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Flavell: Speech to Tipu Ora Charitable Trust

Speech to Tipu Ora Charitable Trust, Private Training Establishment Friday 2 December 2005

Te Ururoa Flavell, Member of Parliament for Waiariki

I am really pleased to return to Houmaitawhiti after my first ten weeks in Parliament, to celebrate the graduation of you students, with your families, and tutors today.

It is very special for me having taught on the course for one small part. It was only a small component in time but from my view, a very special component. A section on Te Tiriti o Waitangi from my perspective is crucial for all Maori who will work with our people, but let me talk of that later.

I feel very comfortable here just because the name Houmaitawhiti, the father of Tamatekapua, the commander of Te Arawa waka, ties me here.

Houmaitawhiti, nana ko Tamatekapua, nana ko Kahumatamomoe, nana ko Tawakemoetahanga nana ko Uenukumaiirarotonga, nana ko Rangitihi Ka moe a Rangitihi i a Papawharanui ka puta ko Tuhourangi Ka moe a Tuhourangi i a Rongomaipapa ka puta ko Uenukukopako Na Uenukukopako, ka puta ko Whakauekaipapa Ka moe a Whakauekaipapa i a Rangiuru ka puta te mataamua Ko Tawakeheimoa. Ka moe i a Te Aongahoro, ka puta ko Rangiwewehi. Ko au tetahi o nga uri.

Now me giving you my link to this tupuna whare is quite good for me, and makes me feel good, but I am not sure about anyone else!

The point I would like to make, however, is something I learnt on the recent election trial. My Campaign Manager, Mr Pem Bird, from Hohis area in Ngati Manawa, always referred to things having a whakapapa. The "whakapapa" that he spoke of was not the "whakapapa" that we talk about as "a family tree", but the reference was more to say that all things have a beginning, a source, a reason for being.

So while I have an actual genealogical link here, I am linked here because I have taught on this course on a number of occasions. Also, it is here that we had our first effort to call the electorate of Waiariki together to discuss the development of the Maori Party. I am here now as a Member of Parliament so we must have got something right!

The notion of whakapapa should make us never forget those who have passed on, kua huri ki tua o te pae, those who left things for this generation to take to the next level. That's where all of you graduands fit.

We should not forget also key events, the whakapapa of events. Houmaitawhiti's son Tamatekapua, as some might know, was a ladies man, or so he thought. As Te Arawa travelled on its way across from Hawaiki, he chose to make a move on the partner of his tohunga Ngatoroirangi. Ngatoroirangi, finding out about this, created what we call "Te Korokoro o Te Parata", a whirlpool to punish Tamatekapua. Hearing the tangi from the people as they fell from the waka and fearing death, Ngatoroirangi relented and allowed the waka to come out of the whirlpool and continue on its way.

I suspect as you have done your assignments while trying to stay in work, that you may have felt like my tupuna felt in Te Korokoro o Te Parata. Well today we do not have to worry for now at least, because you too have come through Te Korokoro o Te Parata! By the way, Tamatekapua did go on as we know to arrive at his destination, and of course to prosper in his own way. Thank goodness because I am here, we are here. You see....whakapapa!

I think back to the words of the koroua Hapi Winiata who challenged us to remember: "Ka timata te ora i te kainga"

His wero to us, then and now, is to hold fast to the belief that wellness begins in our home, and our Marae is our home. At Houmaitawhiti, you have embraced this philosophy, being a part of marae-based health learning.

And so what better place to come to, than here, to celebrate the graduation of 18 National Certificate in Hauora students.

It was a real honour to be invited to celebrate your successes and the brilliance of the whare kahu - the indigenous framework.

Elsdon Best in his 1929 work, 'The Whare kohanga and its lore'; talked about the Whare Kahu or whare whakakahu - as being the whare specially constructed for the accommodation of the expectant mother. According to Best, "the word kahu denotes the membrane enveloping a foetus". You see...whakapapa again.

What is universally accepted in our histories, is the special power that is associated with conception, gestation and birth.

Whether it be within the confederation of Te Arawa, or the people associated with the Mataatua, Takitimu and Tainui waka, our people had stories associated with the gifting of the spirit, heart and knowledge of the child.

We know of oriori that welcomed the child as a mark of respect for the new life. Wisdom was to be passed from one generation to the next, and the many voices around that child would prepare the child for its journey.

The journey is one of linking the mana, wairua, mauri, ihi, wehi, tapu of generations long gone with those yet to come. This was recognised and endorsed.

