being held this year is heartening and, of course, is made extra special this year with Kāi Tahu hosting the national Matariki hautapu ceremony that will bring in the dawn and signal the beginning of Te Rā Aro ki Matariki – the Matariki public holiday. The ceremony will be live on all national TV stations and Radio New Zealand and live-streamed on from 5am this Friday.

Wherever you are this weekend, I hope the light of Matariki shines bright on you and your whānau.

Ngā mihi o te tau hou.


Hawaiki Kura win national award

We were all so proud to see Hawaiki Kura and te whānau Nepia acknowledged at the Ihi Aotearoa New Zealand Sport and Recreation Awards on Monday night, taking out the national award for Excellence in Impacting Māori Participation.

From their base in Wairau, Kiley and Donna Nepia and their beautiful girls have worked alongside hundreds of tamariki, rangatahi and pākeke, under a wide number of initiatives in the cultural development, Whānau Ora and Māori health and education spaces. In particular, they have become well known for their kaupapa Māori wellness, resilience and empowerment wānanga for rangatahi, tāne and wāhine, which are grounded in mātauranga Māori, tirohanga Māori and tikanga Māori.

Kiley and Donna are committed to the transformation and well-being of whānau by reconnecting them to mātauranga and tikanga Māori, and the Jim Maniapoto Memorial Taonga awarded on Monday night goes to a worthy recipient. It is wonderful to see their mahi recognised.

We also acknowledge and celebrate Kā Taoka I Tuku Iho, a rangatahi-led initiative in Murihiku, who was a finalist in this category. For such a new rōpū, to make the finalist list is an incredible achievement.

Mana Tāne

Following on from the successful Mana Tāne wānanga in Te Tauihu last year, Whānau Ora Navigators and Tū Pono Connectors from the south gathered at the beautiful Te Rau Aroha Marae in Motupōhue Bluff earlier this month to connect, share their knowledge and learn.

The Mana Tāne kaupapa is regionally led, and each wānanga is planned by Navigators themselves, acknowledging that they are the ones who best understand what support might be required at the flax roots.

Fifteen tāne travelled from all parts of Murihiku and Ōtākou for a powerful two days.

On Day 2, an awesome kōrero from Tangaroa Walker from Farm 4 Life resonated with many, and after a digital storytelling session with James Wards of Your Corps, all the tāne were inspired to help whānau and entities find new ways to report on their projects and tell their stories.

We mihi to the tāne who made the journey and our beautiful hosts, Te Rūnaka o Awarua and the whānau of Te Rau Aroha Marae.

Learning together

Earlier this month, kaimahi participated in our third session on the principles of Te Tiriti o Waitangi with Dr Phil Borrell.

Our kaimahi, a collective of Tāngata Whenua and Tāngata Tiriti, are all at various stages of understanding the principles of Te Tiriti o Waitangi, but each journey begins with a willingness to learn, listen, and engage.

By educating ourselves and creating spaces for open kōrero, we strengthen our commitment to these foundational principles. Kaua e wareware, every step, no matter how small, contributes to our collective effort in honouring Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

Co-design workshops

It has been great meeting new faces as part of a series of WAVE and Tai Neke, Tai Ora funding agreement workshops across the motu. We meet with whānau in Waitaha, Ōtepoti, Murihiku, Hokitika, Whakatū and we are happy to report there is an exciting range of new kaupapa in the mix! We wish all of the whānau initiatives well as they continue their journey to realise their dreams and aspirations.

Our Voices Count

Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu will always support a greater voice for tāngata Whaikaha. On Monday, Disability Leadership Canterbury led a hikoi here in Ōtautahi to raise attention to recent funding changes and a review of disability supports without consultation.

Te Whenua Taurikura was used as a safe location to gather prior to the start of the “Our Voices Count” hikoi to Cashel St. We would like to thank all of those who supported the hikoi and who continue to advocate for a sector of our community who are so often and so undeservedly overlooked.

Work with us!

There are still a few more days before applications close for the role of Kaitauwhiro Whānau | Commissioning Advisor. This role sits in our Wai Ora (Commissioning) team. Wai Ora is the commissioning space that invests directly in whānau aspirations and well-being, including Wave funding and sponsorship.

For more information and to apply, see here. Or, have a look here. Applications close this Sunday, June 30, 2024.

Indigenous knowledge

Makaira Waugh, of Tā te Manawa, a WAVE-supported entity, has expanded his reach globally, travelling to Mexico to work with indigenous communities there. The four-month trip, which was supported by a scholarship from Manapou ki te Ao, saw Makaira travel to a pueblo in the mountains to teach workshops on Indigenous language revitalisation through the arts for Ayuujk teacher trainees. Mikaira says the retreat was amazing. “Despite the differences between our cultures and the challenges of facilitating it in Spanish, the participants connected beautifully with the taonga within Tā te Manawa, and I witnessed the beginning of some deep healing. It was wonderful to see other indigenous people respond to this kaupapa in such a profound way, and to be able to make a real difference in people’s lives so far from home.”

Matariki events

It has been amazing to see the huge number of Matariki events our Whānau Ora Partners and entities are involved in!  For a full list of what might be happening in your area, have a look at this Matariki event guide.