Dame Tariana opens Whānau Ora Symposium

The founder of Whānau Ora, Hon Dame Tariana Turia, today officially opened the annual symposium for Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu at the Marlborough Convention Centre in Blenheim.

Dame Tariana in her speech reviewed the progress of Whānau Ora since its launching in April 2010, by looking back to the work of its reference group chaired by Sir Professor Mason Durie.  

She asked direct questions of the Minister for Whānau Ora, Hon Peeni Henare who will speak to the hui on Friday morning.

“How will his review of Whānau Ora take into account the unique difference that Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu is making with their investment in whānau initiatives, your amazing navigators, your work with Tu Pono Te Mana Kaha o te Whānau; your whānau?   We know that this Government is preparing to launch a Wellbeing Budget.  What better place is there to look to ‘budget for wellbeing’ than here, in the meaning of Whānau Ora.”

Dame Tariana made a strong challenge to the layers of reporting and bureaucracy, describing the Government as a “departmental babysitter”.   There was strong support from the audience when she commented: “in my eyes, the preference is still to retain our autonomy and report directly to the Minister; removing the bureaucracy in-between”.

Other speakers in Thursday’s line-up include Dr Lana Leslie-Henfling; a Kamilaroi woman from New South Wales Australia, whose focus is Indigenous research, health inequalities and Indigenous leadership; Dr Peter Meihana a historian from Rangitane who talked about the history of the Wairau Bar; the whānau Downes from Taumarunui; and Kiley Nepia from Omaka Marae.

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