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Launch of Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu Whānau Ora

Hon Tariana Turia

Minister for Whānau Ora

Launch of Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu Whānau Ora Commissioning Agency, Ngā Hau e Whā Marae, Ōtautahi

(check on delivery)

I have been so looking forward to being with you today, to celebrate the transformation that we see already evident in Te Pūtahitanga o Te Wai Pounamu.

It is the most powerful concept to think that all of our whānau here in Ōtautahi are simultaneously connected in time and concept with all the whānau gathering at launch events today at Murihiku, Ōtākou, Tai Poutini, Whakatū, and Wairau.

For me, this launching represents the outpouring of potential epitomised in your vision, ‘Whānau rangatiratanga, whānau oranga.’ Right from the moment of conception you have been bold, you have been courageous, you have been innovative.

And I need look no further than your name to see creativity written throughout.

Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu literally represents the convergence of the rivers of Te Wai Pounamu.

My old people used to talk about the power of te hunga wairua – and I truly believe it is with us today.

This week has been an enormous week for our whānau as I delivered my valedictory speech and start to contemplate a world outside of the debating chamber I have frequented over the last eighteen years.

While the parliamentary journey is coming to an end, at the very same time our iwi of Whanganui is reaching the point of signing in the settlement of our historical claims related to Te Awa Tupua – literally our river system from the mountains to the sea.

Comings and going, new beginnings and endpoints – the circle of life.

Signing up to our deed will be a major step to resolving a dispute with the Crown which our iwi has been pursuing through the Courts since 1873.

But what is so truly remarkable about our settlement, is that it is a unique solution that recognise the intrinsic values and relationship we have with Te Awa Tupua. ‘Ko te awa te matapuna o te ora – the river is all we need, it is our source of spiritual and physical sustenance, ko au te awa ko te awa ko au.’

There is one particular aspect of our settlement that I want to think about this morning – and that is the notion of ‘ngā manga iti, ngā manga nui e honohono kau ana, ka tupu hei awa.’ In essence it represents the small and large streams that flow into one another and form one river. It is, if you like, a secure landing place from which to consider the initiative you have taken with Te Pūtahitanga o Te Wai Pounamu.

Your decision to create a historical partnership between the nine iwi of Te Wai Pounamu lifts the heart, it sends ripples through my spine. Because it is so simple and yet so profound. It is bringing together those large and small streams of life found within the nine iwi, converging and creating a new energy focused on thriving whānau.

As I understand it this is the first time the iwi have come together to work shoulder to shoulder; arm in arm, for the most important kaupapa of all - our whānau. I am so proud of your nine iwi, forming an iwi-led Commissioning Agency with a shared vision and values.

And I want to name for the record the power and the rich potential evident in this unique cluster:
Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu; Ngāti Apa Ki Te Rā Tō Trust; Te Rūnanga a Rangitāne o Wairau; Ngāti Kōata Trust; Ngāti Tama Manawhenua Ki Te Tau Ihu Trust; Te Rūnanga o Toa Rangatira Incorporated; Te Āti Awa Manawhenua Ki Te Tau Ihu; Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Kuia Charitable Trust and Ngāti Rārua Iwi Trust.

I absolutely love your determination to craft a philosophy that is truly yours – to grow enablers of sustainable whānau capability which are your investment plans for the future.

Those four pou – wellbeing, inspiration and catalysts, enterprise and job creation, education and leadership show me everything about what you believe in, what you think matters.

In effect what you are doing is encouraging people to believe in their ideas. You are investing in the most powerful opportunities to back your whānau to create the change they seek.

I am so excited by what you are intending to do here. The clear, principled way in which you have planned for whānau transformation fills me with pride, with hope and delight. Quite simply you’ve got it. You’ve got what it takes to inspire whānau to be bold, to be courageous. You’ve got what it take to support whānau to see their own ideas through to fruition.

The skill and commitment of your directors is impressive, all of whom have long experience in working with whānau and achieving high goals. They also bring a high level of professional expertise to support the vision.

I want to particularly mihi to Norm Dewes as Chair of the Board. Norm, I have respected your commitment and your dedication to making better lives for whānau living here in Ōtautahi for many years.

Thank you for believing in the vision of our whānau. Thank you for knowing that whānau matter, that the institution of whānau is the building block of our nation.

The appointment of Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu and the two other Whānau Ora commissioning agencies, Te Pou Matakana and Pasifika Futures, represents a significant milestone in a journey that started in 2009 with the establishment of the Taskforce on Whānau-Centred Initiatives.

It feels like we are at a stage where nothing can stop us now. Nothing can stop us from growing the vision, from planting the seed of transformation amongt all of our whānau and helping it to flourish.

What has been demonstrated since the launch of Whānau Ora in 2010 is the willingness of whānau to identify what they want to do to improve their lives and the impressive way they have drawn on their strengths and capabilities to achieve their goals.

I remember the hui we had down here at the very onset of the dream – the whare was crowded past full capacity – there was an amazing momentum to talk about something so real.

Since that time we have seen the most amazing changes and milestones achieved. Some whānau have focused on reconnecting with whānau culture, education and career planning, health assessment and screening, whānau safety, budgeting and housing.

Others are taking steps to improve their well-being, strengthen whānau connections and relationships and improve housing, education, and financial well-being.

Since 2010, Whānau Ora has come so far, and whānau have achieved so much. That’s contributed to a wider change in Government and provider thinking around whānau engagement.

And now it is up to you, Te Pūtahitanga o Te Wai Pounamu to take our journey further.

As your rivers converge, your whānau from across Te Wai Pounamu meet together, you are even in that action creating opportunities for new and innovative ways to emerge to empower whānau and families to achieve their goals.

I can’t wait to see what will come out of your determination, within Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu to focus on boosting whānau well-being through fostering innovation by whānau, entrepreneurs and providers to provide the solutions and opportunities our communities are looking for. I have to tell you, this is exactly what I hoped commissioning would achieve.

I am fascinated by your particular goal of growing social entrepreneurs to create community-level change and whānau entrepreneurs who can develop investment-ready, whānau-generated initiatives. Your presentation last week was literally thrilling.

It is all about identifying, developing and supporting whānau initiatives to move from inspiration, to your Dragons’ Den, to incubator, to contract management and delivery.

I believe what you are doing here is establishing a new level of whānau leadership and whānau empowerment.

I believe whānau potential is greater than ever before - and that Whānau Ora will continue to bring better opportunities for whānau gains in the years to come and I am so thankful for your vision, your insights and your intellectual excellence in establishing a new river for leadership to flow. I am delighted to launch this brilliant approach – Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu.


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