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Turia: Tamariki Ora Regional Hui

Hora Te Pai Health Services
Te Runanga o Ati Awa ki Whakarongotai Inc
Hon Tariana Turia, Co-leader of the Maori Party
‘Moving forward with the times’
Tamariki Ora Regional Hui; Friday 16 May 2008

Our children are the living messages we will send to a time we will not see. They are the reflection of our values, our priorities; the investment we offer for the future.

The challenge that we are each charged with, is to ensure we have done right by them, that we have met our responsibilities to the legacy we leave.

Today, as we focus on our tamariki and Tamariki Ora Services, we will have every opportunity to examine our visions and aspirations for whanau ora.

I want to congratulate Hora Te Pai for your innovative leadership in going where I believe no one has gone before.

Some of you may remember the immortal words of Captain James Kirk of Star Trek fame, in the opening segment of every show:

Space, the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise.
Its continuing mission: To explore strange new worlds. To seek out new life and new civilizations. To boldly go where no one has gone before.


Well today, here in the Paekakariki Holiday Park, we are committing to the voyage of the starship, Hauora.

Its continuing mission: to explore the world of whanau ora.
To enhance the quality of our lives, to move forward, and to advance, boldly, where no one has gone before.

This hui is a brilliant space in time to critically review the services here on the Kapiti Coast, to share your achievements and frustrations as providers, to dream, to catch up, to korero.

My mission to you, should you choose to accept it, is to keep your focus firmly targeted on our tamariki.

I remember being told there are two important bequests we gift our babies – one is roots, the other is wings.

Every child that is born, is the child of our whanau, our hapu, our iwi. It’s about remembering who the ‘we’ is in iwi.

We need to take these obligations and responsibilities seriously and ensure our children are loved and protected. We need to strengthen our roots, to nurture and feed our very foundations.

But we must also ensure that the rights of every child and young person are recognised and that they each enjoy good health, education, safety and security in order to soar.

Each of you has the opportunity to protect and preserve the rights of every child to be grounded in who they are, for every child to fly.

We have to wake up to the cold reality of the widening gap between rich and poor, the fact that one in five children are living in poverty.

We know, for instance, that:

• a child growing up in poverty is three times more likely to be sick;

• that half of New Zealand children under five have cavities and decayed teeth;

• that we are seeing more and more children admitted to hospital with serious bacterial infections, tuberculosis, rheumatic fever – and other conditions linked to over-crowding and socio-economic disadvantage.

But just as we know these things to be true, we know absolutely that whanau, hapu and iwi have the right to the highest attainable level of health and wellbeing.

We believe that free and timely access to high quality and appropriate healthcare is a fundamental right for whanau, hapu and iwi.

We understand that tamariki ora is about the health of our culture, identity, and language.
It is about our right to determine our own health priorities and strategies for development, and to participate in all decisions that affect us.

We must uphold our rights to our traditional medicines and health practices; and to our distinctive spiritual relationship with our lands, maunga and waters.

The achievement of tamariki ora requires access to all medical institutions and health services and gold-standard treatment without discrimination.

Tamariki ora is manifest through te hauora, te waiora, te mauri ora; through the wisdom of tangata whenua health and intellectual traditions.

The very fact of this day today, is living proof that whänau, hapü and iwi have developed effective and viable knowledge and systems of health that continue to contribute to the health and survival of tangata whenua.

You have set your kaupapa.
You have made the commitment to boldly go where your tupuna have gone before.
Your focus is on tamariki ora; your outcomes will be demonstrated in whanau ora.

We must stand strong and stay united, in the goals we articulate today, and the outcomes we pursue.

We have to grasp the opportunity to be truly self-driven, to be self-determining in all we do, and to do it without fear.

Ma ratou anake ratou e korero, ma tatou anake tatou e korero, ehara ma etahi ake.

We will be our own assessors, they in turn will be theirs, it is not for others to judge.


I am sometimes teased that our mokopuna, Piata, is modelled on the most precious of Princesses, the most treasured of taonga.

And in a week in which I have had the incredible privilege of being in the company of the beautiful Miss World New Zealand, Kahurangi Taylor, as well as Miss World, I can truly tell you that the beauty of our people is almost beyond belief.

But we must believe, we must remain passionate in our efforts to ensure our children know they are unique, special, exceptional beings. Not for us an approach which says ‘children should be seen and not heard’.
We want our children to be seen, to be cared for, to be heard, to be hugged, to be protected, to be challenged, to be loved.
As Maori health providers, you are not ruled by a checklist of health indicators that can be charted and compared and contrasted.

You must be ruled by the kaupapa handed down from our ancestors, which speak to us of whänau whose wairua is strong and vibrant; who have fully developed their spiritual, intellectual, emotional and physical well-being, whanau ora.

I am extremely pleased to be with you today, as we embark on this adventure of enterprise and enthusiasm, to pursue health and wellbeing by driving our own solutions.

The Maori Party celebrates whanau oranga as the logical measure of healthy people, living longer – he iwi ora.

I wish you a very successful hui today, and every day, as we work together, towards the future we dare to achieve.


ENDS

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