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Whanaungatanga is one of five core values that underpin Māori leadership, so it is natural that in the absence of kanohi ki te kanohi hui, we transitioned into a virtual space once again to continue to build and develop relationships with whānau across Aotearoa.

The desire to connect and awhi comes naturally to Māori, especially when experiencing times of uncertainty or distress. There was no exception to this when we were informed on the return of COVID19 response levels. On Thursday 13 August, whānau from across the motu connected in for the Te Kete Pounamu ‘Kotahitanga’ Zoom hui – this was the beginning of what is an incredibly inspiring and beautiful space. It has also helped substitute for regional hui as we are currently hosting less due to the COVID19 restrictions. Although ‘Kotahitanga’ is different through a virtual setting, whānau are still able to come together and continue to make a difference in strengthening the voice of Māori with lived experience.

The ‘Kotahitanga’ platform provides us with an opportunity to share, kōrero, listen, and to just ‘be’ in a safe space. Over recent weeks, this space has grown, not just in terms of numbers, but in strength as well. We have had wānanga facilitated by Terri Cassidy, Aaryn Niuapu, and Kerri Butler as well as conversation-based hui, which whānau have led and directed. These conversations have led to enhanced connections, informal inter-regional peer-support, and the development of resources to support others.

Although COVID has been disruptive and altered the ways of our day to day life, it has provided us with an opportunity to slow down, reflect, and reconnect. I have found that ‘Kotahitanga’ not only invites this opportunity but enhances it. Each week there is a time for me to ground myself and be amongst the special wairua created when people come together – I encourage you to come and be a part of it as well!

Nāu te rourou, nāku te rourou, ka ora ai te iwi.

With your food basket and my food basket, the people will thrive.









Kotahitanga Zoom: Thursday 27 August. Terri Cassidy facilitated the space and introduced the new PC framework as well as opened a discussion around the three treaty principles: partnership, participation, and protection.








Kotahitanga Zoom: Thursday 10 September. David from Ōtepoti directed the conversation and initiated kōrero around self-care and seeing what coping strategies whānau use. It became a space for people to share and take away new ideas. In response to this, we developed the resource above and shared it on our platforms so that whānau across the motu could add these to their kete as well.










Kotahitanga Zoom: Thursday 17 September. Wānanga facilitated by Aaryn Niuapu for ‘Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori.’


Georgia Butler
Kairuruku, Te Kete Pounamu
Te Rau Ora