It has been a very busy and positive month for me. I attended the World Indigenous Network Conference in Darwin, Australia at the end of May. The conference brought together indigenous peoples from around the globe to talk about resource management.

It is inspiring when you have all these different indigenous peoples in one room, networking, sharing their values, their tikanga, their colourful lives. We have a lot of similarities, particularly the recognition of kaitiakitanga responsibilities. We shared with each other our strategies on how we work with governments, form partnerships and enhance our ability to manage natural environments. We all share a common interest, which is our tamariki, our future leaders.

The delegates explored the idea of sharing knowledge by way of an exchange programme. This will give the opportunity for young indigenous people to visit other indigenous communities, focusing on what people are doing in their communities. I can see many benefits in this programme for our young people, which will support them in their endeavours to work in the environmental sector.

Matapura Ellison and Kara Edwards were on this trip and we were very privileged to be able to visit Kakadu National Park. It has the most stunning scenery. We visited many significant sites and caves with the most beautiful Aboriginal rock art.

I really enjoyed the kōrero given about art work and the techniques used. The park is owned by the local Aboriginal people and they co-manage the park with the Australian government. I look forward to continuing the relationships that we formed with many indigenous groups, their leaders and advisers.

Back home we had a few significant events. As a tribe we celebrated the opening of Hākuiao, the new wharekai at Ōtākou Marae. Our Ōtākou cousins are blessed to have a very impressive building with spectacular views. The opening was attended by many and I would like to congratulate Ōtākou for an awesome day.

A few days later the Ngāi Tahu Reo Māori awards were held at Ōtākou Marae so the wharekai was well and truly put to good use. I congratulate our reo Māori champions who have been continuously promoting the revitalisation of our language at a rūnanga level and across the iwi. Congratulations to Tahu Pōtiki who received the Aoraki Matatū award for his lifetime commitment to Kāi Tahu reo and to the Kotahi Mano Kāika team for organising an awesome evening. Koia kei a koutou mō te manaaki takata.

As a sign we are moving into a post-earthquake recovery mode, Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu agreed to dis-establish Te Awheawhe Rū Whenua (TARW) as a committee of Te Rūnanga. TARW was established in April 2011 and was governed by the representatives from Rāpaki, Koukourārata, Taumutu, Ōnuku and Tuahiwi. They have had a huge responsibility in the response, recovery and rebuild and working closely with CERA and the Christchurch City Council. I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge Wally Stone and Elizabeth Cunningham, who both chaired the committee and a special acknowledgement to Rakiihia Tau Jnr and the office staff who provided support to TARW.

Lastly, I would like to thank you all for your aroha, support and acknowledgements since my knighthood was announced. Maria and I have been blown away and humbled by all the messages of congratulations. As a whānau we did enjoy the formal ceremony at Government House but the highlight for me and my whānau was undoubtedly the event hosted at Takahanga the following day.

A special thanks and mihi to the staff of Te Rūnanga, Karl Russell and the Kaikōura whānau for the hard work put in to make the celebration at Takahanga a success and to all those who attended. E kore rawa e māhiti te puna aroha, te puna whakamihi. Nāia māua ko Lady Maria e mihi kau ana, e uruhau ana, ka nui te māriri ki a koutou. Mauri ora ki a tātou.