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Launch of the Extension of the Ministry of Health New Model


Hon Tariana Turia
Associate Minister of Health

Monday 10 September 2012; 2pm SPEECH

Launch of the extension of the Ministry of Health New Model for Supporting Disabled People

Te Manuka Tutahi Marae, Muriwai Drive, Whakatane

Tena koutou katoa. Ka mihi atu ki te tangata whenua no konei, Ngati Awa, te waka o Mataatua tena koutou. Ngā mihi ki ngā hunga haua, ngā kuia, ngā koroheke, ngā pakeke, ngā rangatahi, ngā mokopuna hoki.

I firstly acknowledge Judy Turner, Deputy Mayor Whakatane District Council; Pouroto Ngaropo, Whakatane District Councillor and other local dignitaries; mana whenua; members of Inclusion Aotearoa; and disabled peoples and your families right throughout the Eastern Bay of Plenty.
It is an honour and a privilege to stand in this wharepuni.

Thank you for welcoming us on to this marae. A marae steeped in history, a marae which hosts the house which has travelled the globe and which has now come home, to be returned among your whanau, hapu and iwi – tena ra koutou, aa tatou katoa.

Mataatua Wharenui was originally built in the 1870s as a symbol of the resilience and unity of a people severely weakened by the effects of colonization and land confiscations. Its journey since that time has seen it shipped to Sydney; re-located to Melbourne, domiciled in London for forty years and finally established as a permanent exhibit at Otago Museum.

I share a special connection with this marae, as uri of Ngāti Apa/Ngā Wairiki, Ngā Rauru, Tūwharetoa and Whanganui descent. At the Mataatua Wharenui opening, just close to a year ago, a Ngāti Awa waiata was sung, ‘Te Toki’, in which there was a line ‘Te Takanga o Apa’. Te Takanga o Apa is the name of a place in the Kawerau region. It is a place in which our tupuna, Te Apa Hapaitaketake, went through, in his journey through Murupapa, through Taupō and down to the Rangitikei to Ngā Wairiki.

These connections, these stories, of journeys travelled, and the importance of returning home are absolutely central to the grand story we are witnessing today, in launching the New Model for supported disabled persons and their families.
There is an umbilical cord that connects us to our history, to our present, to our future. Today we welcome those connections, those responsibilities to each other, the affirmation of our relationships.

There is another very special association I have with Ngāti Awa.

And that is my memory of the beautiful Rena Savage, a wonderful and vivacious young woman who was a staunch advocate for improving accessibility. She was a role model, a leader, and leaves a vibrant legacy behind that we must all make every moment count.

I want to mihi to her whanaunga from this rohe, and to thank you. Thank you for bringing such a wonderful woman into our lives, and for sharing her journey towards improving the wellbeing of people with disabilities.

In one of her many inspirational talks Rena said

“I have to acknowledge those who have been in my life, who have gone before me but have left a lasting impression; who have ensured that the path they have paved is one of accessibility, is one of inclusion to the best of their ability.”

She always had a positive outlook, and when I think back to where she is from, and indeed where you are from I can see why.

I want to acknowledge some of those other links as providing the whariki from which this new model has been spun.

It is timely as the Paralympics come to an end that we remember the past and well-known paralympions that emerge from this rohe. Eve Rimmer, and Jim Savage who, beyond being sporting champions, made a significant contribution to improving the lives of disabled people in this rohe. Eve founded the Disability Resource Centre in Whakatane and Jim Savage of Kawerau spent decades working for disability sports and other community activities.

In Te Teko, just down the road, we saw the first kaupapa Maori residence for disabled people, Te Whare Manaaki established in the 1990s. And I want to also acknowledge today the recent appointment of Enid Rātahi-Prior as Chief Executive for Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa, noting of course Enid’s long involvement with Te Whare Manaaki.

In 1993 the Eastern Bay of Plenty People First group hosted a national conference for people with an intellectual disability, and were involved in the setting up of the independent People First in 2003.

There are also a number of outstanding role models who continue to influence advances in the disability services sector. And I want to acknowledge Sylvia Tai and your partner Percy, and Rainus Baker and your partner Fiola. Both Sylvia and Rainus have been recognised for their contributions to the community, and both have been a part of the Maori Disability Leadership which helped craft the Maori Disability Plan.

And I mihi to Poihaere Morris; and Bronwen Fox manager of the Whakatane Disability Information Centre, and member of the New Model National Reference Group – tena korua.

If it seems as if I have spent considerable time today, establishing key markers in our journey, you would be absolutely right.

One of the key points in launching what we are calling the New Model is to actually recognise the new way is in refamiliarising ourselves and reorientating ourselves to the connections and the relationships that define us and shape us long before services come into our lives.

We are all threads in a web of life which binds us together through intimate ever-enduring connections. Whatever we do to that web we do to ourselves. We are one and the same.

Today then we are extending the New Model for Supporting Disabled People into the Eastern Bay of Plenty.

The New Model has been in place in the Western Bay of Plenty since 2011. Local Area Co-ordinators are working in communities and with disabled people and their whanau to help develop plans for the future, and build up natural and community support so that they can live the life they choose, a “good life”.

In other words, the New Model is premised on looking with new eyes at the rich resource that is often all around us.

The Local Area Coordinators have also been working towards an overarching goal of creating more a more accessible society, by helping communities to understand the contribution that disabled people can make, and providing support towards breaking down the barriers that create a disabling society.

It literally calls on us all to open our eyes wide to the possibilities we must explore to improve the wellbeing of disabled people. This includes families and whānau. We need to build their capability so they become enabling not disabling as the society around us tends to be.

The expansion of the demonstration means introducing more Local Co-ordinators across the region.
Three will be placed here in the Eastern Bay of Plenty, and another three will be placed in the Western Bay increasing the number of Coordinators in the wider region to ten.

These Local Area Co-ordinators, have made over a thousand community connections. They have helped rangatahi, pakeke and their whanau with specific information or with particular tasks such as getting involved in local sports or finding a new place to live. They have also established good relationships with whanau, meaning that they are there to call on when whanau need assistance with planning into the future. In this region, many of the services that people need to access are based in Tauranga and Rotorua, so the support provided will be welcome I am sure.

Perhaps the most exciting aspect of the expansion of the New Model into the Eastern Bay of Plenty is through the individualised funding scheme, which will be expanded to enable disabled people considerably greater flexibility over what they purchase with the funds that they have been allocated.

Traditionally disabled people were allocated a certain type and amount of support through accessing disability services. The new model will now give disabled people and their whanau more choice over what services they need, and how they want to be supported.

One of the key elements of this approach will mean that disabled people will be much more involved in self -assessment and their own planning rather than the activities always being led by someone else. It is about ensuring that the person and the whanau are a key part of the decision making throughout the entire process of determining service and support. It is about instilling that self-belief that in fact they do know what’s best.

The Bay of Plenty is the first region to have this model available, and the Ministry will continue to work on developing the model for extension across the wider population.

A local working group of disabled people, their whanau and support providers are assisting the Ministry to develop and implement the new model in this area.

They are currently seeking new members from the Eastern Bay of Plenty, and so I would encourage people to become a part of that network, and to work closely with the Ministry and each other to ensure that this new model is implemented in a way which fits your community context.

The changes that are heralded in the new model have been sought by disabled people and their whanau for a long time. It is very exciting for me today to bring all those possibilities to the people of this rohe. Your ongoing support, encouragement and active engagement will help develop these possibilities into realities of greater choice, control and flexibility, and hopefully enable good lives for the people of your communities.

Tēnā koutou katoa.

ENDS

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