Speech: Turia - Māori Mai, Māori Atu Hui-a-Tau 2012
Hon Tariana Turia
Associate Minister of Health
Thursday 15 November
Māori Mai, Māori Atu Hui-a-Tau 2012
Novotel Hotel, Tutanekai Street, Rotorua
[Delivered on behalf of the Minister by Te Orohi Paul]
“Kia Takoto Te Manuka” – Is Whānau Ora Working for you?”
E ngā mana, e ngā
reo, e ngā tini karangatanga ki runga i a koutou, tēnā
Te tuatahi. E koro, e te matua, Rawiri Te Whare, kua takahia te ara whānui a Tāne. Haere, haere, haere atu rā e koro, okioki ai ki waenga i ngā matua tipuna.
E te hunga ora, tēnā anō koutou katoa.
Ngā Ngaru Hauora o Aotearoa and Te Roopu Mate Huka o Aotearoa – thank you for inviting me to speak today.
I want to acknowledge the tremendous amount of work both your organisations are undertaking to ensure that our people get the best support they can to improve their health and well-being.
This hui occurs, of course, in the shadow of the loss of one of the great leaders of Te Arawa, Rāwiri Te Whare. It is particularly poignant, as we consider the challenge before us, to think of the impact that diabetes played on his well-being and his early passing.
Over this week there have been numerous stories relayed about his achievements, particularly recognising his leadership in advancing the Central North Island forestry and land settlements.
But as he lay at Ohaaki Marae, there was one tribute that really stood out. His daughter, Deanna McCormack, expressed the grief of her whānau:
He was just the most lovely, honest, hard-working Dad, koro and husband - he's going to be missed. We all lived in the same street, it's going to be hard for all of us. We used to see him going home, the kids would run up to see him”
It is a story which resonates with Whānau Ora – the memory of a man whom the mokopuna clung to; a man who was the centre of gravity for all the whānau around him.
And it reminded me, again, how precious the gift of life is; how our greatest achievements are found in the hearts of those who will keep our memories alive for the generations to come.
It is vital that each of us make magic memories; that each of us appreciate the difference we can make in our everyday influence of those closest and dearest – that is Whānau Ora in practice.
To those who have come here today to share their stories, learn from each other and leave the hui more enriched, I congratulate you on the commitment you are making to ensure a better pathway for your futures.
We are now in our second year of Whānau Ora and I have to say I have been heartened by the enthusiasm of our communities, our health providers, and in particular those whanau who have taken up the challenge – kia takoto te manuka.
It is not easy to take a break out of ‘te ao hurihuri’ – to stop and reflect and wonder what could we do better?
As whānau, you have taken up that challenge to work in a collaborative way to bring families together and to build your own capacity.
While health organisations, Māori providers and government agencies are part of Whānau Ora to assist us in our plans - the ultimate goal is that our families will become independent from the state, with their goals and plans for the future.
I can’t emphasise enough the importance of whānau working for their future.
Successful families are families who work together for the better of everyone in the family. The importance of building capability so whānau can identify and address their own priorities is the point I particularly want to make.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that health services can stop doing their jobs. But more importantly, it means re-orientating our focus to place whānau in the driving seat. And I know that you are here today because you believe in whānau.
One of the biggest challenges in implementing Whānau Ora is keeping the focus on whānau and making sure things don’t get tied up in bureaucratic processes. We are building provider capacity and capability but need to find innovative ways of building whānau capability.
It is important that those working directly with whānau understand they are not there to ‘fix up’ whānau, but rather that they are there to make sure whānau can access the range of support they need to find their own solutions.
Whānau Ora heralds a transformation of our own futures by taking control of our lives. This transformation is not just grounded in optimism - it is pragmatic, meaningful to each whānau, and firmly driven by outcomes.
I want to commend the vision of the original Whānau Ora Taskforce, championed by Professor Sir Mason Durie.
