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Whānau Ora Stories from the Whānau

Māori Mai, Māori Atu Hui – Hauora Cluster Hui

Whānau Ora Stories from the Whānau

Novotel Rotorua Lakeside

Friday 16 November 2012
 
Closing Speaker: Te Ururoa Flavell, MP for Waiariki
 
I am very pleased to be with you all today; to bask in the beautiful sunshine of a Te Arawa day, and to listen to the stories of courage, of commitment, of inspiration that come from the lives of our whānau.
 
The rippling waters of Rotorua have never seemed further away from Lambton Quay, than over these last 24 hours.  
 
Yesterday politicians from NZ First and the Green Party – a most unusual coalition – were taking turns to condemn the transformation that all of us here are a part of – Whānau Ora.  
 
Over 24 hours we had Metiria Tūrei suggesting Whānau Ora shouldn’t have been allowed to go ahead without proper monitoring ; while Winston Peters was churning out releases alleging that Whānau Ora was a tragedy for Māori and taxpayers; it was wasting millions of dollars; and that the scheme must be scrapped.
 
Sensational headlines and political backlash are of course not new when it comes to some factions in parliament – but I have to say I’m pleased to be back in the real world, where we can actually focus on what we know – and that is the very real difference that Whānau Ora is making in the lives of our people.
 
We always knew that Whānau Ora was high stakes.  
 
By its very nature, it turns conventional thinking on its head – focusing on the strengths and potential of whānau rather than being driven by deficit thinking -  fixing up the problems.  
 
This would always be a challenge  - but what was even more confronting for some, was the assumption that whānau could be empowered as a whole.  Government agencies would be required to work together with families as a collective, rather than separately with individuals.    
 
And most important of all – the ultimate driver of Whānau Ora was not Government ; it was not politicians or political parties – it is firmly and squarely in the hands of whānau – whānau setting their own direction ; whānau planning and creating their own transformation.
 
Over these two days, you will have heard ample evidence of how, up, down and across Aotearoa, a Whānau Ora approach is achieving results.  
 
You’ve heard from Dr Lance O’Sullivan how the Whānau Ora approach transforms every day practice as a GP working with whānau.  
 
You’ve heard from Tania Kingi how whānau haua thrive when their lives and experiences are placed within a context that is whānau centred.
 
And you’ve benefitted from the rich wealth of kōrero that has come through from Te Wai Pounamu, from Ngāti Awa, from Tairawhiti, from Te Tai Tokerau, from Tāmaki Makaurau, from Waikato, and have I mentioned Te Arawa?
 
These stories are creating waves in the focus of iwi leaders ; in the mahi of our urban Māori authorities; in the planning priorities for the national Hauora Coalition;  for our providers ; for our PHOs, right across the sectors.
 
And what have we learnt ?
 
Contrary to the views put out by a couple of politicians, one of the key focus areas for those working with Whānau Ora was the need to see comprehensive performance and outcome data for Whānau Ora.
 
In fact, it doesn’t take much, to find copious evidence of the range of information gathering and performance reporting processes have been developed, trialled and bedded in since Whānau Ora started.  
 
 All you need to do is type “Whānau Ora” into Google and up comes some 378,000 results.   
 
But in the time available to me today, I’ll just take you to the first entry – which links to the TPK website where you will find all the information you could ever want and more and how Whānau Ora is working.
 
The most recent report is an Information Collection trial which was piloted by a group of seven providers and provider collectives earlier this year.  The performance information collected through this trial reflects whānau satisfaction with services and support offered to them as whānau.
 
The report indicates early positive changes for whānau occurring as a result of Whānau Ora. These changes are evident across whānau collective capacity, and indications of improved social, cultural and economic circumstances for the whānau involved.  
 
The report also affirms that the Whānau Ora providers and collectives involved in the information collection trial are transforming to whānau-centred service delivery.  The highlights in the report include:
 
·         Whānau are actively engaged in Whānau Ora:
During the period of the trial over 300 new whānau were directly engaged with the trialling providers while, in total, 800 whānau clients developed or progressed their whānau plans.
 
·         Whānau Ora is leading to improvements for whānau:
The trial found that the participating whānau have high levels of satisfaction with services and support they have received from Whānau Ora provider collectives, leading to positive changes for the whānau members.
 
·         Whānau planning is an effective mechanism for engaging whānau and strengthening capacity:
The process of whānau coming together to engage in planning appears effective for building whānau capacity, even before whānau begin progressing towards their goals.
 
·         Whānau aspirations are inter-related but there are often multiple barriers to achieving aspirations:
Although the lives of whānau are complex and multi-dimensional, it appears the Whānau Ora approach supports whānau to progress towards aspirations holistically.
 
This is amazing stuff – it is positive; it is future orientated; it is proactive and productive.   It is about results; it is about rangatiratanga in action.  Whānau Ora is delivering on the aspirations of those who it is primarily set up to serve – Whānau.
 
If I was to give one example of this in action, all I’d need to do is talk with anyone from Te Rōpū Mate Huka o Aotearoa – regarding the management and response to diabetes across our whānau.
 
Yesterday on World Diabetes Day, I raised questions in the House about how Government responds to the imminent predictions that by 2020 one in six Māori and Pasifika adults will have diabetes; compared to one in 22 Pākehā.  
 
