Whānau Ora Symposium 2019

It was exciting to look forward to and prepare for another Whānau Ora Symposium – our third that Hei Whakapiki Mauri has been involved in.


It was very cool to have it in Ōtautahi this year. Absolute congratulations go to Te Pūtahitanga O Te Waipounamu on reaching five years of a commissioning approach to Whānau Ora.

There are now 170 entities that they have resourced and over 50 Whānau Ora Navigators supporting whānau within this rohe. We are blessed to be one of these and to be fully included under the korowai of Te Pūtahitanga.

I am aware as I write this of the sacrifices made to build the story of Whānau Ora. At this time I especially think of Tariana Turia. Just ten days after being at the symposium, her beloved husband George passed away. As she said, “he’s my toka tumoana, my rock”. We mihi to her and her whānau and share their grief.

The kaupapa of this symposium was Pūao Te Rā – Uramai Te Rā, which provides us with the whakataukī “as the dawn breaks the sun breaks through, giving light to opportunity; giving light to hope”.

These beautiful kupu are relevant especially over the last months, when Ōtautahi has again been tested along with the Muslim community. These kupu are also relevant to our disability community and the commitment that Hei Whakapiki Mauri make to whānau, especially to those who have recently acquired impairment.

The video highlights provide a wonderful overview of the three days. From my perspective, the symposium helps us to be exactly what we promote – the ability and capacity to be Māori first. Te Pūtahitanga and Moko Whiti assist us beautifully to do so in their generosity and manaaki to be fully included.

The first day for us was the busiest with both our workshop presentation and our stall at the Māori night market. Click here for our PowerPoint presentation. We provided a short overview and history of Hei Whakapiki Mauri, focusing on our values and what makes us a whānau. Our Hei Whakapiki Mauri whānau followed beautifully with their connections to our Whānau Ora entity.

The Māori night market followed later that afternoon. Our stall gave us the opportunity to showcase beautiful taonga and crafts made by several whānau members, and raise our profile and ultimately that of disabled Māori. This was our first stall and while we have much to learn we were pleased with how we were received and again our inclusion within Whānau Ora as a regular entity.

The speakers at the symposium were so inspirational. I especially enjoyed the speeches from the young people – Tamatha Paul, Ezekiel Tamaana Raui, and Sonny Ngatai. In particular the beautiful Tamatha just because she was so real and spoke from the heart, which provided the ultimate connection with the audience.

Hei Whakapiki Mauri looks forward to the next symposium in Ōtepoti – and we have already been told by our whānau to start planning!