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Launch Of 'Atawhaingia Te Pa Harakeke

Hon Tariana Turia Speech Notes

Launch Of 'Atawhaingia Te Pa Harakeke: Nurture The Family', Terenga Paraoa Marae, Whangarei


Tena koutou katoa


Today, as an uri of Whanganui, Nga Rauru, Ngati Apa and Tuwharetoa, I am honoured to be here with you all to celebrate the launch of ‘Atawhaingia Te Pa Harakeke: Nurture the Family’ and Te Komako, the new Maori training and support unit within Early Childhood Development.

I also speak as an advocate of the right of whanau, hapu and iwi to determine and control their own future and the future of their whakapapa.

Maori have been besieged over the past year by the media as a people that have the propensity for violence.

I am concerned this misrepresentation has tainted our belief in our ability to cherish, honour and care for each other.

I am concerned about the increasing number of young single Maori mothers who tell me that they are scared that they, as Maori mothers of Maori children, are targeted as being ‘at risk’ and raising children who will be ‘at risk’.

I am also concerned that Maori males are over-represented at every stage of the Criminal Justice process and that Maori women are increasingly becoming incarcerated.

In a speech to Community Corrections in Rotorua last week I referred to the report by Peter Doone that:

"Criminal Justice data shows that Maori are 3.3 times more likely to be apprehended for a criminal offence than non-Maori. They are more likely to be prosecuted, more likely to be convicted and more likely to be sentenced to imprisonment. While Maori make up 14 percent of the general population, Maori make up 51 percent of the prison population".

These are daunting statistics that must be halted and then reversed - for all people, not just for Maori.

The growing perception is that Maori have more of a propensity to commit acts of violence.

These perceptions breed like a virus that attacks our collective consciousness.

I do not deny the commission of acts of violence.

However, we need to be less concerned with attributing blame and more concerned with understanding the contributory factors that causes these acts.

We need to look toward the solutions and interventions that will avert violence and the social, historical and economic conditions which breed violence.

I would also like to point out that very little attention is given to Maori male and female caregivers who, despite the hardships they endure, continue to provide for, love, honour and respect their children.

There is no doubt in my mind that whanau want what is best for its members particularly those who are most venerable.

The ‘Atawhaingia Te Pa Harakeke: Nurture the Family’ training programme provides opportunities for Maori to reaffirm, reclaim and transmit our knowledge, faith and ability to care for one another, learn about and maintain our traditional practices, and determine our future and the future of our mokopuna.

We as a people, must determine what is best for our children, for they are our future.

The teachings and training of ‘Atawhaingia Te Pa Harakeke: Nurture the Family’ does not judge or lay blame.

They acknowledge the pain of the past, both individual and collective, and the determinants of this pain, and provide the knowledge and tools, interventions and approaches, which help heal pains carried from the past and enable whanau to move into the future with confidence - free from violence and the threats of violence.

I stand by the premise that underpins Atawhaingia Te Pa Harakeke: Nurture the Family’, that all Maori parents and caregivers desire the best for their children and that our children will flourish when they are nurtured and supported.

This coalition government has taken the step toward supporting the aspirations of whanau and hapu to determine their future and heal themselves by recognising the importance of initiatives such as this training programme.

As an Associate Minister of both Maori Affairs and Social Services I will continue to push for government support of initiatives that support the wellbeing of whanau.

To all those involved in the establishment of this programme, thank you for all your work.

To all here today, thank you for the opportunity to be part of the celebrations.

Na reira, huri noa i to tatau huihuinga, tena tatau katoa.

Ends

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