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Tariana Turia Speech: Wairarapa Community PHO

Wairarapa Community Primary Health Organisation AGM

Frank Cody Lounge, Masterton Town Hall

Wednesday 15 November 2006; 7pm

Tariana Turia, Health Spokesperson for the Maori Party

[Check against delivery]

Every year the population of Martinborough experiences a massive influx, swelling to ten times its usual size, as wine and food lovers from throughout Aotearoa cross the Rimutakas, or travel through the Gorge, to celebrate the wonder of the Wairarapa.

Well I’m delighted to miss the chaos that will cause traffic jams on the Hill this Sunday, by instead getting a headstart on the celebration today, of the Wairarapa Community PHO.

Now I’m not one for hob-nobbing with the celebrities, but given the Wairarapa is the home of the internationally renown Peter Jackson, I have assumed you are all familiar with the concept of a special preview advance screening of highlights yet to come.

And so tonight, at this special AGM, I am delighted to be able to announce some of the preliminary findings from the South Wairarapa Kaumatua Study.

Whether or not it will be a box office hit will of course be simply a matter of time….but if my vote counts, there’d be an Oscar on the way before the night is out.

This study is a major achievement for the Primary Health Organisation and local provider, Te Hauora Runanga o Wairarapa. It started with the basic challenge of identifying the health needs of Maori aged fifty and over living in the South Wairarapa.

And from anyone’s assessment, the study has done exactly that. Ben Fox, the field researcher, visited some 120 South Wairarapa whanau, checking up on their state of health.

One of the findings that absolutely delighted me was that some 32% of kaumatua questioned, responded that they would walk a couple of kilometres without stopping to get a breath.

And I’d have to hazard a guess that the fact that some 61% (equating to fifty kaumatua) had either quit smoking or had never smoked might well be responsible for such good results.

You’ve probably all seen yesterday’s headlines that Maori are being driven to extinction by the impact of diabetes. In this light, I was surprised that there appeared to far higher percentages of people who have not yet had a diabetes annual review in Masterton, than the Southern Wairarapa, and I would be interested in any ideas that you may have about why there is the difference.

It was particularly stark for Maori - 28% of Maori surveyed in Masterton had not had a diabetes annual review; compared to just 13% in Southern Wairarapa.

Looking at the level of health care provided in South Wairarapa, some other conclusions that the study draws out, include

- Maori and Pasifika peoples access GP services at a higher rate than all other ethnicities;

- Males of all age groups (except under four years old) access care less than females;

- Kaumatua with diabetes and heart disease are not receiving sufficient primary care services to make the difference.

But there are some other conclusions that we can make from this report. Indeed, Professor Tony Dowell of the Otago School of Medicine has observed that the study is important because it demonstrates how a partnership between a Maori provider and mainstream PHO can work well.

This notion of working, side by side, Maori and non-Maori, is of course, not new to the Wairarapa. Every year the crowds flock to Masterton to witness Maori teams competing against Pakeha teams for the prestigious Golden Shears championships.

A couple of years back, Ngati Porou man, John Kirkpatrick struck gold, wrestling the open championship award from Te Kuiti legend, David Fagan. Anyone has the opportunity for excellence – indeed, in our current Parliament, National MP, Colin King, has been a three times Golden Shears Champion.

So there is much to build on in the work that the PHO and Te Hauora have been doing together, in valuing and respecting the unique needs of our kaumatua.

And I need to say that the successful relationship demonstrated with Te Hauora Runanga o Wairarapa is not an isolated example, of the Primary Health Organisation working well alongside a Maori provider.

For we have seen with the ‘He Ha’ initiative (the Healthy Eating; Healthy Action project) – and the services to improve access resources, is that the strength of the partnership with Whaiora Whanui and the PHO is invaluable.

And this is a perfect opportunity to commend Janice Wenn for the huge contribution she has made to the health services of this region. In fact, it would be rare to find an area that Janice hasn’t been involved in.

Starting from work as a hospital aide in her school holidays at Greytown Hospital, through to the position of Chief Nurse; a director of the Wairarapa CHE from 1997; a Board member of the DHB; and chairperson of the Wairarapa Mana Whenua Caucus have just been some of the many roles she has taken up in her passion for influencing health outcomes.

