News and stories / Mokopuna are our aroha in action

03 March 2024

15 years after it was first released, the enduring messages of ‘Aroha in action’ continue to resonate with communities. A resource focused on keeping mokopuna safe, ‘Aroha in action’ has been updated just in time for Te Rā o Ngā Tamariki – Children’s Day.

With the aim of ensuring all mokopuna thrive in safe and nurturing environments, this resource was developed by a community who wanted to not just talk about aroha, but to see it in action.

In 2009, Amokura Family Violence Prevention Consortium in Te Tai Tokerau teamed up with SKIP (now Tākai) and the Campaign for Action on Family Violence. This partnership led to the creation of the original booklet, with a focus on practical actions everyone can take to keep mokopuna safe. 

Original author, Di Grennell MNZM, says the intention was to offer starting points to support whānau conversations. Though delivered in simple whānau-friendly language, big ideas sit underneath it. Di explains that it’s about “reframing the way that we see the place of mokopuna in our lives”.

“How do we build those environments of shelter and care around mokopuna from the start, with those levels of awareness, rather than waiting until we see somebody doing something that seems extreme and then go, oh that shouldn't happen, why is that happening?

“It's the re-indigenising of our thinking around mokopuna spaces, in the interests of their safety and wellbeing. It recreates, in a broader sense, that whole understanding of collective responsibility and collective contribution to that wellbeing.”

Created by whānau and hapori

Involving whānau, , iwi, and communities in the creation of the original ‘Aroha in action’ resource was key to increasing conversations around topics that can be tricky to have. It also enabled whānau to recognise themselves in the

The response was really positive, because it looked and felt like us.

Di Grennell MNZM

The pukapuka is grounded in te ao Māori parenting concepts with messages such as mokopuna are , pēpi can’t be naughty and violence is not

“One of the first imperatives is to dispel the illusion that violence is normal, and that it’s tikanga,” Di explains.  

A lasting legacy

Di has worked with Tākai on the latest iteration of ‘Aroha in action’ and continues to see the value this rauemi offers community. Though developed 15 years ago, there is continued relevance of the messages promoting mokopuna wellbeing and safety.

The longevity of it speaks to the original design process and the incorporation of valuable feedback from whānau and those who support them.

“I think it’s also accessible because it’s not a lot of 'don’t do this, don’t do that.’”

The beautiful new design is based on the ‘Ahakoa he iti, he pounamu’ meaning ‘Although small, it is precious like greenstone.’ The pukapuka weaves together elements of pounamu and taonga recognising that all mokopuna are taonga – our greatest treasure.

“There would be no shame or in having this in your house or in your hand, or people seeing you with it,” says Di. 

Growing out of the collective mahi of the Te Tai Tokerau community, which continues to this day, the kaupapa now has a reach right across Aotearoa.

Order the new pukapuka

To celebrate Te Rā o Ngā Tamariki – Children’s Day 2024 and the kaupapa of the day ‘He taonga te tamaiti – children are our greatest treasure’ the new pukapuka is now available to order for free.

Order the ‘Aroha in action’ resource