Opening of South Seas Integrated Family Service Centre
Hon Tariana Turia
Associate Minister of Health
Minister for Whanau Ora
15 February 2013
Opening of the South Seas Integrated Family Service Centre and Whanau Ora Service Delivery
Talofa Lava, Kia Orana, Malo e Lelei, Fakalofa Lahi Atu, Ni Sa Bula Vinaka, Taloha Ni, Tena Koutou.
E tika ana ki te mihi ki a koe e te minita, e Reverand Aotofaga Lemuelu - mo to karakia hei timata i to tatou hui i tenei ra – na reira, tena koe.
Ki nga iwi katoa - e noho ana ki raro i te manaakitanga o te mana o te iwi o Tainui, e tae mai nei mo te tuwheratanga o tenei whare hauora, nau mai whakatau mai.
This is a great day for Otara - for South Auckland - for Aotearoa.
We are gathered here together to celebrate the commitment and the dedication of the South Seas Healthcare Board to deliver to the people of this region.
The vision of South Seas is a culmination of hard work and commitment from the wider community.
The clinicians, the community health workforce
and the leadership of South Seas, both past and present –
believed that the families of this community deserved the
And when I say best – I’m not just talking about the quality of well-child services, problem gambling or smoking cessation – I’m talking about an approach which celebrates the essence of who you are – and why you are the people you are.
I want to mihi to the team of champions who have made this possible:
· Dr Teuila Percival; Deputy Chair,
· Dr Andrew Chan Mow; Clinical Director and
· Ms Kasalanaita Puniani; General Manager.
Thank you for all your work in ensuring that the South Seas Centre is a success.
I have been reflecting on a poem from Karlo Mila – a young woman of Tongan and Palangi descent with ancestral connections to Samoa.
In 2011 she wrote a poem called For Ida - in honour of Judge Ida Malosi, the first Pacific woman judge.
We are the seeds of a much greater dream
that goes back across oceans of memory
a vision still held in the hands
of humble men buried in humble villages
whose chants clear our paths
with every lost breath.
You touch a vision
clasped to the breast
of humble women buried in humble villages
who still sing
across oceans of memory
in words that our children will be able to hear
I chose those words as my tribute in opening the South Seas Integrated Family Service Centre because they speak to me of the Pacific leadership so vital to South Seas.
Pasifika leaders who have played a vital role in laying a strong foundation for the development of ‘by Pacific for Pacific’ services in New Zealand. Church and community leaders, Pasifika spokespersons, sporting heroes, the mamas and papas who hold our children’s hands as they walk proudly into the future.
Today is as much about celebrating this achievement as it is about celebrating the opening of this centre. You have cherished the oceans of memory that distinguish the peoples of Pacific nations and which are carried in the hearts and minds of the Pasifika populations within Otara and greater Counties Manukau.
The opening of this new office marks an important milestone in your journey – the journey of Pacific Health – the story of Pasifika pride.
The African American poet, Maya Angelou, sums up your story in this way -
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.’
What you are doing – and will continue to do in the Integrated Family Service Centre – is to make people feel valued and connected.
It is about understanding ‘va tapuia’ – the sacred spaces of relationships between members of aiga, the connections by which we appreciate our genealogical connections and kinship ties. It is about knowing we can operate from our essence – empowered to grow, using the building blocks that make our families strong.
This is Whanau Ora – the approach that you have taken up in your determination to work with families to improve their health and well-being. We have lived through to many experiments done to the people, rather than by the people, for the people. It is time to change all that.
Whanau Ora is a growing success and I am heartened by the enthusiasm and kotahitanga between collectives around the country – keen to work together in a collaborative approach to deliver better outcomes for our people.
With an enrolled population of more than 4000 people and a reach of around 80,000 - I am confident that this Centre will be one of our champions in promoting a high quality integrated Whanau Ora approach to one of the largest Pacific populations within the Counties Manukau region.
One of the fabulous features of Whanau Ora is that it encourages families to be less reliant on state agencies and agencies acting as a facilitator rather than a fixer. By building on the strengths of the entire whanau, it require agencies to work together in better and smarter ways to support them. I have always believed that whanau have the capability and collective capacity to overcome the challenges they face and to take responsibility if empowered to do so.
The spirit of co-operation that is being demonstrated around the country and is obvious here today - in the best interests of all our whanau - bodes well for your on-going commitment to the people of this rohe. I look forward to hearing about the success stories from families accessing your Integrated Family Service Centre.
Finally, I want to just share some of my thinking about the concept of resilience.
All of us here know that for far too many of our families, life is a struggle.
Low income, limited employment options, compromised health, substandard housing – these are just some of the issues which confront our families and bring difficulties into every day.
Whanau Ora is about confronting these issues and doing all that we can to share the stories and strategies of survival that will keep us well.
Our pathways must navigate the oceans of memory we carry from those who have gone before us while also crafting new maps to help traverse the challenges that come our way.
I hope that this Centre and the people who come through your doors, are empowered with the beacons of hope that we can find within our collective experience, to illuminate our journey forward.
All of us play a vital role in this journey – whether we be agents of the state, artists, healers, cultural leaders, health practitioners, servants of the faith.
What do we do to make the people feel well? Strong? Respected? Are the families you work with decision-makers in their own journey? Do they have control of their futures?
What we can all commit to do today is to share our solutions, and work collaboratively in the best interests of the people. If we can do that, then all your hard work will reap rewards for generations to come.
I am honoured to officially declare the new premises for the South Seas Integrated Family Services Centre open.
Na reira, tena koutou, tena koutou, tena koutou katoa.