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

Update from Murihiku Region

Tēnā koutou katoa from the deep south,

We hope whānau are preparing for the summer. It has been a tough winter here for our steering rōpū. However, spirits are renewing with the change in season and the flowers of spring. We remain optimistic, as the alert levels have decreased surrounding COVID19. We are pleased to see that our DHB have been in a space of re-structure in Māori services, providing the opportunity for all Māori to officially speak into the future of our services. We would like to thank whānau in our Te Kete Pounamu network, as despite this year bringing a new set of challenges, together we have remained united and been reminded that together we are strong.

Spring is well and truly upon us, more fine weather and a sense of joy as people head out now that the elections are done. We are hopeful that Te Kete Pounamu can align ourselves with our continued government and its plans for our people.  As for our steering rōpū ki Murihiku we have been catching up and in the last two meetings we have been putting together our mihi, waiata and karakia to learn.  Special thanks to Hoana who has worked very hard on this to bring our Te Ao Māori to our space.








Left Photo: Whaea Moyra looking at our Mihi and Karakia book we are making

Ngā mihi

Rihari Tekoti
Te Kete Pounamu Regional lead ki Murihiku

Update from Ōtepoti Regional Rōpū

Over alert level 2, our rōpū continued to treat each day with caution, including with the remainder of the meetings we had planned for the rest of this year. Our steering rōpū members have managed to get out and about for a cuppa coffee at one of the local cafes. These catch-ups have provided our members time to talk about one another’s overall wellbeing, separate from mahi commitments. Sue has done a great job communicating with me throughout the weeks to arrange these catch-ups to ensure we remain connected during these times.

Our rōpū are looking forward to the play that we are creating, thanks to some funding from the Mental Health Foundation through the Like Minds, Like Mine community grant we were successful for. Our rōpū are yet to set a date for the play, but once we have decided on a date, this will be released to public in upcoming months.

We have two new whānau Kristine and Merehana who are potentially interested in being part of our Te Kete Pounamu Steering Rōpū. They have been encouraged to attend our next steering rōpū hui to see first-hand whether they think Te Kete Pounamu is something they would like to contribute towards and can also benefit from personally.






The Dunedin Community House in Dunedin at our Regional Hui on the 19th of February 2020. Thanks Kerri and Kelli-Anne









Our Ōtepoti Rōpū at the Royal Albatross Centre and Cafe 10th July 2020


Haki Davis
Te Kete Pounamu Regional Lead ki Ōtepoti

Update from Whakatū

Tēnā koutou,

Here in Whakatū we were excited to implement our first whānau led workshop. Two of our steering rōpū wāhinetoa, Te Aroha Knox and Te Reia Taikato chose to workshop about rongoā Māori. We went to McKee Reserve 16 September 2020 to identify rongoā in the ngahere. Kawakawa and Kopakopa (Plantain) were chosen to make pani. Rau were harvested and the two oils were infused by Tereia and Te Aroha.

Due to weather constraints, the pani was made on the 29th September 2020 following the Te Kete Pounamu ki Whakatū Regional hui at Victory Community Centre. Ka pai to koutou mahi wāhine ma! We believe that doing social activities together outside of Te Kete Pounamu hui will strengthen our bond together.


  • Identify the whakapapa of the rau (leaves)
  • Take the grandparent, to leave the parents to support the babies (new growth)


  • Totally new and thankful for the learning experience

Te Aroha

  • Acknowledge plant – ASK PLANT – can I take you, if it comes away easily YES if not NO
  • Establish relationship – plant will let you know


  • Karakia before entering bush – listen to the bush, bird calls for our permission to enter…
  • Karakia ki ngā atua – ko Papatūānuku, ko Tāne Mahuta
  • Kia tūpato (safety) – kawakawa is a blood thinner so not necessarily appropriate for whānau who are taking blood thinning medication.

Whakamana te tangata, ki te tū rangatira i roto i tō ake mana, mana tuturu, mana motuhake, mana Māori!! –                                                    Sharing our combined knowledge to keep ourselves connected to ourselves – tools to fill our kete of health and wellbeing.

Ngā manaakitanga o te runga rawa e te whānau

Mauri ora e te whānau!







