Tariana Turia Speech - Pasefika Proud Fono
Hon Tariana Turia
Associate Minister of Social Development
Friday 18 October 2013; 9.30am SPEECH
Pasefika Proud Fono: Waipuna Hotel, Auckland
Thank you Reverend Elama Maea for opening this fono with your blessing for our day.
I want to acknowledge:
· Fa’amatuainu Tino Pereira : the Chair of the Pacific Advisory Group;
· Murray Edridge; the Deputy Chief Executive of the Ministry of Social Development
· Everdina Fuli; Maiava Carmel Peteru and Jean Mitaera – the three co-authors of the Pasefika Proud Family Violence Research Plan;
· Friends, family, ministers of the faith, community leaders and the champions of change that all of you here represent.
It is so wonderful to see all of you here; and to feel the warmth; the strength and passion of the people gathered in the spirit of Pasefika Pride.
I want to begin by sharing a love story with you all.
In 24 hours’ time a very special ceremony will take place in the Legislative Chambers of Parliament. It is the wedding ceremony of Sevuloni Tora and Fiona Mao: a young couple who first met up at a youth camp in Fiji, over ten years ago.
Sevuloni and Fiona would be the first to say they are just an ordinary couple – but with an extraordinary love.
In the invitation to the wedding, Sevuloni and Fiona shared their journey of discovery – the projects they had worked on; the values that provided a foundation for their life together; the nature of the love, honour and respect that characterized their courtship. There was one sentence in particular that demonstrated the care they have taken in choosing a life partner:
“Values-based love has taught us that when we disagree on a matter; it is the truth and principles that we live by that directs us on the path to take”.
It was a wonderful illustration of the care these two young people are taking in pursuing their relationship – a relationship where they can agree to disagree – a relationship of equals.
I wanted to share this fine romance with you because in many ways, there are many similarities with this Pasefika Proud Fono.
Values based love is, after all, the foundation of Pasefika Pride – the pride that will be the focus for this fono today – and those in Napier, Tokoroa, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin.
The values, the truth and principles that run through your communities are central to the way you see the world. They are values that have been crafted and constructed over centuries; created generation by generation to establish a pathway into our future.
That is what I love about the promise of Nga vaka o kaiga tapu: it reminds us that the paths that you each take are determined by the legacy you inherit from your ancestors.
Nga vaka o kaiga tapu – literally the sailing vessels of sacred families – is the story of multiple journeys of discovery. It contains the rich narrative of concepts and values that define strong families across the Pacific.
What the framework tells us is that Pasefika pride is intimately wrapped in a celebration of Pasefika knowledge; it is driven by a focus on wellbeing as defined and understood by Pasefika peoples.
At its essence, the framework encourages us to fall in love with ourselves – to value the collective leadership, knowledge and strategies of Pasefika peoples as they travel into their future.
Our fono today, is also taking place in the context of the unique culture and language of Niue. Niue Language Week gives us all a chance to be out and proud about Niue music, language, culture and heritage – recognizing that the mother tongue is a crucial tool for transformation.
In this fono, I want to particularly acknowledge the leaders of the ethnic breakout groups who will guide the discussions specific to the Pasefika communities of the Cook Islands, Fiji, Niue, Samoa, Tokelau, Tonga and Tuvalu.
The leaders of these sessions are the same leaders who have developed the Pacific Family Violence Training Programmes.
And in saying this, I think it is important to note that in itself this day has been built on a solid foundation – a momentum that has been generated over the last few years about how to best address family violence in Pacific communities.
In 2010 the Pacific Advisory Group sought the views of the people in four regions across the land; culminating in a Champions of Change fono held in Auckland that year.
As a result of those fono, we initiated a family violence training programme to build the capacity and capability of Pacific family violence practitioners and providers.
That then evolved into the development of the Pacific Family Violence Conceptual Frameworks which were released last year under the banner of Nga Vaka o Kaiga Tapu.
A literature review has been produced as a guide for writers; and of course just last night we launched the latest branch of the strategy – the Pasefika Proud Family Violence Research Plan 2013-2018.
Today then is a new day; a new start towards addressing the crisis of violence that impacts on far too many families.
This fono is our time to sit and consider specifically pacific solutions.
It is a chance to look back at all that was said at the Champions of Change fono; all of the words that have been written; the strategies that have been crafted – and to now consider what can we do, to make the difference we need to see.
I am so proud of the vaka that has set forth under your leadership. I have met so many amazing people of the Pacific through the course of this journey. I have heard at first hand your aspirations. I have seen the tears shed of fathers reflecting on the way they treated their wife and children. I have watched passionate debates unfold as traditional values are tested against the challenges of today.
And in all these settings I have loved the way in which your songs, your traditions, your stories, your prayers have helped you to build the strongest waka in which to travel forward.
I wish you a wonderful day and an even more amazing future – a future in which every day is a day to be Pasefika Proud.