Much-anticipated Whanau Ora symposium returns

Up to 500 people are attending a symposium in Dunedin this week to celebrate the work done by Whanau Ora to support Maori whanau and communities.

Among the many visitors to the city for the event are Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Whanau Ora Minister Peeni Henare.

Peeni Henare
Peeni Henare
The annual three-day Whanau Ora Annual Symposium, hosted by Te Putahitanga o Te Waipounamu and mana whenua Te Runanga o Otakou, will begin with a powhiri in the Glenroy Auditorium today.

It returns after last year’s event was cancelled due to Covid-19, albeit, without international speakers this time around.

Te Putahitanga o Te Waipounamu chief executive Helen Leahy said the annual event was always highly anticipated among the Whanau Ora community in Te Waipounamu.

It was the highlight of their events calendar.

"It is an opportunity to celebrate the incredible work done throughout the year in the Whanau Ora space, to reconnect with one another, strengthen relationships, and above all to remind ourselves of the why behind Whanau Ora — seeing our whanau and communities thrive."

It also celebrates the individuals and whanau who successfully applied for funding to create initiatives that offer financial stability for them, and in many cases, employment and wellbeing opportunities for their whanau and wider community.

The packed schedule includes speeches from about 12 speakers, workshops, a Maori Enterprise Night Market at Forsyth Barr Stadium tonight, and a gala dinner in the Dunedin Town Hall tomorrow.

The symposium is a ticketed event, but the public will be able to livestream the speeches on the Te Putahitanga o Te Waipounamu website.

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