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Tariana Turia: Maori Health Development Hui

Tu Kaha 2008 Conference

Central Regional DHB Maori Health Development Conference, Palmerston North

Hon Tariana Turia, Co-leader of the Maori Party

Wednesday 24 September 2008; 9.00am

I am glad that this hui is happening today.

Yesterday there was only one place that I wanted to be.

That place, was to be by my mokopuna, as she gave birth to Nga Wairiki Pahia Ramiha Potaka Turia-Gowler; all seven pounds four of him.

The first breath of life is the ultimate celebration of whanau ora.

We celebrate the collective strength of generations; the power and vigour of our unique whakapapa; the all-embracing warmth of whanaungatanga.

It is, indeed, a rich and abundant context with which to consider the successes, leadership and strengths of Maori health development across the Central Region.

When I started to prepare for this hui today, I typed in the words ‘tu kaha’ to see what would be on the programme today.

It came up with mana wahine; touch rugby; Jiu Jitsu; a whanau trust, bilingual education; rangatahi skills; hip hop; Maori netball; a housing trust; a budget advice, advocacy and support service and a programme to manage healthy stress in the workplace.

And all of that before I even found this hui – the first central region DHB Maori Health Development Conference.

And I thought to myself, how appropriate – that the fulsome diversity of life is in itself fundamental to Maori health development in the Central Region.

It seems to me entirely consistent with the theme for day one of this conference - he taonga whakakaha te rerekeetanga – from diversity comes strength.

Actually, this concept, of unity through diversity, is one which we also live by in the Maori Party.

The colours of the Maori Party, red, white and black, are inspired by the whakatauaki of Kingi Potatau Te Wherowhero.

Kotahi te kohao o te ngira e kuhuna ai te miro ma, te miro pango me te miro whero.

There is a single eye of the needle through which the white, black and red threads must pass.

As a party, we are motivated by the richness of this proverb in every action we take.

We wear our colours with pride, recognising that our colours represent the many paths, and the many peoples, that have come together to make Aotearoa our home – our pathway forward to the future.

And so we commend you at this hui, for your commitment to acknowledging that the diverse range of Maori health activities and providers in the Central Region is in fact an enormous strength.

It is about understanding and learning from the diverse experiences you all bring, in order that you can move forward together.

I want to congratulate all the kaimahi across the Capital and Coast, Hawkes Bay, Hutt Valley, Mid Central, Wairarapa and Whanganui District Health Boards for the initiative to build on your strengths, to celebrate your successes, and to prioritise your future.

Tu Kaha 2008 is an ideal opportunity to gather your breath, and prepare for building the momentum to improve Maori health outcomes in this region.

And what a lot there is to celebrate.

I have been reflecting on some of the exciting developments that have emerged from this region in advancing hauora.

There is the willingness to listen and learn, as demonstrated in the commitment to a twice-yearly Maori patient and their whanau satisfaction survey initiated by the Hutt Valley District Health Board.

This is an area of great interest to the Maori Party.

We believe it is important that the community receives accurate information about the performance of hospitals, PHOs and DHBs, including adverse events.

And indeed, we are so heartened by the commitment of the Hutt Valley DHB, that in our election policy, we will be announcing that the performance of hospitals, PHOs and DHBs, should be reported publically every three months, in order to ensure improved quality and appropriateness of services.

Across in the Hawkes Bay, there is the programme, Whanau Mai – celebrated as the first DHB in Aotearoa to implement a kaupapa Maori ante-natal programme for Maori mothers to be.

After the last 24 hours, of course my interest in this initiative is heightened – but I think it is exciting to see our own kaupapa driving forward initiatives such as in antenatal education.

Our mokopuna’s arrival in the world yesterday was not an easy path for any of us. There were complications, and with that, the heart-wrenching perspective that there is really nothing of more importance to our survival, than our health, our mauri ora.

All 32 of us, came together, to welcome our new arrival.

To assist us through the challenges of the passage, we all drew on the wairua, the spiritual sustenance that empowers us in times of trial.

We endeavoured to demonstrate manaakitanga towards the whanau as a whole; in doing so, seeking to encourage us all to remain positive, and focused on the wellbeing of the baby waiting to be born.

We knew that our greatest resource was each other; the pursuit of kotahitanga was all the foundation we needed.

These kaupapa that we all rely on every day, are about recognising our strengths; they are essential to our achievements.

The Maori Health Care Service Plan for Midcentral DHB clearly identifies this as part of the vision for your future.

In the service plan it describes the vision of Te Pae Hauora o Ruahine o Tararua in the following way:

Kia ora ko te whanau ; me tautoko nga whanau Maori kia tino hauora ai, kia noho ara ai ratou.

It is all about supporting families to achieve their maximum health and wellbeing. It is about nurturing and cherishing mokopuna, tamariki, rangatahi, pakeke, kuia, kaumatua.

The plan also talks about some key guiding principles:

• ensuring Maori are able to access services when they are needed;

• following Maori models for wellness and care;

• providing capacity building and service expansion of iwi/Maori providers;

• improving inter-sectoral communications and relationships.

We in the Maori Party agree that the focus of supporting and upskilling iwi/Maori health providers is particularly important.

We congratulate this region, for the project funded by the Maori Provider Development Scheme which included increasing the numbers of Maori health workers in management positions.

We are committed towards increasing the supply of quality health workers. We particularly support a shift in the emphasis of health investment towards primary care. And indeed we expect the Maori health workforce to get ‘equal work for equal pay’.

A key motivation for us in any discussions around the health sector, will be to review the work conditions, pay and training opportunities for those working in the elderly, disability and home care sector.

We must do better in valuing the people who do so much to enhance whanau ora, to ensure well integrated and holistic support is available to individuals and whanau.

Finally, I want to commend the central region for your commitment to an overarching regional clinical services plan, the Connected Communities Plan.

This, and initiatives such as the Central Cancer Network, provide me with confidence that regional co-ordination and collaboration will be a significant step in improving the sustainability and the success of your services.

It is really great to hear of the way in which clinicians and managers from DHBs, primary health, NGO providers and others are working with Maori cancer control coordinators and an evolving nursing model to support the care of cancer patients across the continuum – from screening to treatment to palliative care.

This is a fantastic initiative – and my great hope is the central strength of this strategy is wrapped around whanau as the key to whanau ora, and positive health outcomes.

It has been a real pleasure to be invited to share in your successes today.

The significant contribution you are all making to Maori health development across this region must be commended, and I wish you continuing strength in planning your priorities for the future.

We in the Maori Party look forward to doing all that we can to support a strong, caring and vital health workforce.

A workforce who will not hesitate to advocate for better services for our people; a workforce which enthusiastically seeks out solutions to ensure health outcomes.

Kia kaha tonu koutou


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