Waitomo Papakāinga Development Society whānau were already in a celebratory mood when they found out that they’d won the inaugural E Tū Whānau Ann Dysart Kahukura Award.
One of 11 kahukura finalists, Waitomo Papakāinga was honoured for creating hope and changing lives at an award ceremony held at Waiwhetu Marae, Lower Hutt on the evening of June 14, 2022. The joyous event was shared online with finalists and other whānau throughout Aotearoa.
In Kaitaia, Waitomo Papakāinga staff, whānau and supporters had gathered for a ‘dressed up’ five course dinner to celebrate being finalists in the Award, to raise funds for a local school, and to watch the live feed of the ceremony.
When roving presenter, Te Kahu Rolleston, walked in with their taonga, they were jubilant.
“It’s the beginning of Matariki. We wanted to enjoy each other’s company, mihi to ourselves for all our hard work over the last year, and remember our friend, Ann Dysart for the ground-breaking work she did to establish E Tū Whānau,” said Waitomo Papakāinga Chief Executive, Katie Murray.
“Being a finalist was enough for us. Winning was the icing on the cake.”
Katie Murray says that, despite positive changes in the way government agencies engaged with Māori since E Tū Whānau was established 16 years ago, it’s still the only Māori strategy firmly focused on the elimination of whānau violence.
“E Tū Whānau is the shining light for others to follow. I don’t think that will change because the E Tū Whānau values are the foundation for any strategy to uplift whānau and eliminate violence from our lives.”Katie Murray
Waitomo Papakāinga deliver for whānau over the long-term
For the last 30 years, Waitomo Papakāinga kaimahi have been using a Te Ao Māori approach to meet the diverse needs of their hapori. Their mahi includes providing homeless whānau with emergency shelter and whānau experiencing financial hardship with food parcels. They offer short-term financial mentoring and assistance as well as supporting those engaged in the justice system. Significantly, after years of lobbying and educating politicians and officials, the family-centred powerhouse of whānau and community development became the first non-iwi Māori organisation to sign an agreement with Oranga Tamariki. This agreement allows its social workers to place tamariki who need care with safe whānau.
Katie Murray has been prominent in the iwi-wide struggle to keep tamariki Māori within whānau and the communities into which they’re born. She was involved in the establishment of the E Tū Whānau movement and was an original and long-time member of the Ministry of Social Development’s Māori Reference Group. Katie has received multiple awards, including the New Zealand Order of Merit, for her service to Māori and the community.
In another ground-breaking move, in collaboration with whanaunga organisation Te Kahu Oranga, Waitomo Papakāinga recently opened the first social supermarket in Te Tai Tokerau. For a small fee, whānau can choose groceries from a wide selection of food and essentials items instead of collecting a pre-selected food parcel.
E Tū Whānau Ann Dysart Kahukura Award finalists were all outstanding
Some are individuals but most are community organisations and family groups who have been recognised for their achievements as collectives. Some of the finalists work primarily with whānau Māori while others with migrants and former refugees. All display outstanding grassroots leadership by working over the long-term to unite whānau and transform communities. You can read more about each finalist here.
All finalists for the E Tū Whānau Ann Dysart Kahukura Award were chosen for their outstanding grassroots leadership and for working collectively over the long-term to unite whānau and transform communities.
“E Tū Whānau has worked alongside each and every one of these extraordinary kahukura for years,” says E Tū Whānau Kaiwhakahaere, Heni Turner.
“They are visionaries. Through their determination and belief in the strength and power of whānau within their communities, they have changed and enriched people’s lives.”Heni Turner
Kahukura – an inspirational manu
The term ‘kahukura’ was gifted to E Tū Whānau by kaumātua at the Iwi Chairs’ Forum in 2011. It describes the lead bird in a swirling mass of Kuaka (Bar-tailed Godwits) that provides the impetus for movement and change. As kahukura move, they gather their group around them and, in doing so, other leaders emerge.
Learn more about the kahukura concept and its role in ETW kaupapa
Watch the livestream recording of the E Tū Whānau Kahukura Award 2022