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Speech: Launch of Sexual Violence Prevention Resources

Hon Tariana Turia
Associate Minister for Social Development

19 June 2014

Te Puna Oranga
Launch of Sexual Violence Prevention Resources
St Albans Baptist Church, Christchurch

I am thrilled to be with you tonight; at this very important launch – and to celebrate with you and congratulate you on an amazing milestone in reaching thirty years.

I’ll let you into a secret too –I’ll go out of my way to be in the company of such beautiful kuia as Aunty Kiwa (Hutchens) because she does so much for our wairua just learning from her example in life. She has had a huge impact on me.

And so it is fitting tonight, that in launching these resources we acknowledge her for the inspiration of her knowledge; her commitment to Whānau Ora and her determination to be solution-focused.

We see her legacy in the concept of these resources – Ngā Kākano o te Hā – literally planting the seeds of life.

This is such a beautiful kōrero – and what’s best – is that it is our kōrero, our solutions for the issues that confront our whānau.

It also speaks to me of kōrero from my beloved late cousin, Rangitihi Tahuparae.

Me hoki ki ngā paiaka
Mai i te urunga o Ngāi Tāua te iwi Māori ki roto i ngā kawai mātauranga o Tauiwi,
inā honotia te peka Māori ki te rākau rāwaho,
he rerekē tona hua me te rongo o tona kiko, he kawa.
Kāti tēnei te whakahoki ki ngā paiaka a kui mā, a koro mā.

Let us return to our origins.

Since the time we were immersed in the knowledge streams of Tauiwi we have become like a branch, grafted to a foreign tree, producing fruit of a different quality and somewhat unpalatable. It is time that we returned to the rootstock of our ancestors.

Tahu gave us all the permission – indeed the challenge – to return to our foundations – the source of our strength. This is the message that I read into the concept of Ngā Kākano o te Hā – that we must cherish and protect the seeds of life.

We do not need any artificial fertiliser to strengthen us; we have all the sustenance we need in our own root system; kaupapa me ōna tikanga.

We do not need to turn into a hybrid fruit; a fusion of many different influences. We can rely on our own ancestry and identity as the foundation from which we welcome the world.

Our roots are built on such a rock solid foundation.

Kaupapa such as kōtahitanga – that our whānau are collective and united in our approach.

Ūkaipotanga – being well-connected to our home, our whenua, our whānau.

Whanaungatanga -being mindful of our reciprocal obligations to one another; appreciating the value of the wider collective.

Wairuatanga – the ihi, the wehi, the wana – the mystery and wonder of life; being inter-related and connected.

Whakapapa – the knowledge basis of our identity and belonging.

Manaakitanga – the expression of aroha, generosity and mutual respect.

Kaitiakitanga taking up our obligations to care for our taonga.

Rangatiratanga – finding ways to foster self-determination

Te reo; mana whenua; mana tupuna – the essence of who we are.

I love nothing more than being in the company of people who value our own Māori solutions; who truly appreciate that whānau have the means within their own unique DNA to know what it will take to support whānau, hapu and iwi in growing our strength.

There is a particular beauty about the posters and resources you have created under the context of Ngā Kākano o te Hā – and that is the relationship between a kuia and her mokopuna – Keriana Dell.

The young artist is also gifted by virtue of being of ‘mahanga’ status. In my childhood, I had the good fortune of growing up alongside much loved twin brothers, Mana and Dan – and so I have some understanding of how twins have that special understanding and an appreciation of the inherent balance within creation - everything having an equal and opposing element to it. I am sure that this gift of a special way of seeing the world is given artistic expression in these resources.

How then, do all these messages; the strength of our kaupapa; all contribute to healing and recovery?

I believe the answers lie within us – and I need look no further than seeing here in front of us Daniel Mataki – and when I see him I think of his sixteen beautiful sisters and brothers who have provided me with such amazing support from Feilding, from Tamaki Makaurau, from Waikato; wherever; whenever. They have been a real treasure to me and my whānau – they have cared for me over the eighteen years of my journey; they have walked beside me and I will always appreciate that.

