Every six weeks the Healthy Families Hutt Valley team takes some time out from our usual office busyness to connect, build our capability and reflect on our line of sight. Line of sight for us is how the mahi we are doing aligns to our strategic intent of using systems change to increase the wellbeing of all our people.

In February we used this time to connect not just with each other but with our colleagues in the Ministry of Health’s Māori Directorate and with our local whenua, moana and motu.

A local Te Atiawa expert, Ihaia Puketapu, joined us on a visit to Matiu Island in the centre of Te Whanganui a Tara (Wellington harbour). Puketapu carved the waharoa on Matiu Island and shared his wealth of knowledge while guiding our visit. 

Eddie Edmonds, Lead Systems Innovator for the Healthy Families Hutt Valley team who organised the visit said, “Māori believe we are Kaitiaki of the whenua, our tīpuna were before us and our mokopuna will be after us.

“If we do not understand the history of our land, connect with tangata whenua and look back to look forward, my personal opinion is that we will be lost. This is a fundamental line of sight for our mahi and anyone working in NZ, not all would agree but if working with Māori it is Tikanga.”

During the visit, Ihaia shared the korero behind the carvings he created, the stories of different iwi and hapū visiting and living on the island and the impacts of colonisation on the motu. 

“The wealth of knowledge shared, and insights gained from this experience is very hard to explain, the rich history of the whenua and the connection to so many other iwi and hapū. 

“It was fantastic to be able to share this experience with the Māori Directorate in the Ministry of Health as it helped strengthen our relationships and connections.”

Following the visit the team did a reflection session, using our developmental evaluation practices to appreciate and learn from the experience. There were many insights and reflections from the experience:

“There is so much hunger for this knowledge and connection with the whenua.” 

“Understanding the stories and whakapapa of the places that we see every day bring us closer together.”

“We are just at the start of our journey to build our knowledge and capability in Te Ao Māori.”

“We all had a sense of wellbeing through connecting, being outside in our beautiful environment and learning together.”

“We need to constantly question what line of sight means and how we apply this to our mahi to ensure we’re on track to make a difference for our communities.”

The impact of this visit and the relationships built and strengthened will be long lasting. We hope that by sharing our experience we encourage others to reflect on what line of sight means to their team and organisation and how we can build our capability to better serve our communities.

Whakatauki reflected in the waharoa: Kaua e mate wheke, mate ururoa.