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Launch of E Tū Whānau Programme of Action 2013-2018

Hon Tariana Turia
Associate Minister of Social Development

Launch of E Tū Whānau Programme of Action 2013-2018, Te Rau Aroha, Tyron Street, Whakarewarewa village, Rotorua
Monday 20 February 2013

Five years ago the first Programme of Action was launched following a hui co-hosted by Tainui and Ngāi Tahu with the Ministry of Social Development.

That summit brought together a wide range of people from across the country to contribute to a plan on how to address issues of violence for our people.   The objective was clear and compelling – how to reduce harm to whānau and to provide the impetus for whānau to recognise they have the solutions to their own issues, particularly for violence.

It was recognised that an urgent and fresh approach was needed that would make an enduring difference – and that this needed serious commitment from the leaders in our communities. That commitment was given at Hopuhopu and this opened the door for us to start driving change.

I’d like to pay tribute to the late Dr Hone Kaa, advocate for violence free homes who once said “We have done extraordinarily well in the arena of reclaiming our taonga, our land, our fishing rights, our reo, and now our forests. Some of our iwi are doing extremely well in their commercial endeavours - but what about the social ills that still beset and bedevil us? We all need to invest our time and our talents in ensuring the spiritual, physical and psychological wellbeing of our whanau to build the social capital that will oil the wheels of our people’s lives and especially our tamariki.”

The consensus from the summit and the hui was clear:
     Whānau have to drive the solutions or they will not work
     We have many strengths as people – let’s use them
     We have to take responsibility for this but we need support from Government – Government also has responsibilities
     It is time to stop talking and to start doing!
     E Tū Whānau!!

In 2008, E Tū Whānau – the first Programme of Action was born. It has been instrumental in creating a framework that is being used by whānau and hapū as well as by the government to make a difference.

Five years on we can say that E Tū Whānau is starting to bed in and there are successes to celebrate!

I would like to pay special mention of the work undertaken by Te Whakatohea, who has developed a 10 year strategic plan that sets the scene for all their work, underpinned by the theme - Te Mana Kaha o te Whānau.

The E Tū Whānau values and messages are being discussed and passed along around the country – on marae, in prisons, tattoo parlours, parenting courses and at the dinner table. They have resonance with our people with messages like:
Becoming a dad is easy. Being a dad isn’t.’

Leave big footprints for your children to follow.’

Your ancestors sit on your shoulders to keep your feet on the ground.’

We are lucky we have been able to draw on the wisdom of our kuia and kaumatua. You will see a story in the Success Stories booklet about our wonderful kuia, Whaea Kiwa Hutchins, from Whānau-a-Apanui, Ngāti Porou and Ngāi Tahu. I think her view sums up the journey for our communities to become violence free. She says, “No family is perfect. Even when our families sink to the depths of despair we must keep moving forward together. That is how we build resilience and heal and, by example, we can help other whanau in turn.

Whaea Kiwa, is one of a significant group of kuia who have championed the concept of Matua Whāngai long before – and long after – the state realised its validity.   They have been a living example of the way in which we nurture our whānau towards positive changes by walking alongside them, showing in their actions the legacy of taonga tuku iho – the lessons our ancestors left behind.

Our kahukura, or leaders of change within whānau, hapū and iwi, have emerged throughout this journey to establish E Tū Whānau. We acknowledge just four people today with our kahukura awards but there are many more leading and supporting change in their communities. The origins of the name “Kahukura” show how well the name embodies the qualities our Kahukura demonstrate. When the Kuaka, the godwits, fly in for the summer, they arrive in a swirling mass. But within that chaos are small groups that each has a leader. The leader’s role is to cleave the air and provide the initial lift for those in their flock who are following. The Kahukura provides the impetus for movement and changes - as they move, they gather their “flock” around them and, in doing so, other leaders emerge.

I love the vision around the Kahukura model.   In many ways it resonates with the philosophy upheld by Mauri Ora practitioners ; and I want to mihi to Tamati Kruger for the inspiration and influence he has played in particular in this area.

Mauri Ora has encouraged us to see that there are three key steps to achieve whānau transformation :
·        Dispel the illusion that violence is normal
·        Remove the opportunity for violence to occur
·        And teach transformative practices.

The connecting thread whether it be the Kahukura Concept; the Mauri Ora model or the E Tū Whānau approach in its entirety is the understanding that we all have the potential to be whānau champions  - to walk the talk; to achieve Whānau Ora.

Of course there is so much more to do – the issues are serious and complicated and they often span generations.

There is no quick fix. It will take time for violence to be unlearned and so it is important that the foundations for positive change are right.

Government responsibility and commitment is fundamental – Government has a vital role to play in helping to bring about change for our people – but this must be different from the sort of government intervention of the past, which has not worked. 

Government needs to provide the right sort of support – it needs to encourage smarter ways of providing services and it needs to get the framework right – but it needs to leave the solutions and the delivery up to whānau.  I am really pleased to see that some very important changes have taken place to change the way that we think about whānau health and well-being and how Government can best support this.

Finally I would like to congratulate all the recipients of tonight’s award for their commitment and courage to end violence in their whānau and in their communities. It takes courage to address these issues where there can be resistance to change and I commend all those who persist to ensure that our homes and communities can be restored as a place of safety and love, where healthy relationships are the norm, and all our tamariki are loved to grow to their full potential.

Tēnā tātou katoa.


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