And so too, when thinking of the kaupapa of this programme, the concept of whare kahu is indeed a powerful metaphor for the journey you will now be embracing, in search of excellence for the wellbeing and advancement of your whanau.

You have been enveloped with the mana of whakapapa - mana hau o ra. That whakapapa has seen you surrounded with the warmth of mana whanau, mana motuhake, mana tane, mana wahine, mana tupuna, mana tangata, mana atua, mana mokopuna.

Let's face it - mana is invested in all that you have seen, experienced and flourished in over the course of your study.

You have been grounded in these concepts through the power of tooku reo rangatira - tooku mapihi maurea. The application of whakatauki, of te reo tupuna, of waiata, te ihi me te wehi has ensured that what you have learnt as students will serve to strengthen our collective resolve to live as Maori, to be Maori .

On the first day of the parliament session, my friend Hone was moved by the spirit of our collective resolve to mihi to the whare. As he stood and paid his respects to all that had graced the walls of that house with their korero, it was seen as a profound challenge on many fronts.

A challenge to the Westminster traditions, the way of being that is taken for granted within the conventions of Parliament. But a challenge also to the land, that the traditions, the conventions of tangata whenua must take our rightful place within the tikanga that operates in all sectors of Aotearoa.

And so, we will continue to ask our patai in te reo, we will relish the opportunity to accompany our korero with the appropriate waiata, we will be Maori .

The reclamation and revitalisation of our birthright, to express our rangatiratanga, is an opportunity we cherish with the Maori Party, with our mahi in Parliament, as is this National Certificate in Hauora.

You are graduating today from a training establishment that is committed to encouraging leaders in both whanau advancement and health.

The kaupapa of this programme is one that is important to me.

Manaakitanga towards each other, kaitiakitanga over our own hauora, the reclaimation of our own hauora practises, the importance of whakapapa, the revival and retention of our reo Rangatira and above all, the aspirations and priorities for our people acting as our driving force for change.

Your mahi over the last eight months has shown that you are already skilled in the majority of the kaupapa you work with. Your graduation day, is affirmation of that.

I referred earlier to Te Tiriti o Waitangi. Having had the discussion on its background, your biggest challenge yet awaits you. The challenge of ensuring Te Tiriti o Waitangi lives and breathes in its fullest expression.

We could say that it is a birthing of the potential of our nation. The movement to build a society in which the essence of all people is invigorated and sustained.

The treaty becomes like Tamatekapua, the guide for our future development. A nation which accords the right of Maori to hold rangatiratanga over our own hauora. A nation which endorses oritetanga, which ensures the appropriate resourcing of hauora outcome as we define them.

Our parliamentary caucus is currently working on a number of legislative proposals to give effect to nga taonga katoa, to demonstrate mana motuhake.

One of these is through the simple introduction of a new possibility for the oaths and allegiances taken by New Zealanders to include respect for Te Tiriti o Waitangi, and appropriate acknowledgement of kawai rangatira - those that we descend from.

In its practical application it might only be a few words - but in its spirit we hope it will advance the values we all hold dear - of love, respect, dignity, kinship and integrity.

I firmly believe that we all have the potential to make a difference. Whether it is a few words in an oath, or the skilled journey of knowledge you have acquired through marae based wananga, we can all look to a future which is as bright and bountiful as this day.

I want to commend the initiative and talents of Mere Potaka-Osborne and Tiaria Wickliffe who have helped to bring this national certificate to life, guided by our kaumatua Te Ariki Morehu and Kingi Porima, our kaiwhakaruruhau, Hohi Porima, and training manager, Kirsten Rei.

These are all people who have helped to make a difference, through the Tipu Ora charitable trust, which in itself dates back over a decade of dedicated efforts for the benefit of our people.

Tipu Ora also traces back a whakapapa which builds on the strong foundation of Te Roopu o Te Ora which was established in 1931,

I take great pleasure in celebrating people like yourselves as you pass another stage in life. People like you all, who are playing a huge part in shaping the health and knowledge of our whanau, who act as advocates, as guides and mentors, as leaders.

I plead with you not to ever fall into the trap of considering your future work, as just that! You are all so important to our people. I like to think of those of you who have some new knowledge and mätauranga as "change agents" for our people. Please do not ever underestimate that difference you can make to the development of our people. It is the people who work with the whanau who make the biggest impact, so you are all so very important.

If our whanau are secure and all members within it are thriving, then the continuity of whakapapa is secure too.

I am proud to both speak to and celebrate with you today. You are the leaders that can make more change. Be proud of this, and grow with this.

ENDS

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