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Speech: Turia - Handover of kaumatua complex

Hon Tariana Turia, Associate Minister of Housing
Tuesday 14 February 2012; 1pm
Te Runanga o Kirikiriroa Trust - Handover of kaumatua complex to the Rauawaawa Charitable Trust

It is with the greatest pleasure that I am able to mark my first official appointment as the Associate Minister of Housing by being present at this wonderful event today.

For there is so much in this project which represents the very best of thinking about the very real housing needs of whanau, hapu and iwi.

And in that respect I want to formally recognize Matiu Dickson, the chair of Te Runanga o Kirikiriroa Trust; and Tonga Kelly; the chair of Rauawaawa trust.

Your two organisations had the vision, the incentive and the commitment to formalize a relationship – a relationship that we have seen blossom today, through the handing over the kaumatua complex for the Rauawaawa charitable trust to manage.

Along the way, your vision became a beacon of hope that attracted others in its beam.

Darren Leith was the first to pick that vision up – his skills as project manager were particularly evident in the importance he placed on visiting the Rauawaawa, to listen to what it was that kaumatua wanted in a house, and then incorporating their ideas in the design.

I think the focus he gave to meeting with the Rauawaawa was a key success factor in this project. It reflects the vision of the Rauawaawa Kaumatua Charitable Trust : Hei manaaki nga kaumatua – this project is very much about valuing and responding to their quest for wellbeing.

In your journey you have wrapped others around you in support of the kaupapa.

Tony Osborne from Housing New Zealand took up the vision and argued for it at Head Office – giving particular emphasis to the model you are practising of working collegially together.

And of course NUMA – the national body and the Kirikiriroa urban Maori authority have taken up the opportunities as a Whanau Ora cluster to embrace the significance of good housing to a vision of positive outcomes for whanau.

In many respects, what we are seeing here today is the essence of Whanau Ora in action.

There are always some who want to focus on the nuts and bolts – how many hui were held; who attended; how much did the lunch cost; show me the invoices.

Make no mistake - that’s important. We have always known with Whanau Ora that we had to be both prudent and at the same time demonstrate robust accountability for every cent spent.

But for those who are limited by a focus on outputs and activities, I would simply encourage them to extend their horizons to think of the long-term gain, rather than simply the here and now. Whanau Ora is essentially about outcomes – outcomes shaped by the universal values of whakawhanaungatanga; manaakitanga; wairuaatanga; kotahitanga.

Today, with this unique display of generosity and respect between Kirikiriroa and Rauawaawa we are seeing evidence of a relationship which is firmly focused on improving outcomes.

The priority accorded to outcomes is music to my ears.

The vision our people have always had for Whanau Ora was that within the realms of the machinery of Government, there can still be the ability to be flexible, to be adaptable – to be responsive to the very needs of the people. We have moved way past the mistaken belief that one size fits all.

Today we are witnessing an innovation which has been governed and led by kaumatua who themselves are driven by the needs of Kaumatua – whether they be health, social, educational, cultural, recreational, housing or financial.

And I want to just take this moment to really acknowledge the members of the Rauawaawa Kaumatua Charitable Trust for your dedication and your innovation in truly being there for your people.

I have been to many of your events over the years and it is always a great thrill to see the enthusiasm that is generated by the breadth of your ideas.

Just over the last year you have set up a website; you’ve staged Kaumatua idol; you’ve hosted the national kaumatua service providers conference; and you’ve held a financial literacy presentation to get to grips with the intricacies of credit cards, interest rates, overdrafts and so on.

That’s over and above the business as usual – the clinics for arthritis; hearing; medication; budgeting; or Work and Income.
Just in those few examples, it is evident that your Trust is totally focused on the goal – he korowai oranga hei tau awhi i nga kaumatua.

Today, we strengthen that korowai even further with the fantastic gesture by Te Runanga o Kirikiriroa Trust in handing over a newly constructed kaumatua village for Rauawaawa to manage.

It is humbling, it is inspiring; and it is something to be truly celebrated.

Finally, I reflect on the significance we often give to our tribal homes, as the very foundation of our wellbeing as whanau.

We will say about our whare : E iri ana nga purakau o te whare i te tahuhu; ko te pataka korero o te wharenui.

In other words, the tahuhu – the main ridge pole of our meeting house – collects all the stories of our people – a unique combination of a library; a museum; an archive; and a bank.

Today, in this very special event, I know we are opening the way for so many stories to be told; so many new experiences to share which will be retained for the generations to come.

I congratulate everyone involved on this very exciting venture, and I look forward to many, many stories emerging in the years to come.

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