Community reflections on Te Tiriti today
Over the last few weeks, Hāpai Te Hauora gathered the perspectives of those in our communities about Te Tiriti o Waitangi. We interviewed a range of people living in New Zealand about their commitment to Te Tiriti in their homes and places of work. These are people who challenge the status quo and seek to bring positive change to all nations of Aotearoa.
In contrast, a recent TVNZ story uncovered the lack of knowledge of Te Tiriti at a Government level where various MPs - including the Prime Minister - were asked on specific articles of Te Tiriti and struggled to respond. Ardern responded: "Article 1? I couldn’t tell you off the top of my head, I’m really sorry".
Hāpai Te Hauora Chief Operations Manager, Selah Hart, states that "Ignorance like this by the Prime Minister shows that we need to continue to advocate to uphold the Crown’s responsibility as a signatory of Te Tiriti o Waitangi. Te Tiriti ensures that Māori by right have equal access to health. Māori rights to health derives from various sources but it is reinforced by Te Tiriti. It is our duty as tāngata whenua to ensure the wellbeing of all people in our lands - Māori and tauiwi."
Key themes emerged from interviews around the need for genuine engagement in Te Tiriti beyond tokenism. Teah Carlson states that "The healthcare system forces whānau and individuals to leave their identity at the door. This remains not only an act of violence through assimilation, but ignores the idea that identity is key to achieving good health. This perpetuates a system which denies Māori their inherent right to good health and in turn tino rangatiratanga."
For those working in the healthcare sector, Hāpai Te Hauora implores you to consider how Te Tiriti o Waitangi has the capacity to improve the inequitable health outcomes experienced by Māori. It reaffirms health initiatives derived, led and implemented by Māori. It enforces the inherent right for Māori to live as Māori and if implemented has the capacity to truly transform the wellbeing of Māori and all New Zealanders.
Throughout Waitangi Day, we will be continuing the conversation as to our roles and responsibilities in honoring Te Tiriti. Join the conversation, by heading to our Instagram or Twitter @hapaitehauora