Sheryl Takiari
Te Kete Pounamu Regional Lead ki Whakatū

Regional Lead Update

This year has been a rollercoaster ride of different directions, though we collectively remain focussed on capturing our people’s voices so we can continue to strive towards influencing positive change for Māori. Learning to check in with ourselves and regularly take time to practice our self-care techniques and focus on what keeps ourselves well is equally as important.

After another month of uncertainty throughout our nation and an influx of mixed emotions among our whānau, there have been slightly less regional hui over the last few months. There has been a strong voice among our whānau of the importance in taking the time to slow down and truly focus on our individual wellbeing and providing support to our own whānau during these times of uncertainty.

Our regional leads have continued to remain in close communication with their steering rōpū members about ‘where to from here’. As a collective, Te Kete Pounamu are beginning to think about new and innovative ways to ensure we remain connected with whaiora Māori, irrespective of which alert level we may be in.

The core of who we are as Te Kete Pounamu comes from our whānau voice, so it is vital that we continue to hear their voices to ensure we are heading in the right direction for our people.


Kia Kaha, Kia Toa, Kia Manawanui
Cody Black
Ihomatua Kaiwhakahaere, Te Kete Pounamu
Te Rau Ora


Introducing Aaryn Niuapu – Kaiwhakamana, Te Kete Pounamu

He whatitiri ki te rangi, ko te arawa ki te whenua. Tīhei mauri ora! Ki te taha o tōku māmā, ko Ngāti Whakaue tōku iwi. Ko Marsh tōku whānau. Ki te taha o tōku pāpā, ko Ngāti Hāmoa tōku iwi. ko Niuapu tōku whānau. Turou, turou Hawaiki!

I have lived experience of depression, self-harm, anxiety and substance concerns, accessing mental health services in 2011 & 2012. Over the past decade, my pillars of strength within my recovery journey have been my whānau and te reo me ōna tikanga. I married my teenage sweetheart, Alesha (nee Hulme), and we have two beautiful kids – Hawaiki and Piipiwharauroa.

I have always been pulled towards matters of social justice across the mental health & addictions sector but more specifically, community rangatiratanga and racial justice. In that space and in the political organizing space, I have utilised my own lived experience to facilitate wānanga firmly grounded in the concept of whaioranga (a Kaupapa Māori-Recovery model).

I am honoured and grateful to be in my role within Te Rau Ora as Kaiwhakamana (training and development lead) – Te Kete Pounamu. I have the privilege of leading the rollout and implementation of Te Whare Whaioranga (Māori Recovery College) in the near future as well as the development and delivery of the Level 4 peer support training. In this role, I hope to support the growing capacity and capabilities of the Māori lived experience workforce.


Aaryn Niuapu
Kaiwhakamana, Te Kete Pounamu
Te Rau Ora

Introduction to Te Tai Tokerau Regional Lead

How grateful I am to have been assigned this role to lead Tai Tokerau as the regional lead in forwarding the kōrero for people who live with Mental Health challenges. My name is Tui Taurua and I whakapapa to Waitangi, hence the reason why I live on the Papakainga. My father’s name is Kingi Taurua (the first kaumatua of Te Kete Pounamu) and my mother; Mate Horomoana Ashby. My hapū is Ngāti Rehia, Ngāti Rahiri rāua ko Ngāti Kawa. My iwi Ngāpuhi nui tonu. I have been involved in the tangata whaiora movement for over twenty-five years.

An additional goal given by my father was to set up a safe service for Māori who live with the challenges of Mental Health. This regional role brings me full circle, and I am excited to be in a position to not only further the kōrero of the Taumata but to bring to pass my father’s legacy. More importantly, he added to his counsel, that I was to listen to the people, to identify what they want, and then work towards achieving it.

Inclusive of Te Kete Pounamu, I am on a the National Equally Well, Strategic Leadership Group, identifying overall health issues for Māori. Secondly, I am now on the PHARMAC Community Advisory Body (CAC) being a Māori Mental Health Advisor. Finally, I work in the community doing the Med Run in the evening.

Overall, my professional experiences along with my personal experience of living with a Mental Illness since my first hospitalisation (1977), working in Mental Health starting as a Community Support Worker (1995) continues to direct my path in ensuring the voice of people with lived experience is heard. I used to be invisible, and it’s not a nice place to be. I’m sure there are many with similar experiences. It’s time for you to be heard.

Tui Taurua
Regional Lead ki Te Tai Tokerau

0204 165 9668

Update from Te Whanganui-a-Tara Regional Rōpū

Ngā mihi nui ki ngā tangata katoa.

