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Turia address Workforce development, whanau dev

Turia address Workforce development, whanau development

E nga mana, e nga reo, e nga iwi e huihui nei, Tena koutou, tena koutou, tena koutou.

The video and website we are launching today, and Te Rau Matatini itself as the organisation behind these resources, hold enormous potential for our people. Congratulations to all involved, in particular Kirsty Maxwell-Crawford, Prof. Mason Durie and Paul Hirini. I am sure you are as thrilled as I am, to see your ideas come to fruition.

Over recent years, more and more members of whanau Maori have been affected by mental illness, with serious effects on the whole whanau. Te Rau Matatini is part of a plan to start putting that right.

The benefits to our people will not be seen immediately. These resources are part of a four- or five-step strategy to promote whanau ora – healthy whanau with the skills, leadership and tikanga to be able to look after and promote their own well-being.

Our people, working together with the government, have developed a wide-ranging plan to promote whanau ora, and Te Rau Matatini is part of that plan.

The plan will work if each step follows on from the previous step. Kaua tatou e kotiti. To use another analogy, a chain is made of interlocking links. Without proper linkages, you have no chain.

In this case, whanau ora need better support from mental health services. Better mental health services require more and better-trained staff. Finding and training more staff requires a plan – this is where Te Rau Matatini comes in. And implementing a workforce development plan requires the resources we are launching today.

The recruitment videos will highlight the status associated with delivering mental health services. We want young and enthusiastic Mäori to consider a career in Mäori mental health. The competent and confident Mäori we see working in mental health services will set an example to those that follow them. The Rau Matatini website is a good example of collaboration and coordination in the health sector - between providers, DHBs and sector groups. It is a one-stop shop for information, discussion groups, contacts for providers, prospective staff, educational institutions and students. It will be a focus point for everyone interested in a Mäori mental health workforce. The linkages within the wider strategy must be strong. So, these resources must contribute to an effective plan. The plan must lead to recruitment and training of more staff. These staff must provide better mental health services. And the services must be delivered in a way that makes whanau stronger.

Te Rau Matatini is led by experts in their field, and I have every confidence that these resources, and the workforce development strategy, will play the part we expect.

The linkages I want to focus on are the two at the other end of the chain: how the staff will provide better mental health services; and how better mental health services will make whanau stronger.

In many areas of Maori development, we know of committed Maori staff giving 110 percent effort to improve the position of their people. In health, education and community welfare, and in politics, too, our people have done that for generations. Outstanding individuals have made a huge difference to the lives of many.

Now we also have significant numbers of tangata whenua involved in broadcasting, law and justice, and in social services, wonderful people, totally dedicated to their work.

But for all their personal efforts, tangata whenua have made significant progress only when we have started to set our own development agenda.

Education is perhaps the clearest example. Once our people stepped out of the mainstream, and developed our own models and structures for teaching our children, including kohanga reo and kura kaupapa Maori, that’s when we took off. It’s the same in health and social services now, as iwi set up their own delivery systems.

We started to succeed once we shifted our focus away from individuals, whether students, patients or clients, and started to consider the situation of the whole whanau. We designed an education system not just for the students, but the whanau, and a health system not just for patients, but the whanau.

This experience is very relevant to the launch of these resources today. It tells us that the bigger and better mental health workforce we are developing will deliver the best results if they work within a whanau ora paradigm.

When we talk about ‘workforce development’, we must not forget that the goal is whanau ora. We are not developing a mental health workforce so the individual workers can collect fatter salaries and buy faster cars. We are not doing it, either, so the institutions that employ them are in a stronger position to tell our people what’s best for us.

We need to be, and we are, developing a mental health workforce which is willing and able to provide services to whanau in a way that suits whanau.

That requires the workforce to work with whanau in the new way – where the whanau sets the agenda, and they call on experts to help them achieve the goals they have set for themselves.

When the institutions set the agenda, as they have been doing, our people in the workforce feel compromised. Maori staff experience conflicting loyalties, and they can lose their vision and motivation. They get burnt out. It’s a waste that our people cannot afford.

In a week or so, we will be launching ‘He Korowai Oranga’ – the Maori Health Strategy, and the Whakatataka, a two-year implementation plan. He Korowai Oranga will set the direction for Maori health over the next ten years, and the Whakatataka will be regularly updated as we make progress.

Both these documents recognise and promote the whanau ora approach to Maori health. They will require agencies to work with whanau, and with each other, to provide integrated support on all issues that can affect the health and well-being of whanau – including housing, family violence, education and employment and so on.

I look forward to Te Rau Matatini being a part of, and contributing to, this broader strategy. I look forward to our whanau getting better mental health services. And I look forward to a bigger and better mental health workforce delivering these services in ways that empower whanau to meet their own needs.

Kia ora.

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