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Tariana Turia: Launch of Te Ao Mārama Whānau Ora Collective

Hon Tariana Turia
Minister for Whanau Ora

Speech at the launch of Te Ao Mārama Whānau Ora Collective, YWAC (Youth Whānau Activities Centre)

25 Elliot Street, Ōpōtiki

1 June 2012, 10:30am

Thank you, Dickie Farrar for your words of welcome. It is, indeed, a privilege to be invited to share in this milestone - the transformation of Te Ao Mārama Whānau Ora Collective.

I wish to acknowledge the tangata whenua located within this Whānau Ora region of Te Moana ā Toi: Ngai Tūhoe; Te Whakatōhea; Ngāitai; and Te Whānau-a-Apanui.

To the nine health and social service providers from across the eastern Bay of Plenty who are committed members of this Collective – congratulations. And I want to name you all – to honour the contribution you are each making – and the whānau you represent:

• Based in Opotiki, we have Te Ao Hou Trust; Toiora Health Centre; Whakaatu Whanaunga Trust, and Te Wheke Atawhai;
• In Taneatua there is Tuhoe Matauranga Trust and the Taneatua, Waimana Ruatoki Taiohi Trust
• In Ruatoki we have Waikirikiri Social Services; in Torere there is Ngaitai Iwi Authority; and from Waiohau, Te Tapenakara Mo te iwi Trust.

Your collective is a relatively new grouping, bound together by whakapapa; the communities you serve; and a compelling desire to effect and lead change for the betterment of your whānau.

Your strong strategic alliance will ensure a ‘whole of system, whole of sector’ approach in the delivery of whānau-centred services. You are indeed at the forefront of change and I am so proud of the direction you are leading.

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Finally, to the most important group who have come here today, to our whānau, anei nga mihi ki a koutou. Your journey, your stories, and your aspirations are at the heart of the Whanau Ora approach.

I remember in the early days when we were setting out, the Whanau Ora Taskforce told us outright that “whanau are our colleagues on the process of change, and have a right to participation in every aspect of practice.” It is great that you are here – and it is right that you are here – and I am inspired by the mandate and the momentum your presence here demonstrates.

The kaupapa of Whanau Ora is not a new one, it was born out of our communities many years ago. It was how we lived. There was little or no interaction with state agencies. When we needed support, we turned to our extended whanau.

I never saw a doctor until I was 14. My Nanny, my Kuia and Aunties took care of our health and wellbeing. Children were the heartbeat of our future so we were loved and nurtured. We did not have material wealth, in fact we would have been considered to be in poverty. What we did have was confidence, self-belief and pride in the essence of who we were. We wanted for nothing, because our whanau were the centre of our wellbeing.

In essence, Whānau Ora is a way of seeing the world through whānau eyes. Where-ever I go, whānau go with me.

Just as a way of explaining this - in my office at Parliament I am surrounded by photographs of my whānau – from my desk I look into the eyes of my Dad; by my computer there’s a photo of a cherished cousin; on the wall my tupuna, my daughter, our mokopuna, our kuia. Everywhere I turn I see them watching me, watching over me, challenging me to do my best by them; to make them proud; to live up to their example

Whānau Ora reinstates in us that sense of self-belief that we can take control of our own wellbeing. It reminds us that we are never alone - within that our collective force is the key to resilience and transformation. Whānau provide us with that sense of purpose.

And I am reminded of a statement made by Naida Glavish:

“We survived. We survived colonisation, we survived assimilation, integration…. the theft of our lands…. the imprisonment of our people….we survived NOT to arrive today, to give in.

“We survived it to realise the strength that we have….. We never, ever gave it away.”

This is the message that we need to be giving to our whanau. We have not come this far, not to go further. And the wellbeing of every person, nourishes the whanau, and that feeds the wellbeing of hapu, and iwi.

We have strength, we have always had strength, and we must restore to them the belief that we can rise above whatever it is that confronts us.

Another way of looking at this approach is to say, that nobody knows best what is needed at home, better than those who live there – they are the experts in their own experience.

Te Ao Marama, as a Whanau Ora collective you are now a part of this transformative approach. Each provider within your Collective will have a direct responsibility to whānau to provide services that support and empower them to achieve outcomes. Outcomes that the whanau themselves establish based on their shared aspirations and wawata.

I congratulate you for your leadership in providing a holistic service that aligned to the values left to us by our tupuna, firmly rooted in tikanga and kaupapa.

The vision for our families and generations to come is :

Te harikoa, te whai mahi, te āta whai rawa, te whakawhānaungatanga, te ora, te matatau, te pai ō ngā kāinga, te taunga ō te noho’ – happy, employed, financially stable, connected, healthy, educated, well housed and self-sufficient whanau. It says it all.

It is a wonderful aspiration and I have every confidence that you will succeed.

I want to congratulate all the whānau involved who are taking up this opportunity to dream, to develop, to determine, to transform your futures. I understand that you have taken many practical steps on this journey to advance yourselves.

From looking through the plans of the 32 whānau encompassed in your collective, it is wonderful to see the different priorities and passions you are developing - mātauranga; pātaka kai, kākano o te whānau; ngā mahi pākihi; and whakauka whenua to name a few.

I know there has been a lot of hard work in reaching this milestone today. It has involved iwi leadership and meaningful engagement with whānau; And most of all it has asked us all to believe in ourselves - , to be willing to embark on a pathway of transformative change.

Te Ao Mārama – you are set to go - determined to represent your whānau, hapū and iwi as you navigate our way forward into the future. I commend your passion and commitment towards the realisation of Whānau Ora for Ngai Tūhoe, Te Whakatōhea, Ngāitai, Te Whānau-a-Apanui and the eastern Bay of Plenty community.

As Whaea Naida encourages us to think - “We survived to realise the strength that we have. We never, ever gave it away”

Whānau are our future – our reason for being – the greater purpose that gives us every reason to live.

Ki te Whai-ao (to the glimmer of dawn)
Ki te Ao-marama (to the bright light of day)
Tihei mauri-ora (there is life)


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