PSS CEO John Prendergast, Cultural Advisor Louise Fowler and Trust Board Chairman Tim Loan. by PSS

Leading the way in cultural development

On Wednesday the 25th of July, the National Cultural Policy, ‘Te Patikitiki o Kotahitanga PSS National Engagement with Tangata Whenua,’ was handed over to PSS CEO, John Prendergast and Trust Board Chairman, Tim Loan. This policy is a strategy for cultural development across Presbyterian Support nationwide.

Presbyterian Support Southland are committed to honouring the Treaty of Waitangi and their development as a bicultural service provider to families and the elderly in Murihiku, and Family Works in particular, already has a strong cultural identity within the staff.

Every morning the team starts their day with karakia and waiata with Henry Johnson (Rusty). 

“He likes coming and starting his day with us,” Family Works Director Judith McInerney says, “and we love having him. It’s a nice relationship.”

At the mihi whakatau for John Prendergast, Rusty sung waiata and karakia with the staff. He also was part of the PSS Matariki celebrations.

“It’s really good to see an organisation other than Māori that have karakia every day,” Rusty says. “A lady said to me one morning, when I come and do the karakia it just starts her day off right. It does for me too, I really enjoy it.”

Presbyterian Support Southland staff are also currently working on a Tukutuku panel for their upcoming centenary. The designs were explained at the Cultural Policy launch by Tania Sutton of Peacehaven, who is working with staff to design and complete the panel.

“The sixteen boxes represent places that our older people and our children and young people, have lived, in residential settings,” Tania says. "The team plan to visit each of these places and collect something small to weave into the respective boxes to bring in the wairua of each place."