The vision laid out in their 2010 report bears repeating, until we know it off by heart. That report talked about a focus on outcomes: that whānau will be self-managing; living healthy lifestyles; participating fully in society; confidently participating in te ao Māori, economically secure and successfully involved in wealth creation; and cohesive, resilient and nurturing.
There’s a lot there – and it will be great to see over these next two days whether the kōrero around Whānau Ora focuses on the width and breadth of all of these aspirations.
It certainly reinforces to me, there is nothing like a tickbox, checklist that we can apply against Whānau Ora – the only ones that can really tell us whether Whānau Ora is working are whānau themselves.
Healing and addressing health and wellbeing issues for Māori whānau starts with the whānau making informed decisions. This requires that individuals and their whanau are placed at the centre of an inter-connected approach to healthcare.
What we know is that Whānau Ora is growing and evolving on a huge scale.
For those who like the numbers – there are now some thirty-four Whānau Ora collectives, involving more than 180 health and social service providers from throughout the country. That’s 3000 whānau including 33,000 individuals who have put together whānau plans through the Whānau Integration, Innovation and Engagement Fund.
But alongside the quantitative, we absolutely need the qualitative stories to keep us inspired and uplifted; to remember what it is all about.
And that’s why I want to really congratulate Nga Ngaru Hauora and Te Roopu Mate Huka o Aotearoa, for your initiative in bringing together Māori providers, whānau, hapū , iwi, koeke, nurses and tauira to share and compare; to dream and to debate; to help unpack the journey that you each have had in pursuing Whānau Ora.
In itself, the range of players in Whānau Ora – the diversity of your lives and your aspirations – is one of the greatest strengths. Importantly, it is the sum total of your combined efforts that will really embed the approach of Whānau Ora in the most enduring way.
Providers are working together as a collective to transform the way they deliver services. Collectives develop and refine their approach to ensure that they meet the needs of the whānau they serve.
For instance, Te Wai Pounamu Whānau Ora Collective is developing six hub sites across the South Island. Over time, each hub will develop services that reflect the individual needs of whānau within their particular communities.
What we hope, also, is that the approach being demonstrated so strongly within and across our whānau will also have an impact on the way government agencies deliver their services.
As an example, the new Diabetes Care Improvement Packages, are a way for DHBs and primary care networks to work together to identify cardiovascular disease and diabetes sooner.
It is expected that these ‘packages of care’ will enable innovation in service delivery and more focused activity to assist whānau to better manage these conditions – and should build on the good practice already provided. I look forward to your feedback to see whether they are delivered in ways which are whole-of-family orientated – which take into account the bigger picture.
Finally, I want to encourage you all to really believe that your feedback matters – it matters to me; it matters to Government; but most of all it matters to the world our mokopuna will inherit.
Your stories make up the amazingly rich tapestry of experience that will in itself be our greatest legacy. You are learning, you are listening; you are leading an exciting pathway ahead – and we will all be stronger for hearing your stories.
One of the challenges, however, is communicating the good stories of whānau change without breaching the privacy of the whānau concerned. Deep change processes take time, and there are ups and downs for every whānau. Whānau stories are often moving and exciting, but it is important that the sharing of these stories does not expose whānau to public scrutiny and criticism.
And when we’re talking 33,000 individuals who have put together whānau plans – there’s every likelihood that there will be a few who suffer the glare of the political spotlight. But we must not become disheartened, we must not allow any barriers to get in our way.
An independent evaluation Te Puni Kōkiri commissioned on the impact of the so-called WIIE Fund (the Whānau Integration, Innovation and Engagement Fund) found that the bringing whānau together, backed up by good quality facilitation, is transformative in itself.
This is a really positive indication of the impact that the fund is having but gathering a stronger evidence base will be a priority for the fund, and the wider Whānau Ora effort, going forward. And your stories today are an important part of that – building and creating our own histories; shaping the public perceptions of Whānau Ora in a way that reflects the experience we are having.
I’m confident we’re making progress towards a better way of life for our people. Kia kaha, kia maia, kia manawanui.