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Turia Speech: Ngati Rangi Community Health Centre

Ngati Rangi Community Health Centre, Öhakune

Ten Year Celebration

Monday 6 November 2006; 2.00pm

Tariana Turia

Member of Parliament for Te Tai Hauauru

E rere kau mai te awa nui
mai te kähui maunga ki Tangaroa;
ko au te awa; ko te awa ko au

As we drove along the Parapara this morning my thoughts were with my cousin, Joan (Akapita).

Her distinctive presence, her strong opinions, even her snorting indignation when the odd mistake happened – made it very clear to us all, the vision she had for Maungarongo.

A big part of that vision was the Ngati Rangi Community Health Centre.

It was a vision she never lived to see. But there are two remarkable women who took up that vision and made it happen.

I want to pay tribute today to

the loyalty and passion of Bonnie Sue who has gifted so many years of her life to the dream; and

the initiative and tenacity of Rita Kaiwhare in her never-ending quest to search out new possibilities.

When Rita got on the phone to the Ministry, things happened. Your sheer persistence, your determination to get things going earnt Ngati Rangi Health a nationwide reputation which could not be ignored. And in doing so, you have gained our greatest respect.

You have worked hard to create a centre of excellence for rural health care, based here on the marae, and yet opening its doors to the people of Öhakune.

It is a vision in which responsibility for the marae was nurtured alongside the understanding of knowledge, respect and gratitude for whanau as a source of strength.

It was a vision in which whanau can continue to build themselves, to thrive in all senses of the word; embracing the promotion of good health and well-being.

It is a vision that we celebrate in true style today.

Ten years is a magnificent achievement and I am proud to be here with you all, to honour and pay my tributes to this decade of devotion.

I remember similar journeys to that which I made today, and Bonnie and Rita making the return trip to Whanganui; sharing experiences at Te Oranganui. You sought to develop the type of service you knew would work with the environment of Maungarongo; and would benefit all in Öhakune. Your perseverance has paid off.

The celebration is particularly special for me, as this year I also celebrate ten years as your Member of Parliament – and the birthday present I was gifted with, was the Maori Party’s first Bill being drawn out of the ballot – the Bill to repeal the Foreshore and Seabed Act.

The process of private members’ bills coming up through the ballot is a long-winded and complex one – I have heard it said that some bills never see the light of day.

So when I consider the fact that our Bill had only been in the ballot for thirty minutes before it was drawn, I absolutely believe what Aunty Julie always reminds me, it is the work of te hunga wairua.

Last week, Te Puke Karanga Hauora, as part of Pipiriki Marae, also celebrated its ten year birthday, and so it feels like a great time for all our whanau across the rohe.

And I want to also take this opportunity to acknowledge Taumarunui Community Kokiri Trust, who have also recently completed their accreditation.

Whanganui rohe is truly rich in the resource of our people.

But in recognizing our wealth, we also mourn our loss – those who have passed on before us who are so very much a part of this centre.

We think of Colin and Lynny Richards, Langi Taylor, Matiu Mareikura, Robert Pickery– they all poured their heart and soul into this place – and we are all better for it.

Na reira, haere koutou ki nga matua tipuna.

Their legacy has also reminded us that the responsibility of health work is for all of us to take up. We are all health workers- those who work here in the clinic and those who come to benefit from the services here.

We must take on the mission of those who have guided us so far – and take their passion for health into our homes, each of us becoming health workers within our whanau.

But there is another purpose for this special day today – it is to recognize your hard efforts and commitment as reflected in achieving Te Wana accreditation.

When I think of Te Wana, I think of our saying:

Toi tu te kupu; toi tu te mana; toi tu te whenua;

toi tu te whanganuitanga; toi tu te matua iwi.

This korero from the river is like Te Wana – it is a set of standards from which we develop a consistent, high level of quality across services – or across whanau.

Te Wana helps to guide staff; and to enable quality improvement, evaluation and accountability.

In other words, keeping true to what we say we will do. Toi tu te kupu.

It was developed in the mid 90s to help the community to help ourselves. Healthcare Aotearoa – a fabulous organisation may I say– picked it up and has been working really hard with iwi and marae social and health services, to use for quality assurance of their organisation.

I’m really proud of Health Care Aotearoa’s work in this area, and of course your vision and hard work in making sure your systems and services match up.

Te Wana is used to help you to assess your infrastructure and activities over a three-year cycle; resulting in accreditation by the Quality Improvement Council of Australasia.

And this is what I think is so exciting about the fact that Ngati Rangi Community Health Centre is today being recognised with this prestigious accreditation.

The highlight of Te Wana is that it is community driven. It is your activities, your needs, that determine your performance.

It may be tai chi, line dancing or kaumatua fitness; cervical screening; or tamariki ora. Or it may be rongoä clinics, mirimiri or the podiatrist clinic. The important thing is that the programme responds to what you, the community, want.

And it must also be responsive to the needs that may be as yet, unmet.

Does the alcohol and drug service cater for the savage threat of P upon your community?

How is Öhakune responding to the increasing harm caused by gambling addiction?

When you promote hauora, do you consider violence prevention in the homes as part of your aspirations?

Are your younger women aware of protecting their whare tangata, equipped with the skills and strategies to communicate effectively?

Te Wana allows you to use their standards to strengthen your community, and to advance onwards.

Today is a day to congratulate all the many kaitautoko, kaiäwhina, the workers that have helped to shape the vision that is Ngati Rangi Community Health.

There has been unswerving commitment – I think of Janey Dixon who was a foundation member –and is now the Chair of the Board; Tina Wallace – on to baby number 4 and still she and Sue McKay are nursing this community to good health; or Chrissie Renata – who tried to leave but was talked into coming back. And of course all our kaumatua and kuia who will be celebrated in fine style this coming Wednesday – as indeed they should be.

Finally, as we reflect on this last decade; I am in awe of the perseverance, the commitment and the unshakeable faith of the peoples of Whanganui in:

the ongoing pursuit of te awa tupua claims, the longest claim in the country;

the never-ending struggle for justice with Genesis and the action with the Environment Court;

the restoration of the Whanganui Courthouse under management by the Pakaitore Trust;

the awa films working party which worked alongside the River Queen;

the Te Awa Tupua exhibition at Te Papa;

right up to the latest action with the ploughing, weeding and gardening on four properties in Whanganui, in a move designed to reclaim properties which the Crown has land-banked.

I know that the intensity, the commitment and the heartache of all of these actions, has taken its toll on the health of our people.

And I know too, the anger and the frustration of a funding cycle that never covers the needs of real people; the pressures that may be brought to bear to force you from the care of Taumata Hauora to a mainstream service; the battle just to survive.

Te Wana will help with the skills and strategies to ensure a Maori health service can be sustained in the marae environment, and will grow the way you want it to.

I am honoured to be here today to share with you, in a day of pride and passion.

A day touched by the sadness of our losses, but a day also to gather our strengths for all that stretches out in front of us.

A day to celebrate all that will help us to achieve glowing health in all aspects of our identity, our culture, our spirit and our well-being.

Tena tatou katoa.


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