Tariana Turia: Painting a New Vision for Tomorrow
Speech to Aukati Kai-paipa Hui a Tau
Orakei Marae, Thursday 21 April 2005
Tariana Turia, Co-leader, Maori Party
Painting a New Vision for Tomorrow
E nga iwi e huihui nei, tena hoki koutou.
Tena koutou kua tae mai nei ki manaaki i te karanga o te ra, ki te oranga o te whanau.
Charles Goldie has a lot to answer for. The picture that he has conveyed of our tupuna, posing, sucking on their pipes, created an association between tangata whenua and smoking which has been hard to displace.
I was heartened, therefore, by evidence from the kuia, Ira Norman to the parliamentary health select committee which challenged this association.
Ira gave evidence that her great-great-grandfather, Te Ahoterangi Wharepu, had never smoked. It was her contention that Goldie had painted the pipe into the portrait in the 1930s, decades after her tupuna had passed away.
‘Twinking’ out the introduced pipe, reframing the portrait and reprogramming our minds, seems to me a wonderful way to celebrate with you this sixth national Aukati Kaipaipa Hui-a-Tau.
The time is right for a revolution.
What we’re experiencing on a wider scale in Aotearoa, is the opportunity for transformation. It’s more than a matter of great polls – this is about our people feeling the pulse of the nation.
We have experienced transformation before. 160 years ago, our landscape was transformed – our physical environment renamed, exotic flora and fauna introduced, land sub-divided and alienated, new cultural structures constructed.
And in that process, land was sold in exchange for a variety of goods including guns, ammunition, soap, alcohol, sugar, clothing, blankets, foodstuffs, and of course tobacco.
The effects of that transformation have been significant. Looking just at the impact of tobacco, we are all well aware in real life terms what that means.
Our people are dying of cancer, and suffering strokes and heart attacks at a rate we can ill-afford.
Any of us that have watched a loved one die through the trauma of terminal illnesses know this reality far too well.
It is a significant challenge to our progress- but it is not impossible.
All that we need is each other – and an absolute belief that we can do this thing, this thing called transformation.
Transformation is about radically reinventing what you do and how you do it.
It’s not a matter of making one change in isolation– of using smoking cessation medicine – applying the patch – increasing tobacco taxes. These are all very important initiatives, but we must not be trapped into thinking that one solution fits all.
It is a matter of momentum, a change of such magnitude and intensity that there’s no turning back. It is about having the will and determination to change our behaviour.
And as the co-leader of the Maori Party says, ‘it’s all about whanau’.
It is within our whanau that our motivation through tikanga and kaupapa can provide the transformation required to resume well-being.
It is within whanau that we have the resources and the legacy to support a transformation of the heart and the mind.
It’s a quantum change which restores our commitment to kaupapa such as manaakitanga, whanaungatanga, rangatiratanga, kaitiakitanga, mana tupuna/whakapapa. Our commitment to the sacred breath of life that Tane breathed into Hine-ahuone.
I remember in ‘The Whale-rider’ when Pae admonishes her aunties for smoking, scolding them for destroying their childbearing properties.
Although they – and we – all cracked up, in many ways she had it right.
Manaakitanga determines that we acknowledge the mana of others as having equal or greater importance than our own.
So when we think of passive smoking, when we understand the negative modelling we are promoting to future generations, it brings into question the exercise of respect and generosity towards others.
Similarly, from Pae’s example, we think of mana tupuna and whakapapa: our central connections to our tupuna and our heritage.
This is about preserving our whakapapa, our whare tangata, as well as contributing to the survival of our whanau as our collective wealth.
When we think transformation we are thinking on a collective scale. We will not achieve anything if we start laying blame on individuals. I know in my own whanau that the moment I start doing that, the behaviour becomes even more entrenched.
Kia Auahi Kore Ai Te Ao Mâori – it is about making our culture smokefree.
But we need to think, creatively, about what our world will be like when we are free of smoke. If we remove the tobacco, what will fill the gap?
Again, I come back to ‘it’s all about whanau’.
This is our greatest hope, our strongest tool for transformation.
That is why I commend the initiatives of auahi kore providers to support areas where whanau Maori attend in big numbers – touch rugby, waka ama, Te Matatini.
Cigarettes have become the lifeline, the counsellor, the opportunity for time out, the source of comfort in periods of loneliness and pain.
For many of our people, the cigarettes become a way of coping with the situations of stress. Unless we start to change those situations, to take a pro-active stance for healing and restoration, no amount of band-aids will ever address the pain.
It is time for our whanau to step up to the mark, to focus on each other, to care for each other, to care for ourselves, and to care for the nation.
This is an opportunity where the strength of tangata whenua models can be of benefit to the nation.
This is a message that the Maori Party is very proud to promote – indeed to shout from the rooftops!
I was interested that at the launch of the ‘It’s About Whanau’ campaign a couple of years ago here in Auckland, Prime Minister Helen Clark talked about the need for positive support for families in her address. She said then:
“We know whanau is everything to Maoridom….I wish I could say the same for my own community” .
It’s not clear whether she means the ‘Clark’ community, the ‘Pakeha’ community, or the ‘Labour’ community….but certainly the need for some support for other communities to understand the strength of family is evident in her concern.
There’s a saying that if you stand for nothing, you fall on everything. I believe that this is the time to take control of our destiny, to create our tomorrow based on what we do today.
We stand here today, for whanau.
I know that questions have been raised about the fact that ‘it’s about whanau’ is too closely associated with Pita Sharples – and therefore the Maori Party.
At the end of the day it doesn’t matter whether the spin-doctors like the phrase or not – as long as we retain our commitment to those that will remain long after the ads on TV have played out.
We must remain positive about our ability to retain a sense of common-unity; a sense of connection, a focus on our strengths rather than negative dysfunction.
Politicians are entering the silly season. The behaviour is divisive and damaging, particularly when Maori and Pasifika tamariki are singled out using words such as ‘failed’, ‘poor’, ‘worst affected’ . Such descriptions of our tamariki do not give them faith in themselves, and the same goes for our whanau who smoke.
We do not need any more lectures about our problems in life. The focus for our future must be on well-being and investment, not disadvantage and deficit.
The Maori Party believes that we can achieve transformation in our lifetime.
Just as auahi kore providers are working in ways which are both compassionate and authentic – so too can the nation benefit from a different approach.
An approach which is kaupapa driven – not rigidly focused on portfolios.
An approach which is driven by Maori models that can harmonise Western ones.
An approach which is firmly focused at the top of the cliff not the bottom.
An approach which is both pure tangata whenua and inclusive of others at the same time.
We are saying to the Clark family, to the Brash family, welcome to our world.
The Maori Party believes our tikanga and kaupapa can inspire all whanau – tangata whenua and others – to create our own tomorrow – whatever their social, political, economic, religious and other persuasions.
A tomorrow in which the nation will move forward with Maori – rather than in spite of them.
We can create the masterpiece of all masterpieces – in painting a world with a place for us all.
Tena koutou, tena koutou, tena koutou katoa.
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At Saatchi & Saatchi, the nothing is impossible spirit has burned as an inspirational torch for over 25 years.
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identifies Teens and Maori as key at risk
Teenagers, particularly female and Maori, continue to take up smoking at an alarming rate. Maori smoking rates are almost double the rate of non-Maori.
Smokefree programmes have been specifically developed for these audiences, but the success of these is dependent on the support and ownership of the whole community
Kia Auahi Kore Ai Te Ao Mâori – Making Our Culture Smokefree.