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Turia: The Maraeroa Way

Maraeroa Marae Health Clinic

Te Wana Accreditation celebrations

Friday 23 May 2008; 10am-3pm

Hon Tariana Turia,

Health Spokesperson for the Maori Party

[check against delivery]

Ka kite te kanohi... Ka hoki nga mahara; I see the faces and memories flood through

As we approached Maraeroa, the memories came flooding back. The people who have given so much to this community. Alf and Mere Potaka. Aunty Sally Marshall. My whanaunga Ernie Takarangi. Iwi and Charlie Paaka. And just so many more that we remember even if I have been unable to name them today.

And I think of the people who are still so involved in this community. Val Collins who is a lifetime member of the Maraeroa Marae Association. Hoki and Bill Thompson. Mere Stewart. Laurie and Lynette Porima. Mike Dwyer. The Tahau whanau. And I know too that the Tokelau community and our Cook Island whanaunga used to have church services here.

The name Maraeroa has always been associated with manaakitanga. Perhaps it was the influence of the previous inhabitant of this site the old Porirua Tavern?

Or perhaps it is more to do with an explanation passed on by the late Alf Potaka, that the name of this marae, Maraeroa, is a shortened form of Maara Roa – and takes its name from an unnamed woman who was renown for her hospitality. According to legend, she fed and sheltered travellers or visitors at this place.

When it came to naming the wharenui, this woman of such over-flowing generosity was remembered with the name, Ukaipo Hiato.

So named because the woman who acted as ukaipo – the source of sustenance, our home – became ‘hiato’ – a place of gathering or bringing together.

And so I come here to honour her, to honour Ukaipo Hiato, to honour Maara Roa – the gathering place for so many.

Just how widely that manaaki was spread, was evident on 30 November 1996, at the opening and dedication of the new meeting house and dining room.

Over 1000 people attended as the late Dame Te Atairangikaahu and senior elders opened the building; the Waikato connections reflecting the relationships to the Tainui canoe.

There were people from Waipoua Marae in Ngati Whatua in attendance too, reflecting their respect for Ned Nathan who had been a driving force in establishing this marae.

Whitireia Polytechnic art students painted a mural on the dining room ceiling, while graduates of the marae’s carving school had contributed the carvings in the wharenui.

I am reminded of all of the hard work that hard taken place since construction began in 1982 – I know that just down the road at Te Kura Maori o Porirua the concrete floor has been laid and the whare kai walls are being rebuilt there – and I can only hope it isn’t going to be fourteen years before their buildings are completed.

Through it all Ngati Toa Rangatira stood alongside, supporting the vision of the people for an intertribal marae in Porirua.

This context is an incredibly important setting from which to celebrate today, your achievements in gaining Te Wana accreditation.

Te Wana and quality go together, as closely as Maraeroa and manaakitanga.

The Te Wana programme is all about establishing a quality management system, creating a culture of reflection and continuous improvement, strengthening its network.

Just as Ukaipo Hiato welcomed all, feeding and caring for visitors with open arms, a Te Wana accreditation tells us that this is a health centre which truly cares for the needs of its community.

I am just so proud that the Maraeroa Marae Health Clinic has made a commitment to quality community service for your community.

I have spent many hours sitting with our people in the homes of this community. Homes which are rich in love and poor in material resources. Homes which are warm and welcoming yet in dire need of eco-fitting.

That the people of Maraeroa have lived with such difficult living conditions and yet still met every responsibility to host with style is a tribute to the strength of the whanau living here.

I was reminded the other day of an observation made by a German missionary nearly two hundred years ago,

"These natives are a peculiar people. They don't measure their wealth by what they own but by what they give away. We must teach them to be mean."

For tangata whenua, our mana is enhanced by providing the very best care, the most excellent hospitality, the most succulent crayfish, the demonstration of kindness and respect.

As we say - Ma roto hoki kia ora ka pai te korero – if the inner person is refreshed, the conversation will be sweet.

Just last year, Fa’amatuainu Wayne Poutoa was awarded the 2007 World of Difference for the work he has been doing with Streets Ahead 237. Inspired by the message, Brothers not Colours, Wayne has got out there and built relationships with all the youth gangs in Porirua, showing them the visible difference – an alternative to gang life.

And that’s what really impresses me about the mahi you do here.

You are not only working together to do the very best that you can with cervical screening, asthma, diabetes, whanau ora, tamariki ora, wellchild checks health promotion and so much more – but you are doing exactly what Te Wana encourages us to do – you are constantly looking for ways that you can be a service of excellence to a community that deserves nothing less.

While some people in this land believe that the only solutions for young people at risk are a heavy jail sentence or a hefty fine, Streets Ahead 237 showcases a whole new way of working with young people.

A new way which is about expressing love and compassion, a place to rest, a space for peace and quiet. A way which Wayne has described as “our own indigenous, Porirua, Social work-style model on how to reach young people”.

That is the Maraeroa way.

The Maraeroa Health Clinic has always been known for expressing manaakitanga as part of your philosophy for doing your very best. That has meant you have targeted children, the elderly, the beneficiaries, those who may have been missing out.

Your clinic focuses on taking healthcare to the whanau – looking after nanny and the rest of the whanau, while ostensibly there to check up on baby.

Te Wana is about taking action, having a quality work-plan to follow and an accreditation review programme to guide your future work.

And what Te Wana recognises, is that continuous quality improvement requires a flexible approach which meets the needs of its community.

Maraeroa has always stood here, firmly fixed in your community yet looking out for new ways, other means of reflecting manaakitanga. That may mean training programmes, it may mean kapa haka, it many mean the unique respect between cultures, the spirit of unity that is always experienced here.

This is a community that lives by the concepts of hospitality and mutual obligation.

He reo aroha, he atawhai hoki a te tangata ki tetahi atu.

I am so proud of all that is represented here.

I am proud that you have never learnt to be mean.

I am proud that the memories of Alf and Mereana Potaka, of Ukaipo Hiato, of all of those who are so ever present in this place surround us with their legacy.

And I am proud to honour Maara Roa – the gathering place which has now welcomed in another newcomer – but a newcomer who has been with you from day one.

The newcomer is of course - the award of Te Wana Quality Accreditation – the true mark of manaakitanga that is associated with the name of Maraeroa Marae.


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