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Tariana Turia: Te Piringa Hui Taumata, Huria Marae, Tauranga

Hon Tariana Turia
Minister for Disabilities

11 April 2013

Te Piringa Hui Taumata, Huria Marae, Tauranga

E te iwi e tau mai nei mo tenei huihuinga, tena koutou. Ngati Ranginui iwi, Ngai Tamarawaho hapu, nga kaumatua me nga kuia, tae atu ki te hunga rangatahi, koutou katoa nga uri o Tamatea Pokai Whenua e whakatuwhera nei i to koutou marae mo tenei hui, tena hoki koutou katoa.

What a great day this is to come together to share the work of Maori providers of disability services. I always look forward to these hui taumata and would like to acknowledge Te Piringa for bringing us together once again with a great theme for this year – Kia piri ai tatou. I agree!

While you are a relatively new organisation having been established only seven years ago you have achieved much in your collaboration with each other.

Te Piringa – joining together, coming together is an appropriate name for an organisation that is based on manaakitanga and kotahitanga. For as we know, manaakitanga and kotahitanga requires that we will work together, that we will care for one another regardless of who we are.

I would especially like to acknowledge this ancestral house -Tamatea Pokai Whenua – as a symbol of resilience of a people once written out of the history books. For those working in the disability sector, and those living with disability - resilience is what it has taken to bring about acceptance and positive change for the disabled community.

I want to acknowledge the service providers here today for your dedication to the challenges of the job – it has required compassion, patience and hard work to ensure that you can provide services in a kaupapa way. I know that it has not always been easy as there are many conflicting processes that can make your job harder as you strive to ensure that tikanga prevails in everything that you do. I congratulate you all on your efforts and commitment.

As you know I am passionate about Whanau Ora because I believe it is an approach that can be applied to everything we do including working to support the lives of those who live with disabilities.

Whanau Ora is about empowering our families to take up the challenge and the opportunity to make the changes in our lives. It requires collaboration and kotahitanga of agencies, providers and families. I am very proud of what has been achieved today for families who have been empowered by Whanau Ora. I have been inspired by the many families who have changed their lives.

I have also been inspired by those who live with disabilities and are making a difference for others. I would like to especially mention Hemi Hema who was recognised with a Queens Service Medal last year for inspiring hearing impaired Maori and their families. Hemi moved from Christchurch four years ago to be closer to his iwi and he became President of Deaf Aotearoa Incorporated. He has been a wonderful advocate for those living with hearing impairment as well as helping and advising others how to increase accessibility for deaf people enabling them to live full lives.

I believe it is my role as Minister for Disability Issues to do what I can, to create an enabling society, where disabled people know they are highly valued and can fully participate. Like all of us - disabled people and their families want to be free to choose how and where they live their lives. I am committed to making sure this happens.

The Enabling Good Lives approach is giving voice to those who are disabled and who are affected by our policies and services – empowering their voices, and supporting them to determine what we should be doing to enable them to lead full independent lives - to be self-directed - to have choice and control with a whole of life approach rather than have their supports split between different programmes.

Enabling Good Lives should build and strengthen relationships between disabled people, their whanau and their community.

In order for us to do this, we need the time and the commitment to really listen to each other - to be prepared to be challenged - to make space for different views, for thinking differently.

You have a great programme set out over these next two days – whether it be focusing on outcomes and evaluations - learning about new initiatives whether in the research school at the Otago University or the LAC project in the Bay of Plenty.

But one of the most critical sessions may be your final session, ‘Where to from here for Te Piringa?’ I wish you much strength and courage in being really clear about what will be in the best interests of the people that motivate you on a daily basis.

Whaia te iti kahurangi, ki te tuohu koe, me he maunga teitei. Pursue that which is precious, and do not be deterred by anything less than a lofty mountain. That is my vision for this kaupapa. Tena koutou katoa.

ENDS

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