In July Te Kete Pounamu ki Te Whanganui-a-Tara steering rōpū held its 2nd regional hui for 2020, this time around it was held in Ngāmotu. This was also our first hui held post-rāhui meeting again kanohi ki te kanohi. Our rōpū always seek to ask our whānau in each of the regions we hold hui in; What are the current challenges and what are the aspirations for their particular area in relation to engaging with, accessing or being involved with Mental Health and/or Addiction services. We also decided to check in with whānau and ask what their “new normal” looked like post-rāhui and what impact this time has had on them.







Unfortunately, we did not have a big turnout in numbers at our Ngāmotu hui, which in itself potentially indicates just how whānau were still feeling post COVID-lockdown. However, we were grateful for the whānau who were able to join us. We were able to have an informative kōrero with them and are excited to announce that we welcomed two new whānau to our regions steering rōpū.

We will continue to do our best in our region to provide a safe space where whānau have the opportunity to have their voices heard and collaboratively work together to affect change for the better.
Kia mau ki te tūmanako, te whakapono me te aroha.

Mauri Ora.

Nicola Clarke
Regional Lead ki Te Whanganui-a-Tara


Update from Ōtepoti Regional Rōpū

Te Kete Pounamu ki Ōtepoti steering rōpū members embarked on a day trip to The Royal Albatross Centre on the Otago Peninsula in Dunedin on the 10 July 2020. Our rōpū had a great time together, connecting outside of mahi and strengthening the relationships within our steering rōpū. Unfortunately, the only Toroa Ingoingo royal albatross, (Diomedea epomophora – a very large oceanic bird with long, narrow wings) we saw were too far away to get a decent photograph. We stopped at McDonalds for a bite beforehand and grabbed a cuppa coffee and biscuit afterwards also. Overall, it was a beautiful day.













The Rangatira in the photograph is Korako Karetai the landowner and Chief of all this area.


Ngā mihi
Haki S Davis
Regional Lead ki Ōtepoti

Introducing the recipient of the Ana Sokratov Scholarship 2020

Jamee’s scholarship application narrated her journey of lived experience of mental distress and fighting the stigma attached to being a young Māori mother living in South Auckland. She has overcome many challenges in a westernised system by imploring and embodying key Māori values and drawing on her connection and support from her tamariki and tūpuna. Jamee is in her third year of law school and once qualified plans to support Māori Rangatahi and young māmās in the South Auckland community.

Tēnā tātou katoa,

Ko Matawhaura tōku maunga
Ko Rotoiti-Kite-a-Īhenga tōku awa
Ko Te Arawa tōku waka
Ko Te Arawa tōku iwi
Ko Ngāti Rongomai me Ngāti Pikiao ngā hapū
Ko Tapuaikura-a-Hatupatu tōku marae
Nō Rotoiti ahau
Ko Arapeta tōku whanau
Ko Jamee Kataraina tōku ingoa

I am a mother and law student in my third year at Auckland University of Technology’s South campus. My journey through law school has been full of challenges, and I can honestly say that I have never grown so much in such a short space of time. Having to step outside of my comfort zone has allowed me to unlock potential that I never knew existed; from there, I have developed and grown every semester.

I moved to Auckland from the Bay of Plenty as a teen mum desperate to continue my education. I knew life had more to offer then what was presented in front of me. I attended Taonga Teen Parent Unit in Clendon, which is where I began my journey of learning, self-discovery and parenthood. This organisation and the people behind it play a huge part in the woman and mother that I am today.

One of my long-term goals is to help other young Māori grow their skills to be able to work confidently in westernised systems without feeling the need to change who they are or feeling like they are not good enough. When I become a qualified lawyer, I want to work with my South Auckland Community and provide opportunities and support for Māori Law students. I would particularly like to inspire and mentor young māmā by working closely with the South Auckland Teen Parent Unit, where I was once a student.

I have worked so hard against the odds to get this far. Fighting statistics and the stigma that comes with being a Māori teenage parent living in South Auckland. Though these experiences, I have naturally acquired the attributes needed to help me succeed this year and throughout the rest of my degree. I found that the first key to success is believing in myself, which has been an emotional journey on its own.

I believe that anyone who has been through the struggle has the resilience and skill set needed to overcome any boundary they might face; they just need to be shown how and have someone who believes in them to support them along the way.