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He Taonga Te Mokopuna

Associate Social Services and Employment Minister Tariana Turia announced funding for a new whanau-based programme 'He taonga te mokopuna' focused on meeting the needs of children today.

The announcement was made in Whanganui while attending a performance of 'Tu te Rangatahi, Tu Tangata' written by Tai Huata and performed by Taki Rua Productions.

"He taonga te mokopuna is a family violence programme for children who have witnessed domestic violence or other instances of extreme family distress. The programme will be available for delivery by 10 Iwi and Maori providers each year for the next three years, a total of 30 Iwi and Maori providers and organisations.

"It will receive funding of $1.975m over three years and will be contracted through the Department of Child Youth and Family Services. Selected facilitators of the ten Iwi and Maori providers will be trained in each successive year to deliver the programme. There will be indepth training as well as on-going professional support and quality assurance.

"While is it important to develop and implement these programmes, we must also ensure that the quality of delivery and ongoing support ensures the programme continues to meet the necessary standard. Providers will work with whanau who are referred through government and community referral agencies.

"This programme aims to empower the children to overcome the particularly difficult home environments they have experienced and at the same time work with parents and caregivers to ensure the ongoing safety and positive development of the children.

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"This programme, developmed by Early Childhood Development, has been independently evaluated and is an excellent Maori whanau-based programme. I believe it will be of great value to the children, their whanau and communities who participate.

"Our mokopuna are our future, they deserve all the care and support they need during their development, it is our responsibility to ensure that support is made available", said Tariana Turia this morning.

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