National Kaupapa Whanau Recovery Hui
Hon Tariana Turia
Saturday 5 October 2013; 10am
National Kaupapa Whanau Recovery Hui
Hoani Waititi Marae,
I was so pleased to be invited to be part of this hui - Ngā Kaupapa Whānau Pou o te Motu.
And I want to thank one of my personal heroes – Kim Whaanga Kipa – for extending to me, the invitation to be here. Kim truly lives by the mantra of your organisation – wairua focused; whānau driven – and I am always so grateful to be in her company, and learn more about her unique leadership – leadership which I understand is replicated by you all right across the motu.
I really love the concept of this hui – kaupapa whānau recovery – which emphasizes that recovery is a whole of whānau commitment; a whole of whānau experience.
And so I was delighted to come along and be with a group of champions who have the courage and the foresight to know what it takes to make a difference.
I say courage deliberately – because as we all know addiction and recovery is difficult, but can be achieved.
We are all aware of the complexity of circumstances which whānau are dealing with in their recovery from alcohol and drug addiction.
We know there is no quick solution. What works for one person will not necessarily work for another.
We are also talking about multi-layered issues of alcohol or drug dependency. It can take a person several attempts over many years to finally overcome.
I want to mihi to everyone here, who has dedicated their lives to ensuring our people get the best support they can to improve their health and wellbeing.
The kaupapa of alcohol and drug recovery can exclude and separate us - and be so lonely without the support of the people who understand the journey and what we are going through.
The playwright George Bernard Shaw once said, alcohol is the anaesthesia by which we endure the operation of life.
In many ways that comment offers a particular insight into both the causes of, and the solutions for, excessive substance abuse and harm.
The answers lie in our lives, our control of our situations; our plans and our aspirations for our future.
And this is where I want to share some of the excitement that I have had the privilege of observing at first hand through Whānau Ora.
I am passionate about Whānau 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 are recovering from drug and alcohol addictions.
Whānau Ora is about empowering our families to take up the challenge and the opportunity to make the changes in our lives.
It requires collaboration of agencies, providers and families.
At its simplest expression, whānau determine their needs whether it be to improve their own health or educational outcomes – with the help of an agency if required or with the assistance of a specialist Whānau Ora navigator who will help them develop a plan to address those needs and access a range of health and social services.
I heard a really good story the other day which I’ll call the tale of the Navman.
We were talking about the role of the navigator in Whānau Ora - in improving the health and wellbeing of our people.
The navigator operates on the principle that any door is the right door – their special knack is in knowing where and whom to engage with in order to respond to the needs of the whānau.
Like the navman – the GPS in our car – a navigator can give you the directions but it’s up to you whether or not you take them.
If you’re anything like my husband George, you’ll believe your own intuitive sense of direction is best.
And if by chance we get lost along the way, well he can always find a positive from the detour we took – a café we might never have found if we hadn’t have travelled that particular road; a beautiful view; or much more quality time in the car together!
So the navman – the navigator – can give you the compass points but it won’t get there – that’s up to you to make that happen.
And ultimately, that’s why I love Whānau Ora as an approach because it upholds the rights of the whanau to be involved in planning for their future – indeed to take charge of it.
Whānau Ora is essentially a whānau approach so rather than focusing on individuals within the whānau it empowers the whānau as a whole to take responsibility for their futures.
The role of agencies must be to enable this transformation to take place. If we get to a point in which we become submerged under a forest of services then our families have lost their inherent power; their innate sense of direction and capacity to make their own decisions.
It goes without saying that navigators should not be acting as arborists – teaching our families how to grow a forest of services around them.
Instead, they are encouraged to empower themselves; to inspire and motivate each other by the changes they have made. This marae – Hoani Waititi marae – is a perfect setting to hold this hui. Over the last thirty years and more, whānau from right across West Auckland have been supported by this marae – whether it be in advancing their educational opportunities through the kōhanga and kura kaupapa; hauora services; housing assistance; recreation; tū tāua.
And when we look at the most innovative programmes that have taken place here – all of them have been centred around whānau. As my friend Dr Pita Sharples pioneered in the smoking cessation campaign – it’s all about whānau.
So we’ve seen a restorative justice programme – Te Whānau Awhina; we’ve seen Patua te Ngarara – a whānau driven campaign to eliminate P from our lives; and in everything they’ve touched we’ve seen the magic influence of whānau working at its best.
Whānau have been an invaluable resource and their expertise and knowledge of what whānau members require can help produce long term sustainable change and improved wellbeing in all areas of their lives.
Hence, the importance of your work in supporting those whānau who want a better life for themselves.
Critical to the success of anyone's recovery is the involvement of whānau. A whānau-centred approach, recognising the leadership and capacity for change within all whānau, is a powerful way to help people with serious alcohol and drug issues.
I want to wish you all a really constructive hui – and to congratulate everyone here who has held onto hope; who has had the faith to believe in your whānau; and the resilience to keep bouncing back, to restore relationships and to focus on the journey.
The vision behind Whānau Ora is purely and simply about the wellbeing of our whānau. Social hazards – whether it be substance abuse, psychoactive substances, legalised or illegal medications; alcohol, cannabis, or other drugs – have no place in the revitalisation of our whānau.
Today, all of you here are celebrating a future determined by ourselves. Whānau by whānau you are carving out a clean tomorrow; a new dawn in which the beauty and the strength of our people is truly realised.
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