Turia: Midlands Region Pacific Provider Network
Hon Tariana Turia
Associate Minister for Health
Midlands Region Pacific Provider Network (Aere Tai Network)
Verandah Cafe and Function Centre
Tēnā koutou e te mana whenua o tēnei rohe, Tainui waka, Waikato iwi, e Te Whare o Te Kāhui Ariki, ka nui temihi ki a koutou katoa.
Tēnā hoki koutou e ngā tāngata o Te Moana Nui a Kiwa. He mihi hoki ki te reo whakamoemiti i tenei ata, nā reira e te minita, tēnā koe.
Thank you to Fa’amatuainu Tino Pereira for introducing me - and to Leaupepe Peta Karalus, the Chief Executive of K’aute Pasifika Trust.
It is so wonderful to see the support from far and wide to celebrate and mark this important milestone for the health and wellbeing of Pasifika peoples and our Pacific communities.
I acknowledge the Pacific Church Ministers and Community Leaders who have honoured this gathering with your presence today.
I want to mihi to my fellow colleagues from the Big House in Wellington – David Bennett, Tim Macindoe, Nanaia Mahuta and Sue Moroney. And of course at the centre of our celebrations are the Pasifika providers in the Midlands region from Hamilton, South Waikato, Tauranga, Taranaki, Rotorua, Hawkes Bay and Gisborne.
I am so very pleased that we have with us today, City Council members, Board of Trustees members, Managers and Chairs of Pacific Providers from other parts of the country and of course members of whanau, aiga and families who are after all the greatest source of inspiration for what we are launching today.
This aspect of collaboration and cooperation is something that I am particularly proud of.
Back in 2011 we all sat down and thought about how we could make the greatest difference in Pacific health. Out of those discussions emerged a commitment to Pasifika health collectives, namely:
• Auckland – led by Alliance Health Plus
• Midlands led by K’aute Pasifika
• Wellington led by Taeaomanino Trust
• And the South Island led by Pacific Trust Canterbury.
The great thing about the approach is that we have seen a range of primary care, community based health, education and social services all coming together as one – could almost call it Whānau Ora!
It’s one of those peculiar mysteries in life that often health is not valued until sickness comes.
Today we have huge crowd of us defying that view. And that is why I am so genuinely thrilled at the numbers here demonstrating we believe that health and wellbeing are the greatest wealth - they are the foundation for our future - the platform for success in all areas of our life.
We have much to celebrate today. Today we officially launch the Midland Pacific Provider Network, Aere Tai Network.
The network gives expression to a journey which is ultimately about your commitment to work together to achieve equity in health of our Pacific communities.
The World Health Organisation defines equity as the absence of avoidable or remediable differences among groups of people. The concept acknowledges that not only are differences in health status unfair and unjust, but they are also the result of differential access to the resources necessary for people to lead healthy lives.
I want to turn that around a bit – instead of looking at what isn’t fair or just to focus on what equity should and can mean.
I believe the very essence of health equity comes from realising that something as precious as health - is a citizenship right to which all of us should be entitled. It is about outcomes which we determine, aspirations which we define, success on our terms.
We have recently launched the refreshed Ala Mo’ui 2014-2018. Ala Mo’ui 2014-2018 is driven by the vision of achieving health equity for all Pacific peoples in New Zealand. It is your plan – it will only be effective if it makes sense in your lives.
You may have heard that comment, life is what happens to you while you’re busy making plans. To be a plan which works for Pasifika families, we need to be sure that the outcomes and actions are firmly focused on the lives you live now rather than a vision emerging out of a policy process.
That is my great hope for the first Pacific specific Whānau Ora commissioning agency, Pasifika Futures. I visited with the team a week or so ago, and I was so impressed by the spirit of innovation that I felt in my brief time with them.
You know there is so much momentum everywhere I look with Pasifika health and social developments. There is the Aniva workforce programmes, which support the career development of Pacific nurses, and Tapuaki, the first ever smartphone app for Pacific expectant mothers.
