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Turia: Tipu Ora Certificate in Hauora Maori Health

Tipu Ora Certificate in Hauora Maori Health

Kuratini Marae, Massey University, Wellington

Friday 17 October 2008

Hon Tariana Turia, Co-leader of the Maori Party

Three months ago a very important ceremony took place on this marae.

It was the blessing at dawn, of the pou tuarongo gifted to the marae by carver Ranga Tuhi of Waikato, Ngati Maniapoto.

In sharing his whakaaro about the pou, Mr Tuhi told about how he felt the house needed to be clothed, to bring it to life. It was a gesture of goodwill to unite the staff and students, to strengthen the sense of community around this marae.

The pou is a living treasure, representing the journey of life for Maui, culminating in his meeting with the goddess of death, Hine nui te Po.

It seemed to me a very strong symbol in which to reflect on today, as we experience another very significant rite of passage, the ceremony of graduation for our Tipu Ora students.

This is indeed a rite of passage, a time in which the graduates we honour today, have reached a new and significant change in their life.

Unlike other rites of passages – 21st birthdays, weddings, christenings – our graduates are not likely to be showered with lavish gifts or fruit cakes smeared with marzipan icing.

But they have instead, received a rich assortment of precious gifts.

The gift of insight, the gift of identity, the gift of cultural resilience.

This occasion, to pay tribute to our graduands of the National Certificate in Hauora (Maori) is also an opportunity to pay tribute to ourselves – to whakapapa Maori, our tupuna, our whanau, hapu, iwi, our cultural assets, our cultural strengths.

In 21 days time we are all going to face a very important question.

That question is, he aha te mea nui? He tangata, he tangata, he tangata.

We have heard others say ‘this election is about trust’.

I want to say to you, yes it is about trust, trust in ourselves.

Trust - that only we know of the unique relationship we cherish with our environment - te tinorangatiratanga o ö rätou wenua o rätou kainga me ö rätou taonga katoa.

No Government yet has ever honoured the opportunity for active protection of all interests guaranteed under Article Two of the Treaty.

The Crown has the duty of active protection of our lands, our villages, our taonga, - to protect rangatiratanga, to ensure we retain the full and exclusive and undisturbed possession of our language and culture.

So the question of trust in the context of the Treaty relationship is indeed an important one.

As a people who have been separated from our lands, our ancestral homes destroyed, our spirit crushed, we know about trust.

Professor Mason Durie identified many years ago, that the alienation of people from their land and their culture subjects them to a fragmentation of identity and, along with loss of possessions, a loss of spirit.

But we have survived, and we will continue to survive and to thrive.

So how did we achieve that significant rite of passage of life?

Because we trusted in ourselves, in our impenetrable sense of who we are, where we belong, the identity that makes us tangata whenua, the people of the land.

This is the gift we recall today, the knowledge we have inherited about how to protect the sustainability of our environment, how to maintain the vitality of our people through our cultural identity.

I think about today as a rite of passage because I know that the training you have experienced in studying for the Tipu Ora Certificate in Hauora Maori Health has changed you forever.

The fertile abundance of Maori models of health has given you a way of looking at what we define as wellness, instead of the western definition of health as merely the absence of disease.

In our policy on whanau ora released earlier this week, we drew on some of these wonderful concepts of well-being:

• Wairuatanga – spirituality;

• Hinengaro – the mind;

• Tinana – physical wellbeing;

• Whanau – the family;

• Whanaungatanga – extended family;

• Waiora – total wellbeing for the family and individual;

• Mauri – the life force;

• Mana ake – the unique identity of the family and individual;

• Ha a kui ma a koro ma – breath of life from our ancestors;

• Whatumanawa – the open and healthy expression of emotion;

• Whenua –reconnection to the land;

• Whakapapa– maintain connections to whanau, hapu and iwi.

In the Maori Party these concepts matter.

They are not ‘add ons’; optional extras when time allows.

They are central to the heart of our policy.

As Maori, we do not relinquish our identity when we walk in the doors of the health clinic, when we enter the school playground, when we walk into the bank.

We constantly straddle the swingbridge between Te Ao Maori and Te Ao Whanui – we bring our whakapapa with us wherever we go.

We must never give up on ourselves.

We are tired of measuring ourselves against others. We must look to our own benchmarks, our own tribal traditions, our own cultural concepts.

If we want to assess progress let us turn to the breadth of our generations; let us look at the changes we have made in the lives of our families.

Being at the beck and call of others, will only ever be diminishing.

That is why I have spoken out against reliance on welfare. Welfare does not equate to wellbeing. Welfare does not promote purpose, dignity, pride or hope.

We need to restore the trust and pride in ourselves, to uplift our people, to be self-determining.

This is, of course, our long term vision – it won’t happen overnight. And first off, we must attend to the urgent necessity of economic impoverishment that so many of our families are experiencing.

It is appropriate today, on this World Day for the Eradication of Poverty, to make the commitment to eliminate poverty, on behalf of our children and our children’s children.

Our policy is absolutely focused on the goal of making a difference to the lives of the 230,000 children in this country living in poverty.

We have set a deadline to eliminate child poverty by 2020.

We have insisted that Government must adopt an official poverty line. We have advocated to increase the minimum wage to at least $15 an hour. We will extend the in work payment to ensure all children can enjoy a decent quality of life.

This is a harsh reality for this time, and we must do all that we can to invest in a positive future in which we can restore confidence to every family, that indeed our people are our greatest strength.

You leave Tipu Ora today, a different person.

The qualification you have gained in hauora has given you a strong foundation in te reo Maori, Tiriti o Waitangi, kaupapa me ona tikanga, working with whanau, cultural strength, spiritual wellbeing, and the skills required to ensure every person benefits from access to appropriate treatment, referral to specialists, the strategies to care and protect for one’s health.

But importantly you have also learned to rely on us – to rely on our traditions, our kaupapa, our leadership.

You have learned to trust our whanau, to value them as the ultimate source of identity and security for each other.

You have learned that it is our rights and obligations to ourselves that will provide us with the clearest vision for the future.

Whether it is tomorrow, or 21 days from here, or 21 years on, we must preserve this vital gift of cultural competency.

We must stay strong in who we are, as the best basis for our health and wellbeing, as the foundation for our future.

We truly believe, that when all people are strong in who they are, we can be proud of ourselves as a nation. If we trust in ourselves, if we know what makes us unique, Aotearoa will never be in better shape.

ENDS

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