Courage and aroha recognised

Two inspiring whānau have been named as joint-recipients of the inaugural E Tū Whānau Tohu a Maui section of this year’s Te Taiwhenua o Heretaunga Matariki Living Taonga Awards.  They are the Hokianga Whānau of Flaxmere and the Ferguson-Ngawaka Whānau from Hastings.  The awards are to be held at Lindisfarne College in Hastings on June 12.

Thompson and Alayna Hokianga and their whānau

The E Tū Whānau Tohu a Maui award, which acknowledges families who demonstrate strength, courage, integrity and aroha in their daily lives, is one of 11 awards to be presented at this year’s event.  Joint awards have been made in several categories.

Kaupapa Māori-based after-school care

Thompson and Alayna Hokianga founded Te Aka Charitable Trust, providing Māori development support including a kaupapa Māori-based after-school programme.  They have won Oscar (after-school programme) awards for Most Outstanding Programme, Family Award and Individual Award.

Thompson is a ta moko artist and art-design consultant for the Hastings District and Hawkes Bay Regional Councils.  Their children are part of Te Tira Manukua o Te Aka, surrounded by constructive activities that will steer them in the right direction in life.

Supporting inmates in Half-Iron Māori event

Julie and Faryn were part of a small group who worked with some inmates at Hawkes Bay Prison to enable them to complete the Half-Iron Māori in 2013.  They dedicated a year to training the young lads, giving them something positive in their lives to help them back on track.  These inmates completed the event and were inspired to continue with their new, healthy lifestyles, which changed their whole outlook on life.

Julie and Faryn have two teenagers, Trey and Taryn.  They are a close family unit and excellent role models for other families.  They live a healthy lifestyle, active as a family and encouraging others to do the same.  Julie works for Te Taiwhenua o Heretaunga as an HR advisor.  She has represented NZ in rugby, has completed the Taupo Iron Man event and is a player coach for her daughter’s team.  Faryn works for Te Kupenga Hauora as a lifestyle coach.

Leaders in their communities

Te Taiwhenua o Heretaunga spokesperson Marei Apatu said that while it’s common in today’s world to focus on those performing and achieving at elite levels of their particular endeavours, it’s important to recognise that there are many other amazing people who succeed in other ways – by striving, leading, serving and contributing vitally to the wellbeing of others.

“That is what the Matariki Living Taonga Awards are all about.  Synonymous with the Pleiades stars and the Māori New Year – a time to reflect on the past and plan for the future – they are an opportunity to pay tribute to those who have been put forward by their communities for special acknowledgement as stars of a different kind,” he said.

Guest of honour Governor-General Sir Jerry Mateparae, will make the first-ever formal acknowledgement of Ngāti Kahungunu ki Heretaunga Returned Services veterans during this Friday’s celebration.  Te Taiwhenua o Heretaunga stages the MLT awards every three years.  All nominations come from the community and an independent panel of judges select those to receive the awards.