And I am pleased with the direction of Waka Hourua - New Zealand’s first ever national Pacific suicide prevention programme. There could be nothing as harrowing as the tragic loss of lives before their time – far too many Pasifika families have endured a grief beyond comprehension. The suicide prevention programme aims to build strong resilient Pacific families and communities to support those at risk of suicide and those affected by it.
But probably the most exciting development I can ever speak of is the evolution and impact of Nga Vaka o Kaiga Tapu. Nga Vaka o Kāiga Tapu or the Pacific Conceptual Framework is a cultural framework for addressing family violence in seven Pasifika communities – Cook Islands, Samoa, Fiji, Niue, Tuvalu, Tonga, Tokelau. It is informed by, and aligned with, seven ethnic specific cultural frameworks on addressing family violence.
This framework and the energy and initiatives that have grown out of it represent the most exciting advancement for the people. It is about the pride of Pasifika peoples in upholding their cultural values and beliefs to take them forward.
The message of Nga Vaka is straight-forward. Culture is a vital ingredient for building relationships and meaningful engagement. It provides us with our unique perspectives, and also defines the way we behave and relate to the world, and shapes our values as collectives of people. In other words, Culture Counts.
Inevitably, we still have much work to do. We must prioritise wellbeing – we must make it our greatest goal.
Wouldn’t it be a great day if instead of focusing on polls and political promises, our breaking news stories were about families living longer, new opportunities for promoting healthy lifestyles, the pursuit of happiness.
The diversity, unique characteristics and strength of Pacific peoples give us every reason to celebrate.
I don’t want to suggest that we become oblivious to the effects of social and economic stresses that too many Pacific families experience. But my view is that whatever the issue, family is always the answer.
For too long we have placed faith in others – the hand of the state, the helping agencies, outsiders – and in doing so, have undermined our own potential to resolve even our most entrenched challenges.
Only through collaborative effort and meaningful partnerships, such as this network and collective of service providers, will we have a chance of strengthening our families to be in the driving seat. Our role is to be there, when our families need it, to empower and enable them to determine what is in their best interests.
The Aere Tai Network is a new and different way of working together in the health sector. It inspires system thinking, which brings the focus on the environment that we live, work, learn and play to the forefront in order to encourage collaboration and partnership across sectors and Government wide.
I am really excited about the possibilities that will be created through this network and all the Regional Pacific Networks, possibilities for achieving better health outcomes for our Pacific aiga and communities.
The Aere Tai Network now becomes the platform for the coordinated effort and voice for Pasifika in the Midland region.
And why is that so important? Because ultimately, strong Pasifika voices must influence policy and shared service planning decisions in order to positively and proactively affect health outcomes for Pasifika peoples.
Instead of operating in separate and discrete silos, I hope this network will enable more opportunities to collaborate and trial Pacific specific models of care. Coming together as one voice should also allow greater ease of information sharing as well as building expert collective knowledge and leadership on Pasifika health issues.
With this collaborative effort and leadership we must expect a more equitable share of health expenditure.
If I could leave you with one challenge, it would be to put your strong Pasifika voices truly to work, to speak up for your own inherent knowledge;
Your solutions must be written by your families, your issues must be relevant and meaningful to your communities and within your cultures.
There is no time for delay or hesitation. Pasifika health and wellbeing is vital to the prosperity of the people, it is the building block of your future and the pathway to a more equitable Aotearoa.
Our greatest success comes from a strengths-based approach. This begins with the premise that wellbeing, peace and harmony are states that all Pasifika peoples aspire to and that culture is vital in maintaining and restoring wellbeing to families.
I wish you all the greatest opportunities to achieve beyond your wildest aspirations, to do what is right for your peoples and to be proud and prepared for a future created the way you want it to be.
Tēnā koutou katoa.