Each year Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu holds a symposium to celebrate, learn and share the collective stories of Whānau Ora across Te Waipounamu

It provides a space to reconnect with one another, strengthen relationships, and above all to remind ourselves of the why behind Whānau Ora — seeing our whānau and communities thrive.

South Island Whānau Ora Commissioning Agency postpones conference due to Covid-19

Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu is postponing its annual symposium which was to have taken place in Ōtepoti (Dunedin) at the end of this month (25 – 27 March 2020).

Around 350 people were due to attend the symposium which was being held at The Dunedin Centre.

The organisation’s Pouārahi, Helen Leahy says they have made the decision to postpone the conference due to the concerns around coronavirus.

“While the symposium is always an awesome celebration of Whānau Ora and the real difference it is making, postponing it was an easy decision for us to make as we always put the health and wellbeing of whānau first.”

“With people coming to the symposium from all over New Zealand, and overseas, we don’t want to risk being a source of Covid-19’s spread. We also want to ensure our people, particularly our Whānau Ora Navigators can remain on the ground supporting whānau to keep safe, strong and well.”

Canterbury Medical Officer of Health Dr Ramon Pink says he supports the decision.

“Whānau Ora is about family wellness. It’s imperative that Te Pūtahitanga do all they can to support whānau to be well.

“It’s a big decision to postpone, but in their case, it’s the right one.”

Helen Leahy says Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu will be working to remind whānau of ways to build resilience in coming days.

“We’ll focus on how we can all strengthen our immune system and reinforce healthy and positive mental wellbeing.  This is about keeping all our homes safe, living without fear and being self-sufficient.”

A final decision about the 2020 symposium for Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu will be made in spring.