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Tariana Turia, Speech

South Island Hauora Graduation; Tipu Ora

Ariama Retreat Centre, Kaikoura Ranges

Tariana Turia, Co-leader, Maori Party

Thursday 12 April 2007

[check against delivery]

It is a great honour to be in the company, today, of the wisdom drawn from the wealth of Te Arawa, Ngati Whakaue, Ngati Awa, and Tainui, with the leadership of Pihopa and Inez Kingi, Putiputi O’Brien and Kingi Porima - all of whom have played such a vital role in establishing Tipu Ora.

I want to pay tribute to your collective vision – a vision which expanded the initiative founded by Te Roopu o te Ora back in 1931 – and sixty years later gave it new life through the Tipu Ora Trust.

Your leadership in many other areas – including Te Kaunihera o Nga Neehi Maori o Aotearoa (National Council of Maori Nurses); Te Ao Marama (New Zealand Maori Dental Association); Positive Aging; the Alcohol Advisory Council; Te Roopu Manaaki Sport and Recreation; with our whenua; with iwi development – is a reflection of what the course promotes as mana motuhake.

As we travelled here today, Te Ururoa and I shared our enthusiasm for the training programmes we have been privileged to attend over the last few years – other graduations at Houmaitawhiti Marae; at Arai Te Uru Marae, and the celebration of excellence we mark today, with the National Certificate in Hauora.

The Maori Party has been on a very similar journey as this National Certificate in Hauora – and we see our accomplishments in presenting a strong and independent Maori voice with influence as having had much the same history as your own. It is all about te ihi me te wehi – all that is excellent in being Maori.

The National Certificate is a moment to honour your achievements in the Whare Kahu – the indigenous framework.

A framework which this ceremony today acknowledges has been given unique character through the knowledge each of the twenty graduates has brought to bear from Kai Tahu, Kati Kuri, Poutini Kai Tahu, Kati Mamoe, Waitaha, Ngati Whatua, Te Ati Haunui a Paparangi, Ngati Whawhakia, Tainui, Maniapoto, Ngati Maru, Tuwharetoa, Te Arawa, Ngai Pikiao, Te Whakatohea, Ngati Porou, Ngai Tamanuhiri, Rongowhakaata, Te Rarawa, Mahurehure, Ngapuhi.

Such a list certainly refutes any thinking that there is but one Maori worldview; one Maori perspective!

It’s a big list – and as we all know it probably only touches the surface of all of the tribal histories and legacies you have access to, by virtue of tikanga a iwi; tikanga a hapu; tikanga a whanau.

But it does give some sense of the strength we recognise today in the graduation of an outstanding group of indigenous entrepreneurs.

The cultural understandings and knowledge you have all contributed – and that your whanau here with us today have also shared – make each graduate distinguished in your own right.

It is a manifestation of what we refer to as ‘ka apiti hono, tatai hono’ – the unbroken line from which we are guided by our ancestors –which is indeed, the central link to hauora.

I want to acknowledge too, the learnings that you will have benefitted from, delivered by your wananga facilitators and the Tipu Ora PTE team – adding, of course, other tribal philosophies and experiences to your kete of knowledge.

I have chosen to highlight the vastness of the experiences and world views brought together in this one programme, as a means of illustrating the strengths we possess as a basis for our future development.

You may be familiar with the whakatauaki:

Ko tau hikoi i runga i oku whariki

Ko tau noho i toku whare

E huakina ai toku tatau toku matapihi

If we respect the essence of who we are, we can attain the richest source of hauora.

I want to try to give meaning to this concept, through looking around us at this stunning initiative of Te Tai o Marokura.

I understand that since your first wananga here in October last year, all seven wananga have been held at this Retreat.

And indeed, what better place than this - to take time to reflect, to restore, to revive?

The Ariama Cultural Retreat has welcomed manuhiri from all over the world – participating as part of Tui Global, in the experience of hikoitanga – the journey of healing demonstrated through weaving magic, nurturing the tinana through sumptuous kai, and exploring the wonder of our natural resources.

The energy that this region captures in the enterprise of tourism is, of course, well-known.

Kati Kuri identified the niche in nature tourism some twenty years ago, in pioneering the iconic Whale Watch.

The sense of adventure and enterprise is rich in their whakapapa, through the significance of their tupuna Paikea. Tahupotiki, a descendant of Paikea, crossed Raukawamoana (Cook Strait) to Te Wai Pounamu; from whence came Kai Tahu.

