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Te Taitimu Trust Wānanga - Waipawa


Hon Tariana Turia
Minister Whānau Ora
Associate Minister of Health

Thursday 10 January 2013 Speech

Te Taitimu Trust Wānanga - Waipawa
(Check against delivery)

E ngā mana, e ngā reo, e ngā karangatanga maha, tēnā koutou katoa.

Thank you for inviting me here today. This is my first official speaking engagement for 2013 and what better way to begin the working year than with a visit here today with Te Taitimu Trust – an iwi based organisation that is focusing on the future of their rangatahi.

To all the rangatahi who have come here to take part in this leadership wānanga – I congratulate you and acknowledge you for participating in what I am certain will be an inspiring and challenging five days.

In many of the speeches I deliver, I often talk about the need to grasp onto our Maori culture, our tikanga, and our practices because when we know who we are and where we have come from - we know where we are going.

Whakawhanaungatanga – the practice of connecting with whānau -whether it be with our extended family or friends - is vital for our spiritual wellbeing. What a great opportunity this wānanga has created for you to make new friends - rekindle old ties and meet relations you may have not met before.

I would like to acknowledge also the kaupapa of this wānanga that is re-connecting you all with Tangaroa and Hinemoana - the guardians of the sea.

Tangaroa has provided food and sustenance for our people for centuries – Tangaroa has also provided the pathway in which our ancestors have traversed Te Moana nui a Kiwa (the Pacific Ocean) in search of new lands. And today through the fishing industry, Tangaroa provides an economic base for many iwi. Our bond with Tangaroa and Hinemoana reflects our history as sea faring people.

You will - I know learn about the spiritual and physical bonds we have with the ocean – but equally as important I know you will also learn about the dangers of the ocean. We have amongst us, Rob Hewitt -a man who has inspired us all with his incredible story of survival in the ocean. A man who spent more than 70 hours alone in the sea – waiting to be rescued - to return to his family and friends.

And I can recall Rob’s story he has shared with so many - that after spending that long in the ocean by himself – he passed the time by thinking about what was important to him – and he came to the conclusion we would all come too – the dearest thing to him was of course - his family and friends.

So the importance of family, and family ties – that is Whakawhanaungatanga - is a really important value that we as Māori have always held dear to our hearts. It is a bond that we form between people, within whānau - through values -and sometimes across communities and it shapes our sense of self-belief. It is a belief that we are of value, no matter who we are, and that we do have the means and the power to be able to do for ourselves.

Self-belief that we can achieve for ourselves - for our families – for our futures by building and strengthening our family ties and community connections are critical elements for the well-being of our families – that is - Whanau Ora.

Whanau Ora is a way of life that encourages independence in us all. Whanau Ora is about the whole whanau – not just individual family members. We all have the ability to change our futures – to set our own goals – to make our own plans – and to determine our destiny. The cultural connections, the challenges, the knowledge, the survival skills, the recognition and connection with the Māori spirit world that you will learn at this wananga - will take you in a direction that will help to prepare you for the future.

I have sometimes been accused of living in the past – but I truly believe that if we do not recognise and acknowledge our past – we cannot move forward into the future. Our ancestors – our tupuna - had survival skills and did not rely on anyone else let alone any government agency to survive. They relied on each other. So let us learn from the ways of our tupuna and what it was that made them strong and independent and adapt that same self-belief for our own survival into the future.

To all the rangatahi here today - I encourage you to dream big, set your goals and aspirations high, and go forth to achieve them.
Ko te pae tawhiti
Whāia kia tata
Ko te pae tata
Whakamaua kia tina!

“Seek the distant horizon until it becomes closer - and grasp on to those horizons close to you. There is your destiny.”

Go well and be safe in your journey. Tena koutou katoa.

ENDS

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