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Horomia Speech: Māori Wardens AGM

Parekura Horomia Speech: Māori Wardens Annual General Meeting 2005


Thank you for the opportunity to be with you all again today. It hardly seems a year ago that we were all gathered at Hopuhopu, and what a year it's been.

It is great time to be together with many exciting challenges and opportunities ahead of us all. Rātana is the perfect venue to discuss, debate and commence the next stage of our journey together.

My message last year was two fold, firstly to continue your efforts to improve internally and grow as an organisation and secondly, that you look to all of our futures – particularly our rangatahi.

In response to the first challenge, I know that you have completed the Strengthening the Position project which began in 2004. The key actions that you achieved were:

The Review of the organisation structure of the Association and the employment an Office Manager. Congratulations to Caroline Ripley;

The Review of how the overall organisation is represented at the Executive;

The Review and realign your constitution to meet its overall direction, and finally;

To upgrade and update all operational systems within the organisation.

I understand that these key actions have already seen improved performance, more efficient practises and correspondingly a positive reaction from our people and in fact from the wider New Zealand society.

In response to the second challenge of focusing on our future, and specifically our rangatahi, you responded with the Youth at Risk programme. This programme saw eighteen key projects in our communities get supported and funded by the Executive in the last 12 months. I look forward to hearing about this programme’s continued development and ongoing future.

If we reflect on the position of our rangatahi and the incredible response of the Wardens in recent times, it is clear that you continue to provide a valued service and make a notable difference, both with our rangatahi, and with our whānau.

The number of Māori youth (15 – 24 years old) who are unemployed has increased from 7,900 in June 2004 to 9,300 in June 2005. A disappointing number when you consider that there are more Maori in work now than ever before.

In 2004 Māori primary and secondary school students had the highest absence rates compared to any other ethnic group at 13.2%.

These are our rangatahi, our future and our whānau. Where are they? They are mostly on our streets, where you are! That is why you - Māori Wardens - can make a difference to our rangatahi and to their future, you provide a vital key.

There are some recent examples that highlight your responsiveness and value to our communities. The examples can be seen in Whangārei, Kaikohe and South Auckland.

Beginning this month with the backing of Whangārei District Council and local police, you now have a stronger presence and face on the streets of Whangārei to support and empower the work of the police with youth on the streets.

Kaikohe local police attribute your presence on their streets to the reduced crime rate, including violent crimes. One sergeant reported that ‘a lot of people would rather speak to Wardens than police.

That statement speaks volumes of your relevance, ability and skill to be able to contribute to our people, and on a larger scale contribute to Aotearoa and make an enormous difference in our country.

Whangārei Māori Wardens Association has recently recruited four trainees in their mid-20s - rangatahi. Ka mau te wehi!

Recruiting our rangatahi is a great initiative, one that I applaud and encourage in all of our rohe.

As expressed in our Confidence and Supply Agreement with New Zealand First we are committed to addressing the future funding of the Māori Wardens.

Currently we support our Māori Wardens to meet your administrative needs and to provide assistance that enables you to work actively with youth at risk.

There is a growing appreciation of the work undertaken by Māori Wardens, particularly by our rangatahi and whānau. There are also calls from our communities and local police for more work to be done by the Māori Wardens.

Our commitment is to address your funding such that is on a similar basis to the Māori Women’s Welfare League.

I like you, value working with integrity and fulfilling my commitment to realise the potential of our people, by elevating achievements, providing more choices and celebrating the many successes of our people.

Māori Wardens have responded to the many challenges over the last twenty seven years. You are building on past experience to strengthen your future, answered the call to show strong leadership and strengthen collectively.

It is a dynamic time for us as a people and as a nation, with many exciting opportunities and challenges ahead of us. You and I are facing many challenges from our whānau, hapū and iwi and in fact from our nation. There is a need and a demand for you in our communities.

In the coming years for you – Māori Wardens will have to confront keeping abreast with the dynamic and growing needs of our people, and to continue to contribute in a unique and valuable way that serves our people and the people of New Zealand.

Kia kaha, kia toa, kia māia!

Ka mutu

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