Whale Watch was formed as a solution identified by Kati Kuri leaders such as Bill Solomon, who harnessed the entrepreneurial history of the people, to address the impact of a declining economy and unemployment on their whanau.

And so, they took some risks – mortgaged their houses to secure a loan to get the business going – and took it from there.

The annual return of visitors attracted to Kaikoura now exceeds one million, and more than 30% of the local economy is represented in tourism.

The challenge, for us all, is to seize the moment, just as Paikea took hold of the opportunity to reach out to Tohora, and ride the wave to Aotearoa. We must celebrate the journey that we can all make towards healthy, strong and resilient whanau.

There have been other journeys, that of course Kati Kuri and Kai Tahu are characterised by.

Photographic Artist Anne Noble, has created a legacy of landscapes through Te Hikoi o Kati Kuri – a set of images of sites of cultural significance to Kati Kuri, recording their journey from the Wairarapa to Kaikoura.

There has been investment in Te Tai o Marokura to document traditional uses of indigenous plants; or to deliver fresh analysis of the socio-political impacts of health policies upon Maori.

Other ventures have been as diverse as a range of Kati Kuri t-shirts through to the promotion of Takahanga Marae in the video compilation,Ka Huri Te Wa showcasing Kati Irakehu singer, Ariana Tikao.

It could be said – that what else should be expected from Te Ahi Kaikoura a Tama ki Te Rangi — the fires where Tama Ki Te Rangi ate crayfish – than the luxury of excellence.

I have chosen to highlight just a few of the things happening here – as an example of the brilliance that is available to us anywhere in Aotearoa – from any of our tribal areas – if we choose to explore our development potential.

We all have the opportunity to draw upon the strength of our collective wairua, tinana, hinengaro, to be indigenous agents of change on behalf of our whanau, hapu and iwi.

The skills and strategies that you have acquired in attaining theNational Certificate in Hauora build on whakapapa; te reo rangatira; tikanga; and Te Tiriti o Waitangi as the reclamation and renaissance of our own hauora practices.

The unit standards you have completed will enable you to return to your own settings, confident that you have the learning which can help to enhance the essence of nga mahi a nga tupuna.

You have been given the skill to make it happen – all you need is the will to realise it.

I do not want to suggest it will be easy. Far from it.

In thinking of our own path as the Maori Party – we did a count the other day of the number of speeches that we have given as a team of four in debates in Parliament, and it came to 226 speeches from the first day of the parliamentary session to the end of March 2007.

Just to put that into perspective - the total for the team of the five Maori Ministers in the Labour Government, Ministers Horomia, Mahuta, Samuels, Okeroa and Ririnui, was 39 for the same period.

226 to 39? And that’s just the speeches we deliver in the House! So the path to progress takes a bit of work…..But it’s more than a question of workload.

We are not just interested in the number of speeches but also the quality. And that is not to say that there have not been criticisms either - there have been but with each criticism, we have been given a few tips on how we can get even better.

Like you, who we know strive for excellence, we do likewise, believing as we do that excellence is the minimum that our people deserve.

Our commitment to the growth of healthy, resilient independent people, means that we must all play our part in encouraging new paths of activity and fostering a climate which celebrates Maori initiated development in every sphere of influence there is, for our collective good.

That too, is the challenge for you as graduates of the National Certificate in Hauora.

Tribal development, entrepreneurship is about investing in our own strengths, in our houses of learning, in tino rangatiratanga. We must truly understand our rights to nga taonga katoa as being an absolute expression of our own self determination. And we must appreciate the need for care, for kaitiakitanga, of these taonga also.

In this our desires to preserve our heritage, to promote our culture, to continually make the link between success and our own ways and values as Maori - will be crucial to our future.

Finally, I am reminded of the whakatauaki ‘He rei ngā niho, he parāoa ngā kauae’ (to have a whale’s tooth, you must also have a whale’s jaw). If we are to truly attain the state of excellence and success we so rightfully deserve, we must ensure that our skills, our talents, our work ethic, our commitment is nourished – so that we indeed, have the strength of a whale to carry us through.

Opportunities like today, to bask in the achievements and the endeavours of the Hauora Graduates are an important way of keeping us all inspired. Let the celebrations begin!


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