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Tipu Ora Graduation: Te Muka

Tipu Ora Graduation: Te Muka

Delivered on behalf of Tariana Turia, Co-leader of the Maori Party

Friday 4 July 2008

It is an honour to be here, in the home of Kati Huirapa o Arowhenua takata.

I stand in awe of the might of the Maunga, Aoraki; overwhelmed with the power of the torrents that rush through that which is Waitaki.

The scene is indeed set for a revolution.

And so I turn my gaze across the globe.

A fortnight today on the 18th July; Nelson Mandela turns ninety.

In the United States, they have decided to celebrate his birthday by President Bush pushing through a Bill to finally remove this international leader, from a terrorism watch list.

That a man, who along with other members of African National Congress was still on this list because of their fight against South Africa’s apartheid regime, tells us more about the US Government than it does about the former President of South Africa.

But for the rest of the world, we celebrate a man who has led his life in fighting against the injustice of legalized racial segregation. We treasure a man who has dedicated his life to change on a global scale. And we honour his legacy.

But when an interviewer asked Mr Mandela how he had transformed the world, he responded in true humility:

"You don't get it, do you? Nothing of what happened in South Africa was the work of any one individual.

The transformation of South Africa came out of a partnership between many, many people".

I wanted to tell this story today, because in many ways, it reflects to me the revolution that I call Tipu Ora.

I’m not sure if Kingi Porima is our Nelson Mandela – or perhaps it’s Hohi – but I’m pretty sure that the impact of kaupapa Maori in the Tipu Ora Services is in every aspect of its delivery, an absolute revolution.

Tipu Ora is the revolution of our whanau to restore, heal and strengthen our families to be the best we possibly can.

It is indeed a partnership between many, many people.

Tipu Ora is driven by our tikanga and kaupapa – principles such as kaitiakitanga over our own hauora; manaakitanga which embraces us all – that sense of feeling welcome, that sense of coming home.

Tipu Ora has revitalised our precious practices which truly sanctify the value of whakapapa.

Tipu Ora has grown and flourished within an environment which encourages the use of te reo Maori.

Tipu Ora, is at its very essence, an expression of rangatiratanga.

It is these kaupapa which will transform our whanau, and ultimately our hapu, our iwi, our world.

It is always a pleasure and a privilege to come to a graduation of Tipu Ora students.

You stand poised on the edge of change.

Equipped with the skills that you have acquired through your wananga, you are ready to take on the world. You have done the mahi, the workshops, the individual work, the lectures, the journals, the hui.

You have studied the modules, become proficient in your knowledge of te reo Maori, Te Tiriti o Waitangi, hauora and tikanga.

You have developed a sense of what works, how Maori models of health can be used to restore and revitalise our mauri, understood how our tikanga applies in relation to working with whanau and tamariki.

In your learning, you have taken on the challenge of identifying the concepts, values, beliefs, protocols and kaupapa which help to make a difference.

And through it all, your participation in Tipu Ora has reminded you that the breath of life must be cherished as our greatest treasure.

Nelson Mandela once said that ‘children are the rock on which our future will be built’.

We must invest all of our knowledge and learning into ensuring their future is rock solid, their wellbeing is secure.

Your greatest challenge now, is to go out into the world, and take all of these lessons into our homes, our marae, our communities.

And along the way, you must never stop learning.

Learning doesn’t finish today, with the award of your tohu, the successful sum of your study measured by a certificate alone.

The important aspect of learning that we can all appreciate, is to know that once you actually put your learning into practice you realise exactly how much you don’t know!

We must look at every challenge as an opportunity to learn. I was reminded of this the other day, when I was talking to my husband George in the car, and expressing my frustrations about the technical complexities of my new blackberry phone, the DVD player, and other modern wonders.

Suddenly from the backseat piped up my six year old mokopuna, Piata. She told me “Nan, you have to learn to play with it”.

It was one of those wonderful learning moments when you realise how much you don’t know! Learning how to navigate my way around the technology suddenly became a lot clearer when I realised all I needed to do, was to perfect the art of being haututu.

And perhaps that’s one of your missions, should you choose to accept it. Not to become the Blackberry Queen – but to inspire and provoke the hunger to learn.

Change in our whanau will come out of a partnership between many, many people. Our whanau must feel empowered by the information you give them, but even more, they must be willing to believe that what you are showing them, will make their lives better.

It’s about walking the talk, leading by example.

I have always been saddened to see auahi kore providers turn to their smokes; or whanau workers talk to their children in ways which are not mana enhancing.

As hard as it is, we must remain as inspired tomorrow, as we are today; knowing that the foundation you have been given through Tipu Ora, will stand you in good stead for the future ahead.

I was looking through the Oldfriends site the other day, and I found a comment from Leah Lamont about her time at this marae.

These were her thoughts about Arowhenua Marae:

Time spent over these five years at the marae have given me a good grounding in life. If only more people could learn the respect found on the marae. I have carried this on through to my adult life. Aroha nui!

I wanted to share Leah’s thoughts because I think we sometimes overlook the extraordinary hope that we can find in the ordinary.

The time that Leah spent here will be a foundation for her future; a foundation which she wishes she could share with everyone else.

It’s that sort of strength and connection that I know Tipu Ora will give to all of the graduates here today.

We must all remain focused on the goal of transformation and remind ourselves constantly, that the change we want to see in the world begins with us.

Personal transformation can and does have global effects. The revolution that will save the world is ultimately a personal one, and your leadership is required to make it happen.

It’s not just about singing the waiata, preparing for powhiri, saying our karakia. It’s about following it through, thinking about the words we sing, reflecting on their importance.

It’s about challenging any view which sees health as an individual’s responsibility; or treatment as being confined to medical models only.

It’s about understanding what collective care means – how we can truly look after each other, and live by an approach of whanau ora.

The strength of Maori cultural practices and processes is an amazing resource for us to draw on, and to turn to, in any situation.

I am really proud of you all for being prepared for the reality of the mahi that lies ahead, by investing in the wisdom of the knowledge passed down from generations beyond.

Indeed it seems to me, that the revolution you have willingly taken on, in succeeding in the Tipu Ora Way, is the most incredible force for transformation of our whanau, hapu and iwi.

It is a transformation for the people, by the people; inspired by the challenges that await you at the flax roots level, and grounded in the treasures that have been left us all.

I congratulate you all, and I wish you great courage and determination, to follow it through, to make your dreams happen.


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