Kia ora whānau, over the past month the office staff have been busy organising the printing and distribution of the annual report. By now everybody should have a copy of this document, received either electronically or in hard copy. If you have not received one and would like to, they can be downloaded from the Ngāi Tahu website or alternatively please contact the office for a hard copy.

If you have enjoyed a birthday in the last month or have new additions to your whānau congratulations and very best wishes for the year ahead.

We are now at the end of a very eventful year for the rūnaka.

Throughout the year, we hosted several schools at Takutai o Te Tītī Marae as well as the Enviroschools programme at Te Kōawa Tūroa o Takitimu. We also supported several tamariki to further their sporting and academic aspirations.

Takutai o Te Tītī Marae was also the venue for a schools Kī-o-Rahi competition. On seeing the interest this competition generated, we purchased a number of Kī-o-Rahi sets and distributed them to the schools in our rohe. A further tournament was planned for November but was sadly cancelled due to the weather.

Once again we made several working trips to Rarotoka, where progress is being made with the plantings and maintenance of the houses and outbuildings. We also ran the kanakana monitoring programme. But unfortunately the reddening syndrome that is affecting our precious taonga remains a mystery. A hardy group of whānau and volunteers continue to support both these really important projects.

In May, the painstaking process of Orca kōiwi retrieval began. It was a very long and drawn-out procedure, and because this was such a delicate and methodical operation there was no way of rushing it. Yet again, a small group of whānau stepped up and worked many hours often into darkness to ensure this part of the process was completed.

In July, we welcomed the appointment of Riki Dallas as kaihautū of the rūnaka. Aside from the day-to-day mahi, Riki has immersed himself in all of the rūnaka projects and activities. Meeting key people and sitting in on hui has helped fast track his understanding of the diversity of our organisation.

One of the major challenges facing us is how we can better connect and engage with our rakatahi.

As you already know the mahi of the rūnaka is varied and there is something that is surely of interest to everybody. If you or your whānau would like to play a more active part in the rūnaka in 2016 in a voluntary capacity, or if you feel the need to make more of a connection, then we would like to hear from you.

Finally, a big thanks you to all of the volunteers who have contributed to the mahi of the rūnaka over the last year. Your presence is vital to our existence.
The successes of the various projects both on-going and new, is testament to your dedication and commitment to Ōraka Aparima whānau. Nā tō rourou, nā taku rourou ka ora ai te iwi.

This is a time for us to reflect on the past year and enjoy time with our whānau.Merry Kirihimete to all our members, whānau and friends from the executive and staff. Have a joyful and safe Christmas and a Happy New Year.