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Launch of Maori special education resources

17 December 2001

Speech Notes - Hon Tariana Turia

Launch of Maori special education resources, Auckland

Tena tatou, e tau nei i tenei ra. Tena tatou, tena hoki koutou e pikau nei i te kaupapa i tenei ra. Nga mihi ki a tatou katoa.

I am delighted to be with you today to assist in the launch of tangata whenua specific resources developed for whanau, kaiako and tamariki.

I strongly believe that tamariki must have the opportunity to learn the tikanga of their hapu in an environment that promotes those beliefs and values that have been the foundations of their whanau and hapu for centuries.

When tamariki understand that which makes us who we are, they are far less likely to behave in ways that are unacceptable. All those concepts identified under tangata-tanga teach us to value each other, to respect difference.

Most tamariki model the behaviour that they experience in their environment. They need the opportunity to learn skills that enable them to cope with other people's behaviour and also how they can respond when behaviour is not acceptable.

As maatua, we must love nurture and guide our tamariki so that they learn good decision making, as they grow older. Our tamariki must always see themselves as an important and integral part of the whanau.

They are bound by whakapapa, and so their actions affect the whanau, as the actions of maatua affect all those connected to them. While their actions may be individual, the impact and responsibility is collective.

The importance of affirming and strengthening identity in an educational environment cannot be underestimated or undervalued.

You have actively sought smart ways of developing our children who already have challenges that they must overcome.

More and more there is an acceptance that tangata whenua are capable of creating our own quality resources to address issues we are facing.

That is why I take such great pleasure in being here today to launch these resource kits. They have been created by members of whanau, hapu and iwi, for our people.

The development of these three resources is designed in a way that affirms whanau knowledge and dynamics. It demonstrates, that given the opportunity and funding, we can produce world class learning materials.

The three resources we are launching today - · Kapohia te reo (Grasp the language) · Whakatokia te Rongomau (Plant the seed of peace), and · Piripono Mai (Have faith in us/me)

are prime exemplars of resources that affirm that different world views including those of whanau, hapu and iwi exist. Such worldviews can be used in appropriate settings to support our children and their whanau.

These resources have the potential to benefit whole communities and the wider social fabric of whanau, hapu and iwi.

These resources are described as 'whenu' Maori resources, that is, resources that are woven, threaded and webbed into the realities of whanau who experience daily the trials and many tribulations of supporting our children. Daily experiences, which we should all recognise, bring daily opportunities.

The resources strengthen the links and strands that are interwoven into a holistic approach to connect whanau to each other, to their diverse views and to their diverse solutions.

The concept behind it is an expression of whanaungatanga, of our family relationships, of that kinship and ancestry which binds us, links us and makes us strong.

The resources will assist in that process to increase our children's understanding of the relationships that exist between us all.

They do not separate tamariki from the whanau. They identify whanau as an important part of the process. This approach affirms who the child is throughout the entire process of learning and teaching by the whanau and their tamariki and the kaiako.

I would like to acknowledge the excellent work of the Tangatawhenua early intervention teams of the Specialist Education Service. You work with whanau and their children from birth until school.

I applaud the way you operate as a nationally co-ordinated, responsive, flexible, quality service that is founded on strong research principles. You work in partnership with whanau and do not attempt to supplant them. You have created a framework to empower parents and families: you build on whanau strength.

Equitable resources are required to ensure that those most in need whoever they maybe, receive the support they require. Unless this happens, inequities will continue to be fostered and the system will fail to respond to the needs of the people it is supposed to serve.

Our tamariki are more likely to achieve their potential, if we assist them within their whanau environment.

Today, we celebrate the challenges by responding with these resources.

Congratulations to all those who have participated in their development.

Tena koutou, tena koutou, tena koutou katoa.


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