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Launch of Plunket Maori Policy and Protocol

Hon Tariana Turia

28 February 2002 Speech Notes

Thursday, 28 February 2002

Launch of Plunket Maori Policy and Protocol

Tena koutou nga mata waka kua tau mai i tenei ra.

I would like to acknowledge those that are here today and thank you all for your contribution and commitment to whanau ora.

I believe the strengthening of our whanau, is the most critical development issue we are facing today. Whanau is at the core of the tangata whenua social structure.

Whanau ora means whanau being supported to achieve positive health and wellbeing on their own terms, allowing them to determine their own way forward and be self-determining. It is a dream I believe is achieveable.

The emergence of tangata whenua health providers and the increasing recognition of the importance of cultural and emotional competence as well as technical competence in all health services is changing the face of health services available to tangata whenua these days.

Access to health workers in the past was quite different. Many whanau, when they had their babies, were visited by the Public Health Nurses. They came to the homes of the whanau and checked baby's health right there in their home.

This access to health services in the home ensured that many whanau received services that they may not have had the means to access otherwise.

Recently there was an integrated care conference in Auckland examining and celebrating the successes of integrated care. I found it interesting to note that in many of those successful projects, there is the provision of various health and other services provided in the home.

Taking the services to the people, where appropriate, is, it seems, having a renaissance, and can be a valid and effective way of improving whanau health. This method acknowledges that individual health cannot be understood, without understanding the household and the wider family.

The Nurse was however, only able to be in one place, at any one time and it was often the knowledge and support of our kuia, our mothers and our aunties, that ensured the ongoing health and safety of our tamariki and their mothers. Again they lived with, or spent much time, with the whanau in their own home.

Many of those wahine were members of the Maori Women's Welfare League. It was part of their role to spend time in the homes of young whanau of their hapu and iwi, sharing their experiences, passing on the 'tricks of the trade' to them, as they learned to be good mothers and good fathers.

Our societal structures were affirmed and strongly maintained, through the acceptance and acknowledgement of the obligations and responsibilities of these roles within our society.

Plunket has been providing services to whanau since 1986. I acknowledge the developments and learning of Plunket through that journey, to provide clinically competent services to tangata whenua that will improve health outcomes for our tamariki and their whanau.

I am a strong proponent of whanau, hapu and iwi self-determination. That said, I would like to acknowledge the roles played by tauiwi organisations such as Plunket who strive, to provide their services in a way that is consistent with the roles of whanau, hapu and iwi.

Plunket, has consciously taken on tangata whenua workers and developed ways of working with whanau. At the same time, tangata whenua organisations are building their own capacity to address the needs of their own people for the services offered by health professionals.

Inevitably, tangata whenua and Plunket, as a tauiwi organisation, have to negotiate their way through this transition and I am heartened to see that Plunket are looking at how they can support tangata whenua workers with training and experience, while they learn from and support development of tangata whenua health providers.

Plunket have access to the corridors of power, that tangata whenua have, over the years never had. The challenge is how to share resources to best meet the needs of all families, while strengthening whanau ora in particular.

I do note the kowhaiwhai used for the strategy is Whanau Awhina, symbolising 'Plunket caring for whanau and tamariki, whanau caring for tamariki'. This symbolises your commitment to work towards whanau empowerment.

Your commitment to empowering whanau and inclusive of hapu and iwi, is a commendable one and other tauiwi organisations may look to you to see how that operates in practice to competently work with and to empower whanau, hapu and iwi.

You must challenge yourselves to stay true to that intent. There will be many occassions when a pragmatic purpose could overshadow that original intent and question the commitment of the organisation.

The practice of maintaining that integrity will ensure that whanau, hapu and iwi development will not, be compromised.

The challenge is, to ensure that the policies and the strategy is lasting, and makes the positive impact it was designed to make; for Plunket to be courageous in setting an example for all providers –that empowerment is not something we write about for assignments then forget.

Nor is it rhetoric for contracting and PR purposes – it is a genuine belief in the strengths of whanau, in the rights of tangata whenua, families and communities to healthy growth and participation.

The challenge, for all of us, is to pull ourselves back, when we are making presumptions, taking the lead when we should be giving the opportunity, finding ourselves falling into old patterns that make us feel comfortable but disempower others.

To listen and learn when we are challenged, to be sensitive to feedback, or new ways of doing things without feeling defensive, being open and receptive to the reality of what cultural competence and power sharing really means, in everyday practice. It’s not easy!

I would now like to take the opportunity to acknowledge the architect of the policies and protocols, who has so thoroughly demonstrated a commitment to stay true to our whanau.

Becky, thank you, for your commitment and dedication to the strengthening of our whanau and of their youngest members.

Becky, congratulations, I know the road to get here today, has not been an easy one, your determination is to me, inspirational.

Na reira, te tuahine tena koe ngaau i kokiri kia kitea tenei kaupapa, i te ao whanui.

You have strived to realise your dream. Your desire to see a tauiwi organisation that is in the lives of so many of our whanau, conduct their business in a way that affirms whanau and empowers them positively, to do things their own way, to find and know their own strength.

We, as a government talk about working smart and about striving to achieve our goals and dreams and to keep our promises.

Today, we celebrate with Becky, her success and achievements and her fulfilment of the promise to complete the strategy and the policy and protocols. To all those that she and Beth Wood worked with, to ensure this project came to fruition, thank you also.

Her promise kept, I am pleased to launch the Royal New Zealand Plunket Society Policies and Protocols.

May these documents and the learning and commitment implicit in them, be reflected in the homes of our whanau and the faces of their tamariki.

Na reira e hoa ma, ahakoa na te roopu Whanau Awhina enei kaupapa me marama tonu tatou, ki o tatou ake whakapapa. Me pumau tonu ki nga tikanga o a tatou ake whanau, hapu, iwi. Na reira, huri noa tena tatou.

ENDS

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