The rising of Puanga in Te Taitokerau heralds the beginning of the Māori lunar calendar. Iwi across the country make their own respective recognitions of the various heralds for Matariki. Traditionally, Matariki is a time to gather. A time to celebrate new life and remember those that have passed on. A time of feasts and the reveling in the crops of the past year. A time to sing waiata and play games with whānau and friends. A time for reflection and contemplation on the past year.

Reflection can be difficult, and confronting. One key teaching from the past year is what can be achieved when it is done together. Our ability to rally and look out for one another is strong now than ever before. Communities across Aotearoa have rallied in response to pandemic, to assaults on our freedoms and livelihoods, and we have continued to show our inner resolve and look out for our most defenseless.

Healthy Families Far North recognises the endeavors of each and every member of the community and the countless selfless acts that make the Far North a special place. The recent Queen’s Birthday Honours highlighted that the North has the highest rate of volunteering in Aotearoa. On average (approx.) 37 per cent of the adult population volunteer for about four hours per week, according to Volunteer Northland. Rather than to receive recognition it is done for the enjoyment of giving back.

Nā reira, use this time during Puanga to re-set, re-invigorate and re-energise for the year ahead – muster the rōpū for that next community project; get the Mums and Dads together to plan the next season of tamariki sports; prepare the seeds to sow in anticipation for the next season. Kia kaha tātou.

Mauri ora ki a tātou katoa
Healthy Families Far North Team