Ngāi Tahu Pounamu and Child Cancer Foundation strengthen partnership

Child Cancer Foundation (CCF) Chief Executive Robyn Kiddle and Executive Director of Ngāi Tahu Pounamu Francois Tumahai, signed a Memorandum of Understanding in Christchurch today which builds on the relationship the two organisations have enjoyed since 2015. Looking on is 12 year-old Caleb Wright, National Child Cancer Foundation Ambassador surrounded by his whānau. From left to right: Noah, Isla Martin (Learning Assistant), Caleb, Jeremy, Jenny and Brooke.

Ngāi Tahu Pounamu Ltd. and the Child Cancer Foundation have signed a Memorandum of Understanding today which builds on the relationship the two organisations have enjoyed since 2015.

Ngāi Tahu Pounamu produces hand-made pounamu beads for the Beads of Courage® programme offered by the Child Cancer Foundation.

The pounamu bead is the first Bead of Courage® a child receives when they are diagnosed with cancer. Each bead represents a treatment, an experience or milestone which occurs while they receive treatment.

Ngāi Tahu Pounamu has increased the number of beads it donates to the foundation from 200 to 300 a year. The organisation will also donate several unique pounamu art pieces for auction at various Child Cancer Foundation events to help raise funds.

Three children are diagnosed with cancer every week in New Zealand. Child Cancer Foundation supports children diagnosed with cancer and their families. In order to carry out this important work, the foundation needs to raise $6m each year.

A number of the pounamu art pieces will be auctioned at the foundation’s upcoming Sparkle for Hope Ball & Gala Dinner on 10 August. One of the items expected to generate a lot of interest is a sculpture named Waitaiki, known to Ngāi Tahu as the mother source of all pounamu. Waitaiki is the work of Ngāti Waewae carver Turi Gibbs and is carved from a stunning piece of Kawakawa pounamu resting on a piece of natural driftwood.

“Pounamu is a taonga of great spiritual and cultural significance to Ngāi Tahu,” says Francois Tumahai, Executive Director of Ngāi Tahu Pounamu. We know that the beads are treasured and provide encouragement to each child and their family. We hope the art pieces will also help the foundation raise much-needed funds.

“This agreement deepens our commitment and helps formalise our partnership with the Child Cancer Foundation. We’re looking forward to a long and meaningful relationship which will support the foundation in their endeavours to help children and their whānau.”

Child Cancer Foundation Chief Executive Robyn Kiddle says the MoU represents a wonderful opportunity for the foundation and Ngāi Tahu Pounamu to take their existing relationship to a new level and work more closely together for the benefit of children living with cancer in New Zealand

Each bead and artwork produced by Ngāi Tahu Pounamu features a unique authentication code which guarantees its authenticity under the Ngāi Tahu Pounamu Authentication Scheme. The authentication code allows the owner to trace who carved it and ensures the bead is genuine and legally sourced pounamu from Te Waipounamu.

Francois and Robyn signed the MoU during a ceremony held at Child Cancer Foundation’s Family Place in Christchurch. Representatives from Ngāi Tahu Pounamu, Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Waewae, Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu and the Child Cancer Foundation were in attendance.

In a separate presentation leading up to the MoU, Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu Kaiwhakahaere Lisa Tumahai presented a pounamu bead to 12 year-old Caleb Wright who also attended the signing with his whānau. Caleb was diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2016. He has undergone numerous procedures and became a National Child Cancer Foundation Ambassador in 2019.