The Mataki whānau is a wonderful example of the strengths of whanaungatanga being a powerful source of health and wellbeing. Whether it be through karakia, or through the tangible physical presence of support, each member of that whānau picks up their responsibilities to intervene where necessary; to provide guidance and leadership; and to do whatever they need to, to look after each other.

And I think that is what is so very special about Te Puna Oranga – that you are so much more than a service. Those who swear allegiance to Te Puna Oranga do so because they are already champions in their own home.

Your volunteers and your salaried staff take seriously the commitment to grow great whānau; to nurture family members to be the best they can be. They know - and they show - that transformation starts at home.

I was interested to read a release sent out yesterday from a political party about the very kaupapa we are launching today – sexual violence. In that release it said, “Christchurch women dealing with the trauma of sexual violence will have nowhere to turn in the middle of the night after Friday, when funding cuts will force another organisation to close and counselling to stop”.

I don’t want to enter into debate about any particular service – or indeed the views of any other political party – but I would just note two major omissions in that statement.

The first of course, ignores the thirty year reputation and credibility of Te Puna Oranga, who have always been there for the whānau who need you, whatever time of day or night.

But the second – and more obvious concern – is to assume that only a service can support women dealing with the trauma of sexual violence.

We have to move past the arrogance or ignorance of presuming that only services have solutions and support for our whānau in situations of stress. Yes, the state must take up its responsibility to provide duty of care for all its citizens; to intervene in times of stress and distress. But that role must never minimise or overlook the role of family in taking up their responsibilities to each other. It should not be an either/or.

I want to finish by sharing some of the exciting ideas I have returned home with, following my visit to ‘Aha Käne’ – the foundation for the advancement of native Hawai’ian males.

The mission of Aha Kane is to strengthen the Native Hawai’ian community by nurturing traditional male roles and responsibilities that strengthen the well-being of Hawai’ian males, their families and communities.

Their goal is to nurture a healthier native Hawai’ian male population by eliminating psychosocial health and educational disparities.

One particularly exciting project is the Hale Mua initiative which has established three men’s houses to proactively re-establish inter-generational traditions in today’s Hawaiian communities.

A unique aspect of the initiative is a curriculum called E Ho’olanaka – Be a Man. It is a project driven by cultural experts and encompasses the activities they associate with particular gods. They plant food crops, go on retreat, learn skills, focus on conflict resolution. And in doing so, they reconnected to their own ways of being – revitalising and restoring the capacity of their families to care for themselves.

Imagine my pride when visiting ‘Aha Kāne to learn that two of our whanaunga from the river – my cousins Matiu Mareikura and Rangitihi Tahuparae – had been there before me, sharing their stories, and encouraging the Hawaiian communities to restore practices and philosophies that are at the very heart of the people.

And of course the Hawai’ian people believe

It truly felt as if we had come full circle – that we were connected to our indigenous sisters and brothers – as we remind ourselves of the beauty and the power of our own knowledge.

I know these truths to be so, because I have also seen through The Project – and the initiatives emerging out of Ngā Vaka o Kaiga Tapu, that in the world of Pacific peoples, their own stories, strategies and solutions are the most powerful form of healing and restoration.

And so I come here today, to congratulate you all on your commitment and your discipline in focusing on kaupapa Māori; in building your basis as mana whenua, whānau, hapu and iwi.

As my cousin said, It is time that we returned to the rootstock of our ancestors.

Let us return to our origins to find the answers within, that can remind us how special each and every seed of life is.

Is there anything more important than knowing that our life’s work is to nurture each seed to thrive; to grow strong and proud; to face the elements with courage; and to reach tall to touch the sky?

I am delighted to launch Ngā Kākano o te Hā.

ENDS

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