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Speech: Turia - National Certificate, Hauora Maori

Tipu Ora Charitable Trust :

Graduation - National Certificate in Hauora Maori

Houmaitawhiti Marae; Rotorua

Monday 30 November 2009; 10.30am

Hon Tariana Turia; Associate Minister of Health

(delivered by Te Ururoa Flavell, Waiariki MP)

I am really disappointed not to be with you today.

But I know there is probably no better roopu than this one, to understand that the reason I cannot be with you today, is because of the steps I am taking to care for my health, in my love for my whanau.

I have no desire to live my life compromised by the condition of my health; and so I have decided to address my diabetes through undergoing a gastric bypass.

It was a big decision, but when it came down to the line, it was surprisingly easy. I have so much to live for; and whanau ora gives me every reason to know I have made the right decision.

As I thought about the events on this marae today, I was struck with the symbolism of Houmaitawhiti for this celebration of the graduates of the National Certificate in Hauora Maori.

Just over 18 months ago it was at this marae that the announcement was made of $72 million to be invested in cleaning up the lakes.

The Rotorua Lakes – which were formerly known as the jewel in the crown of tourism - have been contaminated by algal blooms and decades of nutrient run off from farming, from sewage and other polluters.

Central Government, in a joint relationship with Rotorua District Council and Environment Bay of Plenty, agreed to restore the most seriously degraded lakes - Rotorua, Rotoiti, Okareka and Rotoehu – to their former glory.

But there is still a requirement for farming practice to change; in short for everyone to take collective responsibility for the clean up.

It is a wonderful image of what you, in Tipu Ora, are doing with and for our whanau.

Despite all the trials and tribulations; despite the serious issues that continue to impact on our whanau, Tipu Ora continues to demonstrate to us all that whanau ora is a reality that we can all attain.

Today, we celebrate the National Certificate in Hauora – level four – and the Tipu Ora Diploma in Hauora Maori – level six. These qualifications play a significant part in restoring every whanau to be the glittering jewel of te Ao Maori.

The graduates in the diploma pilot programme, and the certificate programme, have acquired the skills and the attitudes to promote wellness models of health.

Hauora; whanau ora; mauri ora, tamariki ora – all of these aspirations are the pathway forward to ensure our whanau are equipped for a prosperous and positive present and a fantastic future.

And just as the process for restoration of the lakes requires many different work streams and a diverse range of key agencies involved; so too, whanau ora requires a comprehensive and coordinated approach.

We are privileged today to be in the company of graduates who now have skills and knowledge related to manaakitanga; auahi kore; korikori tinana; counselling; youth work; alcohol and drug work; tamariki ora; primary and secondary health services; social services; te reo Maori; Treaty of Waitangi; hauora and tikanga Maori.

And if that sounds a lot to take in, welcome to the world of whanau.

There is nothing that reminds us more of the vital need for skills such as you are all graduating with, than the tragic story that has unfolded not far from here in Kaingaroa.

The comment from Rotorua area commander Inspector Bruce Horne is so significant that I believe it bears repeating. He said,

“Less than 48 hours after the close of White Ribbon Day we have experienced another terrible case of family violence, resulting in the needless death of a woman. We have to keep working together to break the cycle of family violence”.

It’s knowing what to do; how to intervene; what will make the difference.

The certificate and diploma students we honour today, leave here better equipped for the complex and overlapping issues that challenge our communities.

Having the knowledge is particularly relevant when we think of the health literacy skills amongst Maori communities. By health literacy, I mean the ability to obtain, process and understand basic health information in order to make well-informed decisions.

What all of the research reports tell us is that people with poor health literacy are less likely to use prevention services such as screening. They have poor knowledge of their illness, the treatment and medicines required or the lifestyle changes that help them to manage their condition.

The knowledge that you have developed over the last eighteen months will make you well qualified to work in hauora services delivered by Maori health providers, mainstream health services, marae, institutions, community centres and local clinics.

But more important than any of these locations, is the location of the whanau home.

In a time of monumental change both within the economy at large and the health sector itself, Tipu Ora has done the essential work of preparing the greatest health workforce to support whanau ora.

I am so proud of Tipu Ora and the living legacy you have established for whanau, hapu and iwi.

You have demonstrated, year after year, that our kaupapa and tikanga can be interwoven through all practices of hauora to create lasting change.

You have set your sights high on the belief that every whanau is entitled to enjoy the ultimate wellness and wellbeing; that we can restore practices relating to tinana and hinengaro which are life enhancing; that mana and kaitiakitanga are values which we must do everything we can to uphold.

I congratulate all the graduands today, I congratulate Tipu Ora; and I congratulate all of the whanau who will continue to inspire and motivate us all, to believe that whanau ora is the greatest transformation that we will ever know.


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