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Kapiti Community: Working together for Health

Kapiti Community Health Group Trust: Working together for Health

Tariana Turia, Member of Parliament for Te Tai Hauauru

E nga iwi, e nga reo, e nga karanga maha o nga hau e wha, tenei te mihi atu ki a koutou katoa. Tena koutou e ngā iwi o Ati Awa ki Whakarongotai.

Ko tenei te mihi ki a koutou mo ngā kuia me ngā koroheke o tenei kaupapa. Tena koutou, tena koutou, tena koutou katoa.

Over the Christmas holidays a most miraculous event occurred in my life. I found Google. And suddenly I was surfing the net, hitting ‘I feel lucky’ and discovering new sites courtesy of my search engine.

It was all very exciting - so much so that my husband George, immediately joined up to a computer course, so that he too, could share the wonderful world of the web.

It has not only opened my eyes to immense opportunities for new learnings - it has also given me another connection across the generations. I realised I was getting left behind when one day I turned up to work and I had to ask my five year old mokopuna how to remove from my screensaver.

Fresh with my new-found skills, I was so pleased to be able to come here today, and to celebrate the wonder of whānau, and how together, we can best achieve glowing health and well-being.

For I believe the enduring hauora of our whānau will be in the opportunities we take to upskill, to keep healthy and active, and where necessary, to have the courage to make the behavioural changes needed to make the difference. And it will only be possible with the ongoing support and motivation of our loved ones around us.

We need to retain and revitalize those taonga which feed the spirit, which remind us of the essence of who we are.

The skills and knowledge of rāranga; the nurturing of whakapapa through our retelling of stories to our tamariki, our mokopuna; learning the art of making korowai are all ways of maintaining wellness for our whānau, hapū and iwi.

These are the health outcomes we can all have responsibility for. Health does not reside exclusively in the domain of Te Kete Hauora, Hora te Pai Health Services, the Kapiti Community Health Group Trust or any of the other health providers gathered here today - no matter how sensational your services.

For the true acquisition of tino rangatiratanga will be when our spiritual, physical, mental, social, cultural health is determined by our own plans and people. When we design our own solutions, solutions which reflect our health and well-being priorities.

Central to this, will be the understanding of our collective identity as mana whenua, - or as Pākehā, as tangata Pasifika, as Asian. It will be our pride in responding to question 15 next Tuesday, Census night, by identifying as Ati Awa ki Whakarongotai, as Ngäti Tama, Ngäti Mutunga, Ngäti Maru Wharanui; as Ngāti Apa.

It will also be expressed a couple of weeks away, in the choice we can make to ‘GO MĀORI ’ - to get interested, to get involved and to get enrolled. The Māori option campaign opens on 3 April and provides the ‘once in every five years’ opportunity to sign on the Māori Roll.

Getting ‘on the roll’ gives us the possibility of thirteen Māori seats in the House; it gives us all the change to determine the type of political representation we want.

I want to share a few ideas about this concept of politics. Thirteen years ago, Ngāti Kahungunu man, Ross Himona, wrote a piece for Te Karere Ipurangi which raised some ideas about Māori politics.

“Maori politics are not an appendage of the Parliamentary system, or a brown imitation of it.

Maori politics are practised with great gusto, much noise, good humour, and sometimes too with considerable acrimony, just like the other variety, up and down the country every day, on almost every marae.

Maori politics are also practised by the wise and respected, exerting quiet influence over the more visible noise makers, just like the other variety…….

Maori politics are very effectively practised by our womenfolk quietly getting on with the real business while the men prance and bluster; just like the other variety”.

Contrary perhaps to conventional expectation that the Māori Party would take some time to learn the parliamentary protocols, we have hit the ground running. And it has been our kaupapa, our tikanga, our experiences gained on marae such as this one, that have given us a solid grounding to understand Standing Orders.

Māori Politics is really just another name for life as we know it.

Life in its rich splendour.

It’s about

§ Runanga dynamics,

§ line dancing and tai chi,

§ looking after your feet,

§ eating five or more servings of fresh fruit and vegetables a day;

§ touch rugby or waka ama;

§ inter marae pā wars;

§ saying our karakia;

§ going to our river, our moana, our maunga when we need to;

§ taking our medication;

§ spending time with our mokopuna, our nannies, our koro, our whānau;

§ and it’s about laughing a little, laughing a lot every day.

Talking about laughter, did you know that up to eighty muscles are used during a hearty laugh, the blood pressure rises, the heart beats faster and blood oxygen levels increase. It’s got to be good for you.

In fact, a study released last year by German gelotologist (they study laughter) Professor Gunther Sickl, revealed that a one-minute guffaw has the same health benefits as a 45-minute gym workout!

That will be something to bear in mind today when we enjoy the thrill of watching the ten-minute blockbuster of Paekakariki twin octogenarians, Pearl Mills and Florrie Ward, who were attacked by a bull in Raumati, and then next minute became glamorous animated cartoon characters of the big screen.

Perhaps most interesting of all the laughter facts found on Google, was the fact that while children laugh an average of 400 times a day, adults laugh only about 17 times a day. I’m going to make it my personal ambition to try to make up the missing 383 laughs today!

That last fact is another great reason for ensuring we have as much focus on our young as we do our kaumatua and kuia. We need to learn from each other - it’s good for our souls, our hearts, our health.

We need to share our stories -

§ I’ll teach you how to use a crochet hook if you tell me what to do with an Ipod;

§ we can listen to the DVD and the LP;

§ swap tales of cod-liver oil, maltexo, and rescue remedy;

§ compare the treasures from the Singer Sewing Machine to the brand-labels of today;

§ or contrast the box brownie with the digital cameras so small they fit in your pocket.

Many of you will be familiar with the _expression:

Ko te amorangi ki mua; Ko te hapa i o ki muri.

It is generally applied as guidance for performance on the marae - If all goes well in the background, all will be presented well in the front.

But what I believe it also tells us is that when we are all working purposefully towards the common goal, based on the same beliefs and values, the desired outcomes will be achieved. We can each have our different roles and responsibilities in whānau and hapū affairs - and we should maintain these no matter what life stage.

We can each have distinctive roles in health promotion or health and social services, while still working together for health in Kapiti.

This is what health is all about. It is not just about disease treatment plans, or wound management, but it is also about exercising our minds, healing our spirits, restoring our sense of pride as whānau.

Our biggest challenge today and every day, is about what works in keeping us well. This may take bold action - challenging our families to alter their eating habits and establish exercise routines in order to confront diabetes. Or it may mean, like my friend Hone, being upfront and politicizing our people about smoking.

It is not just about saying NO - say no to smoking, to teenage sex, to ‘P’, to foods that aren’t good for you. We also need other approaches to achieve the same end.

It is about saying YES to new and innovative ways, to taking the risk, making the change, facing ourselves.

I know we can do it. Occasions like the Kapiti Healthfest just make me even more convinced of our immense potential as whānau and families to manage our health and well-being in a way which enhances all of our lives.

It takes persistence. It takes commitment. And it takes people. Finally, I want to honour the devotion of a huge amount of volunteers who promote community health; the whānau and family members who reinforce healthy lifestyles, and all the agencies and community groups doing everything in your power to make the difference.

Rapua te huarahi whanui, Hei ara whakapiri i nga iwi i runga i te whakaaro kotahi

Seek the broad highway that will unite the people towards a common goal

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