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Launch of Pasefika Proud Family Violence Research Plan

Hon Tariana Turia
Associate Minister of Social Development

17 October 2013; 6.30pm

The launch of the Ngā Vaka o Kaiga Tapu Pasefika Proud Family Violence Research Plan; and Pasefika Proud Community Awards Evening
WAIPUNA HOTEL, AUCKLAND

Thank you Reverend Elama Maea for the opening prayers – for setting the right platform for us tonight; to come together in the spirit of Pasefika Pride.

Thank you, also to Sandra Kailahi - who was such a wonderful host when we launched the Ngā Vaka o Kaiga Tapu Family Violence conceptual framework last year. It is with great pleasure that I learnt you would be helping us to celebrate the next part of our journey tonight.

My humble acknowledgments, firstly to
• Her excellency, Mrs O’Love Jacobsen, the Niue High Commissioner;
• Richard Wood, Chairperson of the Taskforce on Family Violence
• Paul von Dadelszen, the chairperson of the Expert Advisory Group on Family Violence;
• Fa’amatuainu Tino Pereira, Chair of the Pacific Advisory Group;
• Advisory group members; families; ministers of faith; community leaders and everyone who has gathered here to be Pasefika Proud.

I have been thinking a lot about this concept of pride.

One of the greatest blessings in my life, is having been raised by the village that we call Putiki Pa.

Within that village my elderly aunts in particular took it on themselves to mould and nurture my character. They had a collective duty to ensure that I would live up to the standards of those who walked before me.

I carry those messages with me to this day – in my heart; and in my conscience. Their wisdom was like a compass for life – it helps set me in the right direction; reminds me when I may be veering too far off course.

My aunts would counsel me about being over-confident or taking life for granted with the concept “pride comes before a fall”.

But more than anything – they encouraged me to believe in hope; in faith; and in our collective wealth – a richness that came from the fullness of our family.

They told me to treat others as I would want to be treated; to be proud of our whānau, our hapū, our iwi, our culture, our marae; our people.

One of their most salutary lessons was to help me learn that I was never alone. Wherever I travelled, whatever part of the world I would roam; their lessons, their leadership reside within me.

And so I learnt the ultimate expression of pride is in being a servant of our people – to know that whatever you do; you do on behalf of your family.

From what you have told me, the childhood I experienced resonates across the great waters of Te Moana-Nui-a-Kiwa, with what you describe as Pasefika Pride.

This event tonight marks the beginning of regional fono being held around the country, for the Pacific Advisory Group to share their feedback on what is being done to address violence in Pasefika families and communities.

So let us look again at what we might mean, in describing this event as the time to be Pasefika Proud.

The English poet, William Wordsworth, gave a similar definition of pride to the one my aunts schooled in me. He asked, “What is pride? A rocket that emulates the stars”.

I love that. It speaks to me about having your feet on the ground while aiming for the stars.

Like the most spectacular rocket; these awards tonight recognise those amongst us who are generating sparks of hope. Those people of the Pacific who are blazing a trail for us to follow; driving forward with a passion to reach the stars and change the world.

The pathway you are blazing, is proudly Pacific. The inaugural awards being given out tonight honour the concept of “for Pacific by Pacific”.

There are four individual awards and one group award to recognise the tireless commitment; the endless courage and the amazing initiative that shines out amongst our communities.

What we are recognising tonight is service – service to your workplace; service to your families; service to your communities; service to the peoples of the Pacific.

While the challenges may have arisen in the context of family violence, the solutions are universal – Pacific driven solutions to strengthen and support Pacific families and communities. What will it take to achieve wellbeing in all our families?

Over and over again, one truth came through. In the Tongan conceptual framework this was represented in the metaphor “Fofola e fala kae talanoa e kāinga” – an invitation to family members to come together and talk.

The vision of the framework is built on collective wellbeing –acknowledging and returning respect; valuing loyalty; and keeping relationships healthy and thriving. The Pacific Advisory Group worked from the basis that if things were to change for the good, then Pasefika communities needed to take ownership – and leadership – of how to address family violence in their families.

The power of the group was reiterated across all seven ethnic frameworks – the cultural script written across the Cook Islands, Fiji, Niue, Samoa, Tokelau, Tonga and Tuvalu underpins our strength.

This, then, is the recipe for success created in the Pasefika Proud Family Violence Research Plan which we are launching tonight.

It is the same prescription that drives the Pasefika Proud Community Awards.

How this translates at a community level is frequently complex; and can never be taken for granted.

But in and out of the houses, across communities and nations, we are seeing transformation occur through the impact of Ngā Vaka o Kaiga Tapu.

I am really pleased tonight, to specifically acknowledge

• the three co-authors of the Research Plan – three wonderful wise women - Everdina Fuli; Maiava Carmel Peteru and Jean Mitaera;
• and the project manager of the Pasefika Proud Research Plan – Marie Schmidt.

Each of you are Change Makers, trying to change attitudes and promote positive values through growing skills – growing people.

The Research Plan is unique. It is the very first research agenda of its kind to carry cultural significance across the Pacific for the Pasefika peoples of Niue, Cook Islands, Fiji, Tuvalu, Samoa, Tokelau and Tonga living in Aotearoa today.

The Pasefika Proud Family Violence Research Plan adds to the conceptual framework – Ngā Vaka o Kaiga Tapu – both which are focused on building the capacity and capability of Pacific family violence practitioners and providers.

They are, by no means, alone. The role of eliminating violence in Pasefika families and communities belongs to us all.

Like the moon, the stars and the sun – everyone can shine in the strength of your service and your support to one another.

Tonight then is about acknowledging a room full of stars who have had the courage and the dedication to restoring our homes and communities as places of safety and love; where strong and healthy relationships are the new norm in our world.

I want to pay special tribute to the recipients for leadership and action awards that we are honouring tonight. Each of you is making a tangible difference to your community – and indeed across the national stage.

You are bold, innovative and driven by a courage and a love for your people that knows no bound. I am so proud of you all – and the families and communities who have worked so passionately with you, to keep their families safe, strong and happy.

Finally, I mihi to every single person in this room for your capacity to walk the talk – to make the difference we need to ensure all Pasefika peoples are loved and can grow to your full potential.

ENDS

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