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The John McLeod Scholarship and the Te Apa Mareikura Awards

Hon Tariana Turia

Associate Minister of Health
5 December 2012 Speech

The John McLeod Scholarship and the Te Apa Mareikura Awards, Wellington Town Hall, Wellington

E ngā iwi e tau mai nei i tēnei pō ki te whakanui i ēnei tohu hauora, tēnā rā koutou katoa.

It is with great pleasure that I stand and speak at these awards tonight.

Tonight the recipients of these awards will pick up the mantle of those kaumātua and kuia – some of our most passionate health leaders who have since passed on. And it is into these very big shoes our scholars step today - and in stepping into these shoes our scholars are stepping into health environments and communities that need them as much today as ever before.

These hauora awards recognise the work and absolute commitment by some of our emerging talent to reduce the disparities that still exist in our community - especially between Māori and non-Māori. Every year there is a high calibre of recipients for both the John McLeod Scholarship and the Te Apa Mareikura Awards. I continue to admire the academic ability, the innovation, dedication and genuine belief of these health professionals that they can make a difference in the lives of so many of us.

We have made tremendous achievements in Māori health service delivery and workforce development over the past several decades.

We need to do more.

In recent years we have taken what we have learned, what we know works and how we envisage the future for whānau and we have created Whānau Ora.

And while Whānau Ora is about whānau, aiga or families coming together to support each other through building shared aspirations, and working together to achieve those aspirations, Whānau Ora also needs its leaders, it drivers, its mentors and educators – working in and throughout our communities to support them and make it strong.

Each of our achievers here this evening play an important part in Whānau Ora.

The kuia and kaumātua in whose memory these scholarships are awarded understood Whānau Ora from the outset and demonstrated their understanding of Whānau Ora throughout their lives.

They did not rely on the state to tell them how to be. They were self-determining in all that they did - and like you were filled with the self-belief and pride that they could achieve.

The John McLeod Scholarship is in honour of the late Dr John McLeod as many of you are aware was highly respected for his work in the area of public health as well as research. Tonight we remember the loss of this great Ngāpuhi leader and advocate of health who was taken from his family 18 years ago. I pay tribute to his family who are here tonight in honour of John and his huge contribution to us all.

The Te Apa Mareikura awards demonstrate the distinguished leadership that we associate with four of our great community health workers.

The late Anne Delamere, Bill Katene, Denis Simpson and Rongowhakaata Wi Repa.

It is through upholding the memory of those who have passed on, that we find the hope and the inspiration to give honour to the difference they made in our lives.

Each of these people made an important contribution to Māori health and our development as tangata whenua. Today I remember them, and I mihi to the whanau of these distinguished and greatly loved kuia and kaumātua.

Tonight’s ceremony allows us to reflect that while people do live and pass on, their legacy will remain forever.

For while we weep for our loss, we also celebrate the new life that builds on the foundation left behind.

And what really warms my heart is to know that while they have achieved academic success and medical qualifications, they are also superbly grounded in the institutions of Te Ao Māori – our whānau, hapū, iwi, our marae, our learning entities.

I want to congratulate our recipients– who I truly believe exemplify the standards of excellence set for them by the leaders of yesteryear.

These scholars have trained hard. They have prepared themselves to work in the world of health workers, instinctively understanding that means they must have their eyes and ears open; and be everywhere. Not an easy task by any means.

But from what I have read of the stories of these scholars, they are both multi-talented and multi-skilled.

Indeed they are the archetype for our times – understanding that collaboration and cooperation are vital in leading communities forward.

As educators, they understand what it is to both challenge and support.

As coaches and mentors, they understand what it is to guide.

As whānau members, as social workers and as health professionals they appreciate the authentic voice of whānau as being of the utmost strength in achieving Whānau Ora.

And for all of those friends, colleagues and whānau who have the privilege to know them, to work with them, and to learn from them, we can understand that their contribution is huge and their leadership is destined to be far–reaching.

Finally, I want to leave our greatest tributes to all of the whānau who have nurtured the leaders of our past, our present and our future.

You have enabled your loved ones to create a legacy for our nation; you have supported them to express the leadership that was waiting to be released. We thank you, we honour you and we celebrate this amazing opportunity to acknowledge the health leadership within our midst.

Tēnā koutou katoa.

ENDS

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