Ka tangihia, ka matapōrehutia ngā mate huhua o te wā. Whakawhiti atu rā i te pae o mahara, ā, e oki atu rā. Rātou ki a rātou, tātou ki a tātou. Mauri ora ki a tātou.

E te hākerekere, e ōku rangatira huri taiāwhio i Aotearoa, nāia te mihi kau atu ki a koutou i runga i ngā tini āhuatanga o te wā. Tēnā rā tātou katoa.

The storms and flooding we experienced earlier this month caused huge problems for whānau across Te Waipounamu, particularly here in Ōtautahi. The comfort of being around whānau often gets people through trying times like these. If there are any whānau needing support or advice, please ring the team at He Oranga Pounamu on 0800 KAI TAHU.

Next month will incorporate a very significant moment in the history of Aotearoa, particularly here in Te Waipounamu. As I write, our Te Tau Ihu relations are awaiting the final reading of the Te Tau Ihu Claims Settlement Bill. This Bill will give effect to the Deeds of Settlements between the Crown and the eight iwi in Te Tau Ihu namely Ngāti Apa ki te Rā Tō, Ngāti Kuia, Rangitāne o Wairau, Ngāti Koata, Ngāti Rārua, Ngāti Tama ki Te Tau Ihu, Te Ātiawa o Te Waka-a-Māui and Ngāti Toa Rangatira. The Bill’s passing will usher in a new post-settlement era for all the tribes of Te Waipounamu – an era which will provide a platform for iwi to grow and flourish in the top of the south.

Although a treaty settlement is never a true reflection of the losses suffered by an iwi, it will provide a platform that our relations can build upon and move forward to create opportunities for their children and children’s children. Congratulations to Te Tau Ihu – ka nui te mihi kau, ka nui te māriri ki a koutou.

Life often comes with joyous moments and sad moments butted up against each other. While I have been looking forward to the Te Tau Ihu Settlement legislation passing, I also know that there are families in our communities dealing with some very difficult times at the moment. Every now and then, I will be informed of the struggle of those dealing with crime or domestic violence.

I commend the courage of those who refuse to accept violence in their lives. It saddens me to see that our wāhine and tamariki continue to be abused. I too, worry about whānau who find it hard to come forward and stand up against domestic violence. As a people, I encourage us all to actively support each other to strengthen our intolerance for violence by saying – It’s not OK. It is our responsibility to be vigilant and keep ourselves, our whānau, our tamariki and our communities safe from violence. Let us stand with our brave victims to assure them we too are on this journey for a violence-free whānau – a violence-free community.

E Tū Whānau – stand up whānau and ensure that the future for our tamariki and mokopuna will be a safe one.

Mark Solomon 2009

Mark Solomon.