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Speech: Flavell For Turia - Te Roopu Waiora Trust

Te Roopu Waiora Trust; Auckland
Te Ururoa Flavell, MP for Waiariki
on behalf of Hon Tariana Turia, Minister of the Community and Voluntary Sector

Thursday 29 October 2009

I am honoured to stand here today, on behalf of the Minister of Disability Issues, and the Minister of the Community and Voluntary Sector, Tariana Turia.

I know she was greatly disappointed that due to a clash of schedules, it was simply not possible for her to be part of this special event today.

Whoever made the decision to give the project we are launching today the name, Project Karere, made an inspired choice.

For many Maori, the words Te Karere instantly evoke thoughts of the successful, 25-year-old television programme, broadcasting news in te reo Maori right throughout the motu.

For others, they might think of Te Karere Ipurangi – a website which provides a daily summary of news about Maori. It is used by many iwi radio stations as the basis for their broadcasts and is often a frequent access point for all things Maori on the internet.

The concept of a karere as a messenger, a courier, a carrier of news has been with us mai ra ano.

Whether it be on a spiritual realm or at a physical level, karere have always been associated with bringing people together, connecting past and present, across generations and tribal lines.

As far back as 1849, Ko te Karere Maori, the Maori Messenger, was a bilingual English and Maori newspaper; carrying the news across the nation.

So this project to reduce the isolation of disabled peoples by connecting them with their communities and services they need to access is starting on a very strong footing, by taking on the name Project Karere.
Project Karere is a unique initiative and I congratulate you.

By using technology to improve whānau access to health information and services this project will strengthen whānau and contribute to their wellbeing.

Technology also helps reduce the isolation many people with disabilities experience.

The new initiative being launched today will use remote video technology to provide an interpreting service to allow deaf speakers of Māori to participate in forums where Te Reo is used.

I had the wonderful privilege of being able to receive the first phone call made in New Zealand as part of the Video Relay Service introduced in New Zealand Sign Language Week earlier this year.

And it was a privilege to see conversation opening up to Deaf people in their own language.

With the Relay Service, Deaf people sign to an interpreter via a web camera. The Interpreter then relays their message in speech to the hearing person. The hearing person talks back and the interpreter signs what they say back to the Deaf person.

Project Karere is also going to develop a digital pānui and translation service and it will make internet radio programmes that provide information for the Māori blind.

Exciting as these developments are, there are still more developments brewing to help make the difference.

Mana Tangata Turi will build on the work being progressed for Deaf Maori. Part of the ongoing work is in developing guidelines for service providers working with tangata turi and their whānau. The project also provides an opportunity for sign language and Māori deaf awareness workshops.

And to ensure that all of these initiatives are able to provide inspiration to others around Aotearoa, Pae Huarahi is a component of the work which develops ways to engage, evaluate and assist service providers improve services to whānau with disabilities.
It’s projects like this one, Project Karere, which really excite me. I am always one who prefers to see solutions developed by the people themselves.

In your case it makes absolute sense that whanau with disabilities are the ones who are creating strategies and solutions for whanau with disabilities – who else better to do so?
The co-operation and enthusiasm of groups such as Tamaki Ngati Kapo; Mana Tangata Turi and the Ministry of Health will establish a strong foundation to move forwards on.

We all know that to achieve our goals and aspirations, being online and active in the digital world will be a crucial part of our programme for success.
Finding new and innovative ways to take advantage of computers and access the internet is essential if New Zealanders are to engage with their communities and their government

It’s not about using technology for the sake of it - Project Karere is about using the technology to better serve communities; it is about innovation; it is about local solutions.

At Te Roopu Waiora Trust you know all about success in meeting your goals to provide information, advice and support to whanau with physical, sensory and intellectual disabilities.

In fact you have been so successful in this mahi that I believe you won the Te Tohu Ngakaunui category of the Ministry of Health whanau ora awards last year.

I wish you the greatest success now in the new journey ahead, to help disabled persons and their whanau to identify and address their need for resources.

It might be about finding a support group online; access to information; or the vitally important goal of keeping the whole up to date with any developments of interest.

By making full use of computers, technology and the power of the internet, all New Zealanders will be better able to fully participate in their communities.

Te Karere is now making this connection happen for Te Roopu Waiora Trust.

May the message of access, of innovation, of leadership and of full participation be a message that endures in an inclusive community where disabled persons and their whanau are valued for the active contribution made across all aspects of our world

ENDS

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