Turia: Te Wakahuia Manawatu Hauora Trust Board
Te Wakahuia Manawatu Hauora Trust Board
Friday 29 August 2008; 10am
Hon Tariana Turia, Co-leader of the Maori Party
I am thrilled to be here today to celebrate the latest in a long line of successes for Te Wakahuia Manawatu Hauora Trust Board.
It is a great moment in your history, to be here today, to celebrate your accreditation with Healthcare Aotearoa.
It is a moment that represents the culmination of a splendid journey, in your aspirations to improve the health status of Maori in this community.
This journey, as you have travelled the forest of Papaioea; taking your source from the strength of Te Marae o Hine, has been one in which you have sought to meet the needs of your whanau, hapu and iwi.
I want to acknowledge too, Ngati Rangitane, Ngati Raukawa, Muaupoko and Ngati Kahungunu, for your tautoko as Te Wakahuia has travelled this path.
The concept of wakahuia is one that is particularly apt when we think about hauora – our lifeforce, our health, our well-being.
In the Maori Party we live by our belief that our people are our wealth.
The wakahuia then, is the perfect image of the vision you hold for Manawatu.
The wakahuia is the keeper of precious memories, the sacred heirlooms passed down from our tribal leaders for safekeeping.
Every wakahuia is unique. No design was repeated twice on the an ornately carved vessel in which the treasures of the highest ranked chiefs were held.
In particular, the wakahuia would contain the prized white tipped tail feathers of the huia bird, the feathers, combs and heitiki that were worn on the heads of our most revered leaders; sacred, tapu; precious.
What better metaphor could there possibly be for the sacred health of our tamariki, our wahine, our tane, our whanau?
For some people, the name Highbury has been associated with gangs, youth crime and violence. That association is absolutely and completely out of touch with the amazing work that is actually going on in this community.
I think about Te Aroha Noa early childhood centre – which bases its whole kaupapa on the importance of involving whanau and particularly parents in the dynamic challenge of early childhood learning.
I think about Ngati Tuwharetoa entrepreneur, Peter Butler, and the inspiration he draws out in us all, through his work with Start Whanau.
That programme, a transition service to enable rangatahi to take action in the challenges of careers and future pathways, is a real success story for the Highbury Whanau Centre. The Highbury Whanau Centre, living up to its name, tries to do what it can to provide a one stop shop to meet the needs of its community.
We must invest in innovation – such as the Highbury Hiphop programme which brings together break-dancing, music, rapping and graffiti art to show our young people at their best.
Highbury has now become associated with sports, with alternative education, with planning for employment, and with academic and scholarship success.
One of the most exciting developments of this project has been the partnership between Massey University, the Highbury Community Centre and the Tertiary Education Commission, in creating role models for the future.
And so I mihi to Lisa Kimura, Mihikore Davis, Jonathon Howe, Veronica Tawhai and her brothers Ruepena and Daniel, Teresa Ngaruhe and all of the other incredible young people that have grown up in this community, and gone out to strive to reach the stars, to achieve their personal and global potential.
They are, indeed, the treasures of any wakahuia; the dreams fulfilled; the aspirations realised, of the whanau of Highbury.
I am drawn to that whakatauki that we associate with wakahuia – he huruhuru o nga manu – birds of a feather.
The precious heirlooms of the whanau have been cared for, have been loved, and now are strong enough to fly on a wing and a prayer into the wide world.
Te Wakahuia Manawatu Hauora has been right there, providing the nest to nurture and cherish all those who come within its reach.
You have done the mahi in clinics and home visits; in hui, in workshops; in mobile nursing services; in tamariki ora programmes.
You have travelled far and wide; and opened your doors to the people of Feilding, Woodville, Pahiatua, Ashhurst and Palmerston North.
You have been supported in this work by Manawhenua Hauora – the consortium of all iwi throughout the DHB.
But I return to you, Te Wakahuia Manawatu Hauora – to congratulate you and honour you for the distinctive presence you hold in this community, for Maori, by Maori, and for the benefit of all.
You, too, live by the belief that people are our greatest wealth.
You have drawn on tikanga Maori to strengthen the philosophy of holistic health.
You are truly of this community.
Your celebration is their celebration; your success is their success.
And so, I acknowledge everyone here, for the part you have played in supporting and advancing Te Wakahuia Hauora as an organisation that Highbury and indeed greater Manawatu, can be well proud of.