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5th Birthday Celebrations of the Napier Community House

Hon Tariana Turia
Minister for the Community and Voluntary Sector

5th Birthday Celebrations of the Napier Community House; 11 August 2011, 10am

I want to firstly acknowledge the presence of
• Heitia Hiha (Ngati Matepu);
• Her honour the Mayor of Napier, Barbara Arnott;
• members and tenants of the Napier Community House Trust;
• and the wider community who are so central to this place.

When I opened my diary and saw that I was going to a fifth birthday celebration I had to say I was quite excited

I was even more pleased when I saw that the celebration was in Ikaroa Rawhiti – specifically the Hawkes Bay.

Fifth birthdays are a tremendous occasion in the life of any whanau.

They are one of those milestone dates – a ritual of passage which marks the transition from one step in the journey of life to another.

And why would it be so special to be in the Hawkes Bay for such an occasion?

A week ago, I had the privilege of visiting the Science and Leadership Academy at Hastings Intermediate. And I want to share just one moment in that day which has reminded me why this place is so special.

Every morning, every single child that walks through the gates of Hastings Intermediate is met by two teachers who greet every child by name. I think that is absolutely remarkable – and we’re talking 500 children at that school.

That simple gesture – a personal greeting to start the day – tells me everything about being welcomed; being celebrated, being valued.

It provides a very special context for being here today, to celebrate the fifth birthday of the Napier Community House.

Like those teachers at the front of the school; Napier Community House has successfully been providing a meeting place for the community to come together. It exemplifies the concept of a one-stop-shop where you can visit a number of organisations in one convenient and central location.

Being together under the same roof has led to an improved and more coordinated approach to service delivery. One simple example of how this works, makes it clear why the Napier Community House is so successful.

In the early days of the House, there were an ever-growing number of clients referred from multiple agencies for multiple needs ranging from family budgets, advocacy, tenant rights, food parcels and disability access.

Some clients were getting frustrated with having to go back to different referrals agents and service providers. Coming to the House has meant great opportunities for collaboration and information sharing; it has reduced confusion and ultimately it has been far more responsive to the needs of the people who walk in your doors.
This is a House with many rooms. The Napier Community House provides a base for up to twenty groups – all who are united under the shared goal of improving the lives of the Napier community.

And I want to just call the roll of all the groups who have chosen to co-locate in this community house

o Creative Napier
o Epilepsy Hawke’s Bay
o Family Planning Health Promotion
o Home Support Disability Resource Centre
o Information 4 Disability
o Kina Trust
o Literacy Aotearoa Hawkes Bay
o Napier Budget Advisory Service Inc
o Napier Community Foodbank Trust
o Napier Pilot City Trust
o Network Personnel – Disability Resource Centre
o Peoples Advocacy Society Inc
o Students Against Drunk Driving
o Volunteering Hawke’s Bay

There are some amazing groups gathered amongst you - and I do particularly want to single out Napier Pilot City Trust and to mihi to Pat Magill who has been associated with the Trust since its inception in 1983.

Pat represents the very best of community development – his forte is in bringing groups together and uniting under a single purpose. I am sure his vast experience will continue to be of value in this Community House.

I do just have to make a comment about the fact that I do not see any specific groups from the mana whenua, from Pasifika or from ethnic communities included in your membership.

And I am very mindful of the principle of diversity in Kia Tutahi Standing Together -the Relationship Accord signed very recently between government and communities of Aotearoa.

Ten days ago, on 1 August, the Prime Minister, community members and I signed the Kia Tūtahi Standing Together Relationship Accord at Parliament.
The principles in Kia Tutahi form a platform on which government and communities can build stronger relationships to work better together.

There is a key principle in there about reaching out and responding to diversity in our community, including mana whenua and mana Pasifika. I hope that it provides some food for thought as you open your doors to the community in the days to come.

Community houses are a pragmatic and innovative solution to the needs of community organisations and users. We must ensure that they do represent the full richness of all of our communities.

Of course, those who come to this Community House come from many different backgrounds and agencies.

I understand that the Napier Community House has also developed a strong connection with the Ministry of Social Development Community Link centre where we stand today. By being so closely located, the additional meeting space has proved extremely useful.
One of the great strengths of the community house concept which governments particularly like is the way in which costs are reduced Achieving savings in overhead costs enables organisations to focus on delivery of their services and achieving better outcomes for our communities.

The opportunity to share resources in common such as the reception services, photocopier, meeting rooms and kitchen is a key advantage in the community house approach. And the efficiencies gained from working together must be commended.

What is so positive about coming to an event like today is that it gives an opportunity to reflect at the progress achieved, and the changes made.

One example that really stood out was a simple strategy applied by Napier Budget Advice, Peoples Advocacy and Information 4 Disability. These three organisations have developed a flow process chart that future clients needing more than one service can follow when they were referred to the community house. So simple and so sensible.

Another great story is to learn that the Napier Community House Trust, on behalf of its tenants, has taken on the role of funding administrator thereby reducing the administrative burden for tenants. Having one person with expertise, who can concentrate on relationships with funders, and craft a joint application for funding, must be a model that other groups can follow.

It is a credit to the foresight of the funding partners that funding has been received from Lottery Hawkes Bay Community Committee; the Kahungunu Ki Heretaunga Community Organisations Grant Scheme Committee; the Napier City Council, and Eastern and Central Community Trust.

I want to pay a special tribute to the volunteers who have played a large part in supporting the services that our people need; and the business community who have also actively demonstrated their support.

Finally, I can not leave this birthday occasion today, without thinking of two very important people who have meant so much to this Community House and are not with us today.

When I was growing up, my grandmother used to lay an extra plate at the table on our special occasions, to signify our loved ones no longer with us.

Today, we must lay a place for Raewyn Smith who championed the establishment of the community house but died before it opened. There is a communal meeting room inside the house named after her.

And we are drawn also in memory of Joe (Tuahine) Northover (Ngāti Porou, Ngāti Kahungunu) who was kaumatua for so many organisations throughout this rohe. Joe Northover blessed the community house when it opened in 2006 and we think of him today.

You are indeed blessed to be at the heart of this community; to be a hub for your people; a centre for gathering, to learn and to grow.

I wish you a wonderful birthday celebration.


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