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Whanau Development National Hui in Otaki

Whanau Development National Hui in Otaki

Over two hundred Maori community workers, tribal leaders and academics are gathering at Te Wananga o Raukawa in Otaki today and tomorrow [Monday 24 and Tuesday 25 March 2003] to discuss whanau development and how it can be addressed.

The Hui Whakapumau Whanau (Whanau development national hui) has been called by Associate Maori Affairs Minister Tariana Turia, as a forum for flax-roots workers and whanau members to exchange ideas and clarify understandings of whanau development.

“Tangata whenua today lead very diverse lives and experience diverse realities. All over the country, in rural areas and in towns and cities, our people have developed lots of different strategies to achieve their goals,” said Tariana Turia.

“As we launch into the future, we need to identify our strengths and harness them for maximum benefit. I anticipate this hui will highlight the collective experience and wisdom of our people, as they face the challenges of the 21st century.

“We’ve invited community people from all over the country, some who are paid workers and some volunteers, with a huge range of interests. We’ve got all ages coming, with a good representation of rangatahi.

“There will be panel discussions and workshop sessions to debate the traditional role of the whanau and its place in the 21st century; looking at examples of whanau innovation and enterprise, and discussing whether whanau development is development or liberation.

“The tribal structures of hapu and iwi are the traditional sources of identity and strength for tangata whenua, certainly in the past. The whanau is at the core of tribal society.

“With the pressures of colonisation, and tangata whenua migrating away from traditional tribal areas, patterns of identity and social organisation appear to be changing. I believe it’s a good idea for tangata whenua to review the relevance of whanau in our current development strategies.

“As a Minister of the Crown, I believe there is much the government can do to recognise and support whanau development. I believe that would be good for whanau, and good for the nation.

“But whanau development must be whanau-driven. The government must take care that whanau define the terms and set the agenda for whanau development.

“In the past, the government has focused on iwi development, and service provision to whanau. This hui is an opportunity for whanau to decide whether their development is tied to service provision, or whether it requires a range of different strategies.

“The role of the government at this hui is simply to listen. I have no pre-conceived ideas of what might come out of the discussions. I am looking forward to the people deciding things for themselves, and letting the government know.

“This initial national hui will be followed up by a series of regional hui during the year, organised by Te Puni Kokiri,” said Tariana Turia.

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