Aranui Community Renewal Project opening
Hon Lianne Dalziel Speech Notes
Aranui Community Renewal Project opening
34 Marlow Rd, Aranui
Kia orana, Ni sa bula, Taloha ni, Fakaalofa lahi atu, Malo e lelei, Talofa lava, Kia ora koutou.
Good morning everyone and thank you for coming to today's celebration.
I acknowledge Sandy Kaa, one of our local kaumatua, and thank him for his words. And Samuga Poliko Vili, who represents the Pacific communities, who are an important part of Aranui.
I bring apologies from Housing Minister Mark Gosche, who is disappointed not to be here today due to other engagements. However, he has asked me to pass on his best wishes for today's celebrations. As MP for Christchurch East I am pleased to be able to stand in his place today. I also bring warm Pacific Greetings from my colleague Winnie Laban, and from the MP for Te Tai Tonga, Mahara Okeroa.
I also acknowledge Cr Carole Anderton, Maude Boyd, and Bill King. I acknowledge the other City Councillors here, Council and Housing New Zealand staff, and most of all the residents of this wonderful place that we celebrate today, Aranui.
There is someone else that I want to particularly acknowledge, and that is the interim chair of the Aranui Community Renewal Committee, Rob Davidson, who just happens to be my husband. I asked Rob to attend a couple of community meetings on my behalf, as I had commitments in Wellington.
I think it was after the third meeting that he told me that he had been asked by the residents to take up the chair. He protested that he didn't live in Aranui - we live in Bexley. That's close enough they said. So thank you Rob for taking on this role, even on an interim basis.
Rob and I are a partnership - at every level of our lives. And that is precisely what we are celebrating today - partnership.
The Aranui Project is a formal partnership between Housing New Zealand and the Christchurch City Council and I for one am proud, that we have been the first of what is intended to be several similar projects for other communities around New Zealand. And while the formal partnership may be between Housing NZ and the City Council, in actual fact, what the Aranui Project has done is to provide the vehicle for an already existing desire within this community to develop and build on the spirit of renewal. The Aranui community is very much a partner.
Community renewal must be driven by the community itself. It cannot be driven from above, because the goal is to empower the community to address and resolve issues that affect them now and into the future. That means that the community must look to its strengths, in order to find the solutions. Those solutions will only endure if they are found within the community.
So why Housing New Zealand? It is to build on the notion that in order to promote strong and healthy communities, we need quality, affordable housing. It is true that this community was hugely disadvantaged by the imposition of market rents. But the restoration of income related rents, although vital, is not the total solution. This renewal project, adds another link in the chain.
And there is another link that I have made representations to the Minister of Social Services & Employment about. I have asked him to consider Aranui for inclusion under the Strengthening Communities Action Fund. Although I have not yet received a reply, and I am sure it will be subject to Budget availability, I am convinced that we have a good case to make.
The purpose of the SCAF is to support communities to make their own decisions about what support is needed in their own communities. It is a devolved funding model, which empowers communities to be responsible for identifying their own needs and managing their own resources in a way that is appropriate for their own community. When Steve Maharey launched the first of these pilots in Waitakere he said this: "We knew in Waitakere we had a partner committed to making a difference - a community brimming with positive ideas and demonstrating a commitment to getting on with the job". We can say the same about the Christchurch City Council and the community of Aranui.
But in the meantime, we can feel very proud of what today represents, in terms of what we both acknowledge and celebrate, and they are:
- a meaningful partnership between central government, local government and the community;
- Aranui leading the way - which is appropriate given the meaning of Aranui - we are forging a truly significant pathway for others to follow;
- the work that has already been undertaken by the community in response to the project;
- the voluntary efforts that have gone into this work, something which ought to be acknowledged in this the International Year of the Volunteer;
- the desire to work together to draw on the strengths of this community, to focus on what is good about this place and to support each other.
I congratulate Housing New Zealand, the Christchurch City Council, (especially Carole Anderton, as chair of the Housing Committee and Chrisssie Williams, as chair of the Community Board), George Watson, Mike McNabb, and the community of Aranui residents. You have every reason to be proud of your achievements.
Kia kaha Aranui, be strong great pathway, te tino kaha, no roto, true strength comes from within, tena koutou, tena koutou, tena koutou katoa.