I asked the Government whether that was acceptable – and of course, they said no – it’s not acceptable and that is why diabetes is a primary health care target.
 
I wasn’t satisfied with that answer -  I want to know more about how the difference will be made -  how those statistics will change today, and in ways most appropriate and effective for Māori and Pasifika families.
 
The Māori Party has always said we need to focus on the whole family responding to the challenge of diabetes – to take a collective approach which will address lifestyle choice; nutrition; recreation; alongside primary healthcare; and a broader focus on wellbeing.
 
In short – it is the perfect opportunity for Whānau Ora to be applied – surely it’s worth the punt?
 
Whānau Ora is about every aspect of our lives- in short it is about our transformation to the futures we most want for ourselves.   It is about a better life ahead for our families, and ultimately our nation.
 
Finally, I see that today’s hui started off with a session from Professor Margaret Mutu on constitutional change – and it made me think about the tragic, heartfelt expressions of grief and anger that our people have endured over the decades through the dishonouring of the Treaty.
 
Yesterday, while the quibbling was going on about the monitoring and audit of Whānau Ora; a far more sobering story was unwinding in the Debating Chamber.
 
In a day in which we signed off treaty legislation, we heard how from the very first arrival of settlers to this land,  Ngāti Whātua had opened their arms, allowing the establishment of Tāmaki Makaurau – our largest city and commercial centre.   In exchange for their generosity and largesse, the tribe was left virtually landless in return. 
 
By 1898 the Native Land Court had divided the Ōrākei block into individual title and extinguished communal ownership.  Half a century later Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei were evicted from Ōkahu Bay; their marae, homes and buildings pulled down, burned to the ground.    They were left with a quarter of an acre of land: land for an urupa. 
 
Another 25 years later, in 1978, the Government called on more than 600 army and police personnel – the largest peacetime force in recent knowledge – and forcibly removed elders, men and women, children, whānau off their land at Takaparawhau.   More than 200 were arrested.
 
The rest is all on record – our history – our story as a nation.
 
Despite this history – or maybe more to the point because of this history – the people of Ngāti Whātua are absolutely committed to Whānau Ora as being a process of transformation that is within their own hands; where they determine a pathway forward; where they once again, rise above the past and hold hope high, for the sake of their children and their children’s children.
 
Variations upon this story could be told in every marae throughout the land.   
 
As tangata whenua; the first peoples of this land; we have endured injustice upon injustice – and yet always we have risen above the prejudice; we have placed our faith in creating a new pathway for our future. 
 
And that is what we are doing now with Whānau Ora – and I have to say, what is so wrong with that?
 
In my very first kōrero as a new MP in the House, I retold the story of Mokomoko, who was tried and executed in 1866 for his alleged role in the murder of the Reverend Carl Sylvius Volkner, a crime he consistently denied.   The  Crown used the alleged crime to justify the raupatu of tens of thousands of hectares of land in the Eastern Bay.

Over one hundred years later, all those convicted of the murder were eventually pardoned but it was not until a fortnight ago, that Government – through the actions of my Māori Party colleague, Dr Pita Sharples, that finally we have legislation going through the House which is explicitly focused around restoring the mana, the character and the reputation of te whānau o Mokomoko.
 
During my maiden speech I repeated the words Mokomoko said at the scaffold “ Tangohia mai te taura i taku kakī ki waiata au i taku waiata”  (Take the rope from my neck, that I may sing my song).
 
Today - here at this hui or at home – we are relearning ways to sing our songs.   We are restoring all that is at the very essence of who we are.   We are reclaiming our identity; our capacity to be self-managing; our ability to live healthy lifestyles.
 
We are taking action to ensure that we can participate fully in society while at the same time being confident to immerse ourselves in te ao Māori.
 
We are taking up our economic opportunities – to be secure; to be involved in wealth creation; to be the entrepreneurs we have always been.
 
And through it all we are reminding ourselves of our abilities to be cohesive, resilient and nurturing – to set our own direction; to drive our futures.
 
In the constitution of the Māori Party we describe the Māori Party as an initiative of Māori, te kakano i ruia mai i Rangiatea, for the benefit of all citizens of this land.
 
It is a statement which acknowledges that our foundations lie in this land, like trees springing from Papatuanuku.    Our wellbeing is traced back through our whakapapa to kaupapa handed down by our ancestors, which have proven their value over the years and generations.
 
Whānau Ora is the embodiment of our aspirations to achieve self-determination of our whānau, hapū  and iwi.  
 
I pay tribute to all of you here gathered today – who believe so passionately in our talents and our strengths – Māori Mai; Māori Atu.
 
What we brought to this hui – and what we take home – is the imprint of whānau throughout our lives.  
 
The spirit of survival we have championed throughout our collective history cannot, will not be extinguished.
 
'E kore au e ngaro te kākano i ruia mai i Rangiātea'
I will never be lost, I am the seed which was sown from Rangiātea.
 
As we leave this hui, let us take with us the challenge set by the organisers –Whānau Ora working for us.
 
Whānau Ora is our greatest legacy for our mokopuna – let us stay united, committed and determined to make the difference we need.
 
Kia takoto te manuka – the challenge is upon us now – let no-one distract us from our course.

ENDS

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