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Tariana Turia Speech: Positive Messaging Campaign

E Tu! and Pasefika Positive Messaging Campaign Pipitea Marae, Wellington

Hon Tariana Turia, Associate Minister of Social Development and Employment Tuesday 16 August 2011, 6pm

Delivered by Rahui Katene, MP for Te Tai Tonga; on behalf of Minister Turia (prevented from attending due to weather)

One of the greatest sources of celebration, of unity, of togetherness that we share, as peoples of Te Moana Nui a Kiwa, is the gift of song.

And so when I think of the concept of 'E Tu' to stand tall, I am inevitably drawn to the words of a waiata that our children are brought up on

E tu kahikatea , hei whakapae ururoa

Awhi mai awhi atu, tatou, tatou e.

In this simple song our tamariki are inspired to stand with strength in their convictions - indeed to stand tall like the kahikatea tree. They are nurtured to know that if your spirit is strong, your thoughts will clear your path ahead.

But the song stretches our thinking further to encourage us to help others - and to know that you too can receive help - awhi mai, awhi atu. Through our coming together, we will rejoice in one purpose and in solid unity.

And so today, I welcome all of us here to this wonderful gathering place at Pipitea Marae; to come together under the context of inspiring our whanau, our aiga, our families to focus on wellbeing.

Often our marae in the cities, like Pipitea, offer a special haven for people of all iwi and cultures to meet together.

At another such marae - Hoani Waititi Marae in Auckland - a very significant hui occurred in 2004, when the wider Samoan community came together with Maori, to talk about the importance of connections between their peoples.

And I want to share a few words spoken at that time by Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese Efi, as an appropriate starting point for this important event tonight.

"We have come here this year to do a So'o. So'o means connection. We are celebrating connection, our connection with our ancestors, our mythology and our connection with our history. Why do we celebrate these things? Because they speak to us in a unique way and bring out the best in us.

The test of our connectedness or our kinship is whether we stand by each other in adverse times. These relationships between us and our Gods, us and the ancestors, us and each other as well as us and the environment are tapu relationships and must be restored and lived out again. Let us not turn our backs on the wisdom of our ancestors. The message is still as relevant and applicable to us now as Maori, as Samoan, and as Pakeha as it was then.

Sometimes when I read a statement like that it feels as the words come out of the page and are words written into my heart.

The concept of So'o - of relationships - of letting our connections bring out the best in us is precisely why we are here tonight.

We are here to celebrate the enduring significance of six central themes:

* Aroha - the expression of feeling loved

* Whanaungatanga - being connected to whanau

* Whakapapa - knowing who you are and where you come from

* Mana / manaaki - upholding our dignity, the essence of who we are

* Korero / awhi - to communicate, to support one another

* Tikanga- literally, doing things the right way.

These six messages, while founded in the E Tu campaign; speak powerfully and profoundly to the resources being released tonight as part of the Pasifika campaign to emphasize one central statement : Our Families, Our People, Our Responsibilities.

It is absolutely clear to me - that this emphasis on owning up to our responsibilities, facing up to our obligations - is a value which is sacrosanct in both Maori and Pasefika communities.

Tonight - whilst we are united through our genealogical ties as people of the Pacific - we are also bonded through our emphasis on the value of the collective - the family grouping in particular.

Tonight's event - whether we stand tall, E Tu, for our whanau, hapu and iwi or whether we say it loud - that we are Pasefika Proud - is all about knowing that creating a strong future for our families requires leadership, ownership and action at all levels.

Our campaigns stem from the belief that we are best placed to address family violence from our own basis of understanding. Successful strategies emerge from values and beliefs that are designed, delivered and led by our own peoples.

For all of us, that will mean concepts that reclaim our values, culture and tikanga as the basis of change.

We know that change has to come within our own whanau - all of us need to step up to the plate.

It is reinstating the ways of being that I grew up with - the sense that every time you stepped out there were a hundred eyes watching your every move It is about each of us in this room honouring our role in each of our whanau.

The Pasefika campaign draws on the strengths of Pasefika peoples, growing out of the positive actions already underway at a local level to build strong families.

I am so excited that part of the Pasefika campaign are being led by groups like FLEP from Auckland and Streets Ahead 237 from Porirua - both groups which absolute inspire me with their energy; their vitality and their unmistakeable sense of voice. Pacific project who restore faith, restore culture, instil pride and self belief.

The more time I spend with them, the more familiar I become with seeing their world through their eyes; and respecting their complete commitment to the positive growth of their families.

They want everyone to experience success for themselves; they inspire us all to create a dream for ourselves and our tamariki - and they dare us to have the courage to do for ourselves.

We must draw on our collective strengths, to value the contribution we all make to whanau well-being and to know that our culture and who we are is the key to success.

Many of us have lived in the extended whanau situation and we know that no-one else will do it for us - we need to do for ourselves.

I am delighted tonight, that we launch a rich basket of many different ideas and approaches, to reinvest in our families to believe in themselves.

Ultimately, whether it be the FLEP video clip on You Tube; the posters, the waiata DVD or the series of Awhi booklets these resources are all about connecting to our people.

And when we talk connect - whether by text, by twitter, or by facebook - there are none better than our rangatahi.

I am a firm believer that what we are seeing through the phenomenon of social networking is that our rangatahi have a crucial role to play as agents of change. And so tonight, I am pleased that we are able to recognise this new leadership, with some of the amazing talent that will feature in campaign.

I am really looking forward to being inspired by the skills of Vocal FX from Tawa College, Musical Island Boys who also hail from Tawa and to view the video clip from Parehuia Mafi who has brought together a group of young people from Opotiki to restore wellness through the art and healing powers of waiata.

Together, all together, we must celebrate our connections and be proud of the positive messages that come from within us.

I wish us all a wonderful night to promote the goals of this campaign - E Tu - be Pasefika Proud - let us make the difference together.

© Scoop Media

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