Over the past few weeks, I have enjoyed catching up with many of you at the Ngāi Tahu Roadshows. The purpose of roadshows is to discuss, share, and receive feedback on the current direction of Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu and how this fits with Ngāi Tahu 2025 and Papatipu Rūnanga aspirations. To date we have visited whānau in Waitaha, Tāmaki Makaurau, Te Tairāwhiti, Te Whanganui-a-Tara and Ōtepoti. There has been a good turnout at each hui and whānau have been asking some really good questions and providing useful feedback, particularly on how and where we focus our efforts to lift wellbeing and enhance the connections between all of us. We look forward to the last two hui in Hokitika and Invercargill.

Another enjoyable in hui in recent weeks was a special breakfast that Te Rūnanga attended with our He Toki ki te Rika partners, Hawkins and CPIT. He Toki is the iwi-led Māori trades training programme in Christchurch, which aims to upskill our people and position them to take on leadership roles in the rebuild. The breakfast was an opportunity to talk to potential employers about the programme and our aspirations for graduates.

Recently we hosted a hui with Te Tau Ihu iwi chairs to discuss the idea of forming a forum for Te Waipounamu iwi. The hui was well received and it was agreed to name the forum, Te Waka a Māui Iwi Chairs Forum. The purpose of the forum is to promote whanaungatanga, rangatiratanga and manaakitanga; to share information and expertise; to have a collective political voice to influence the Crown on matters of common concern; and to seek common ground and consensus but not to undermine the mana of each iwi to determine their own respective position or strategy on any matter.

The forum will meet quarterly and where possible, meetings will be held leading up to the National Iwi Chairs Forum. I look forward to working closely with Te Tau Ihu iwi and advancing and progressing our relationships.

Te Rūnanga o Arowhenua will be hosting Hui-ā-Tau this year. The date is Saturday 23 November, please lock this in your diaries and calendars. A friendly reminder that Hui-ā-Tau is a one-day event held every two years and Hui-ā-Iwi is a three-day festival held every other year. More information about this year’s Hui-ā-Tau can be found on page 31.

Ngā mihi,