But it is probably the initiative she has led over the last ten years, as Ngati Kahungunu ki Wairarapa, that is where her leadership is leadership. She helped to establish Whaiora Whanui as a kaupapa Maori, community based health service; and indeed she continues to play an important role as kaumatua on their board.

So I am thrilled to be able to honour Janice for the inspiration and legacy she has gifted to the Wairarapa.

Of course the PHO has also led the way in our collaborative arrangements with Tangata whenua, and I am thinking particularly of the outreach clinics run by Dr Katarina Becker with Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Wairarapa and Rangimarie Marae.

I understand that these clinics have been so successful that the DHB has also recently agreed to the PHO establishing school clinics into Makoura and Kuranui Colleges next year, and possibly Lakeview School.

And I was not at all surprised that a couple of years back this programme, Te Korowai Ora, won the 2004 Health Innovation Award because it really is a fantastic concept.

One of the key challenges that we face in trying to encourage our whanau to access primary health care is about ensuring there is a strong relationship between both general practice and public health. I know that this PHO has been leading some important work in delivering on the primary health care strategy with the five year action plan for primary health care nursing; and I congratulate you for that.

But the initiative you have established in holding free health clinics at Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Wairarapa is something very special. It gets rid of all of those barriers that may stop whanau from accessing health services they are entitled to – cultural, financial, location etc – and instead creates opportunities for everything and anything – treatment of skin infections, disease management of diabetes, hypertension, congestive heart failure; ear checks; cervical screening, even I understand, some minor surgery.

It sends out a great message – that whanau wellbeing is something the whole community can invest in – including making our schools sites of wellbeing.

And although the clinic opens its doors to everyone, I am so proud that the whanau of the tamariki attending the kura have responded so well. I was told that in the first year of operation, there were over 600 encounters – even though the clinic itself was only funded for 136 hours.

And the progress has been observed in

whanau members resuming medications that had fallen away through lack of regular contact to a GP;

a whole range of screening procedures initiated; and

most exciting of all – the kura community is now talking about health literacy and assertiveness as being as important as reading, ‘riting and ‘arithmetic.

I think that this sort of success absolutely reflects what we all desire in whanau ora – that sense of when you talk ‘health gain’ for the whole family, you really want to see programmes such as healthy eating, exercise and smoking cessation being taken up by the whole whanau – not as we may have seen in the past – the individual patient.

I know there are plenty of other initiatives that the Wairarapa Community Primary Health organisation is leading – the three year project to redesign the model of care for Chronic Care management sounds very interesting; as well as your incredible performance in the area of Care Plus.

And I’d be very interested to hear about the successes you are having in the campaign to Rise Above it – creating a Violence Free Wairarapa. And I want to commend the initiative and commitment that Georgina Beyer has demonstrated in this project.

Indeed, so rich are we for choice in thinking about all of the achievements and all of the outstanding leaders emerging out of the Wairarapa - from the PHO, from the whanau and hapu of Rangitaane o Wairarapa and Ngati Kahungunu o Wairarapa iwi; from the healthy collaboration with the District Councils; with health providers throughout the rohe; with the DHB; that I did wonder to Lisa as we drove across this afternoon, that perhaps we should set up camp over here for a couple of days to truly experience the wonder of the Wairarapa.

But then she reminded me, Mum, I’ve got to get home to my babies, and one mention of the mokopuna and sorry, but my extensive hikoi became reduced to a couple of hours.

Short as it may be, these couple of hours are a great tonic and I want to absolutely thank you, for the honour of sharing some of your wonderful success tonight. The Maori Party is absolutely uplifted by the potential for success that we see happening in a very real way here in the Wairarapa.

We can only encourage you to deliver more of the same, in order that all of our whanau are blessed with the advantage that thriving health and wellbeing brings. Whether it’s Lord of the Rings; or the Golden Shears; the Martinborough Fair; or Whanau Ora – the Wairarapa is certainly showing us all that this is the place to be. You are showing Aotearoa the successful formula of whanau doing things for yourselves. You are demonstrating the rigour that comes with rangatiratanga. And you are achieving great things with, by and for each other. Wairarapa, Well Done!


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