Ngā mate o ngā rūnanga haere, haere, haere atu rā. To the whānau who have lost a loved one, Waihōpai sends its condolences and deepest sympathies to you all. Aroha nui.

To all the people who have, or are having birthdays, have a great day – or, we hope you had a great day; and to all the new mums and dads congratulations on bringing new joy into your lives. Aroha nui to you all.

There’s been lots happening down here in the south. We have been busy on and off the marae. One thing that has captured the imagination is Joanne Pera’s Thursday roast meals. With the help of the marae cooks and whānau, they have become a roaring success. Well done team. Watch this space because there’s more to come from Joanne.

One major thing that happened for us was winning the Arts Access Aotearoa Award for our work in the prison. These annual awards celebrate the achievements of individuals, community groups, and organisations, providing opportunities for people with limited access to engage with the arts, as artists and audience members.

They also recognise the outstanding achievements and contributions of a disabled artist. So a huge thank you to Arts Access Aotearoa and the Department of Corrections.

To the team that does this mahi, thank you for your dedication and commitment over the last 19 years, and for upholding the mana of the tikanga programme on the marae and later in the prisons.

We couldn’t have done it without the great support from the prison and staff, probation, Department of Corrections staff and the many helpers over the years.

Thanks to the current tikanga team of kaumātua Mhari Baty and Cyril Gilroy (both Ngāi Tahu), kaumātua and facilitator Peter Biddle and Philomena Shelford, facilitator and the team’s project manager, organiser. And thank you to all the rūnaka and people who have emailed, sent cards and congratulated us. Awesome.

Kia ora whānau, make someone’s day by giving them a hug, a smile, a kiss – and very importantly, laugh a lot.
Ka kite anō. Squirrel on the Hill.

From left; Mhari Baty, Cyril Gilroy, Peter Biddle and Philomena Shelford.

From left; Mhari Baty, Cyril Gilroy, Peter Biddle and Philomena Shelford.