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Turia Speech on Transformation August 24 2005

Turia Speech on Transformation August 24 2005

Capital Gateway Motor Lodge, Newlands, Wellington Delivered by Monte Ohia, on behalf of Tariana Turia Wednesday 24 August, 2005

The email promoting this conference drew me to it as rapidly as politicians are drawn to the polls.

The call to foster a "collective psyche", of "challenging the here and now to shape our tomorrow", in pursuit of "a more meaningful and fulfilling future" is right up there in terms of messages of hope, of inspiration, of transformation.

The time is ripe for transformation.

Transformation is about changing from 'satisfaction' to a higher order.

It is about challenging the complacency of compromise.

It is about taking the risk to transform an organisation, a culture, a world through vision and strategic leadership.

I want to think today about the challenge of the important work you are doing to expand our understanding of forensic psychiatric care.

How does transformation occur for tangata whaiora, our whanau and families, regional forensic psychiatry services, health providers, DHBs, the Ministry of Health?

How can our treatment of tangata whaiora Maori as outlined in the Mental Health (Compulsory Assessment and Treatment) Act, 1992 and the Criminal Justice Act, 1985, actually change to take place in an environment of hope?

It requires institutional courage and individual commitment.

I have been greatly interested in the model of care developed for the new kaupapa Maori rehabilitation unit at Auckland Regional Forensic Services.

The Maori Party candidate for Waitakere, Charles Joe, is Associate Service Manager there and I want to acknowledge his clear vision and enthusiasm for this model as having inspired me in preparing for today.

The model applied at the unit brings together practices from Te Ao Maori and Te Ao Tauiwi to focus on creating the right conditions for whanau to grow and become empowered to be well.

The programme is based on the principles, values and philosophies that are the foundation of Maori culture. It brings to every whanau the context of manaakitanga, whanaungatanga, wairuatanga, rangatiratanga, kaitiakitanga, whakapaitia.

This approach is enhanced with a medical model focused on the healing of the mind, body and soul.

I know that our greatly respected Dr Rees Tapsell is going to follow my speech with a far more detailed analysis of how to actually do it....how to make the change necessary for transformation.

So my focus today, is really just to think about the bigger picture - how can we create the right conditions for whanau to grow and become empowered?

Let's start with the Maori Party as a possible model!

What we have witnessed over the last year in Aotearoa is a spectacular transformation taking place in the hearts, the homes, and the minds of the citizens of this nation.

We have made the changes necessary - because to do otherwise was unthinkable.

We could not stand by and let the last piece of customary land slip out of our hands.

We could not tolerate a Government which denied us due access in the Courts, which has brought the prospect of discrimination on to the international radar.

We could not stand by and let the National Party leader treat us as second class citizens, daring to define whether we are 'substantively Maori' or not.

We will not wait to be the last cab in the rank. The trouble with waiting for the last cab on the rank of course, is that by the time you get to it, it may have left already...

And it doesn't matter how fast the ministerial entourage speeds to catch us.....

The Maori Party will wait for no-one.

We are here to be reckoned with, the voice of our past, present and future.

I want to just digress to look at the concept of kei mua - as we understand it to be, the past standing in front of me. The Maori Party is often criticised for looking to the past for instruction - as if the experience of history should be ignored. As any good forensic psychiatrist will tell us, the past impacts upon our everyday reality in forceful ways. We need to understand the past in order to find the true pathway forward. We must not be so anxious to 'move on' that we fail to benefit from the lessons of the past. It is all part of our journey to transformation. The forces of transformation that have given life to the Maori Party are about the urgency to establish what you have called, a collective psyche, our voice.

Transformation requires that the strategic vision, the actions, the values and beliefs are shared throughout the whole movement.

Our policy initiatives therefore reflect the input of hundreds of members as they have sought to define our goals.

They have challenged us to make dramatic and immediate impact in seven areas.

- To enshrine Te Tiriti o Waitangi as the living constitution of this land - building our future together on a solid foundation, improving the treaty settlements process, giving the public access to the research and stories;

- To reduce poverty through calling on the tax system and the budget surplus to invest in people;

- To lift the minimum wage to achieve a liveable income, and to expand and improve access to trade training and cadetships;

- To increase primary and public health funding to keep people well, ensuring everyone is entitled to gold star access and treatment;

- To ensure that every child who leaves primary school is able to read, write, count, speak and think with confidence - education should be free from pre-school through to tertiary;

- To restore Maori customary rights which are property rights over the foreshore and seabed;

- To make it possible for all money spent for and on behalf of Maori, Pacific and low income families to get back to the greatest source of need - the whanau.

It is important to have goals in sight which have meaning for us all.

Transformation is knowing the vision can be a reality.

Knowing that if these goals are achieved we can create a tomorrow in which we

- Care for ourselves - through our focus on whanau;

- Care for each other - in recognising the treaty as the blueprint of effective relationships; and

- Care for our world, through the priority we place on the economy.

I have taken some time to make the vision tangible, because I believe it is important to see the change you want to create.

The power of matakite is something that is valued within our whakapapa. Our tupuna matakite had the ability to 'see' as in see things that perhaps other people are not aware of, or who have had their vision clouded so as to be unable to see.

We need to have those who can see a new pathway in front of us, helping to inspire and transcend the boundaries of self-interest.

The vision can have profound effect. Our people look to such vision to motivate and guide us in the journey to well-being, to exert tino rangatiratanga on a daily basis.

We have to all take ownership of the greatest imaginable vision - the desire for a better life for me and my mokopuna.

The vision of your whanau, your tangata whaiora, must also have meaning in a practical sense.

Transformation must be more than receiving the election inducements handed out by political parties in an attempt to make you forget.

Transformation is creating a meaning that you generate, to get on your own two feet, to develop your own confidence, take responsibility, participate in a vibrant economy.

That is why the Maori Party has put our focus on establishing an environment of hope and strength - rather than perpetuate a dependency focus.

We do not need any more gimmicks to entice our vote.

We need to vote in ourselves, vote for a vision, a nation we can all be proud of. We want to see a solutions society - not performance based on responding to people's problems - problems which in many case have been generated by the state in the first place.

The masterate programme at Whitireia Community Polytechnic is an example of looking to ourselves, to seek solutions.

It seeks to make sudden impact in the field of forensic psychiatric care, and it is doing so, to empower each student, each tutor, each agent of change, in the goal of a meaningful and fulfilling future.

In the Maori Party, our search for solutions has been assisted by the guiding light of our kaupapa and our tikanga. They drive our solutions, they keep us grounded, our membership united.

At times this has been a challenge, but manaakitanga and kotahitanga tell us that we must be diligent in our expression of these kaupapa all of the time. Without them, we would be just another cab off the rank - shouting for attention, resorting to personal attacks, seeking to diminish the mana of others for one's own profile.

We are proud of our distinctive difference. We are inspired by the reality of transformation. And we know we can do it.

We can shape our tomorrow - it is time to walk the talk!


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