Welfare Report Endorses Whānau Ora Approach
Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu celebrates the endorsement of the Whānau Ora approach in Whakamana Tangata
The Whānau Ora Commissioning Agency for the South Island is pleased to see the focus on ‘kia piki ake te mana tangata’ in the report of the Welfare Expert Advisory Group report released this afternoon.
“Their promotion of ‘whakamana tangata’ crystallises a concept deep in the hearts of whānau – the desire that the system recognise the mana and dignity of people so that they can participate meaningfully within their communities”.
We note that “Māori expressed a strong desire to be in the driving seat of their own solutions to the endemic problems that erode mana and whānau” (p74). We agree with the advisory group that there is ample opportunity for a “more cohesive approach by the state and iwi; to encourage a whakamana tangata approach based on potential”.
“Whānau Ora – a strengths-based approach which is built on the assets of whānau to improve wellbeing and mana whakahaere (the power to manage) is an obvious response to this call.
“We would hope that Minister Sepuloni’s announcement of 263 new frontline staff takes cognisance of the demand from the people for ‘whakamana tangata’ – to enhance the mana of the people. This was not a consultation chorus for ‘more of the same’. The report is very clear that operational frontline services have eroded trust – making reference to an unwelcoming atmosphere in service centres; difficulty in obtaining clear information about entitlements; a punitive sanction regime and a complex and bureaucratic system”.
Whānau deserve – and desire – to be treated humanely when they are in need.
“We encourage the Minister to look for the difference that Whānau Ora Navigators can make – in being whānau-centred and wellbeing focused; in treating people with dignity, respect and compassion; and in providing support that is timely, appropriate and easy to access”.
We congratulate the Minister in overturning Section 192 – the provision that penalized the child by restricting the parent’s eligibility to receive a full entitlement on the basis of an unnamed or not recorded father. This was a discriminatory provision that had the real effect of stigmatising beneficiaries and we are pleased that this has finally been scrapped.
“We now hope that some of the other pivotal recommendations from the advisory group – the promotion of kaupapa Māori values; the introduction of specific requirements for the Chief Executive to be accountable to iwi (much like the Oranga Tamariki legislation) and the demand for other ways of providing for support for whānau through longer-term, whānau-centred, strengths-based initiatives are seen as immediate priorities for Budget 2019, and a system that refocuses the conversation from welfare to wellbeing.”
The longstanding inequities experienced by Māori have been compounded by policies which have wielded a stick and fostered blame, humiliation and anxiety at every turn. Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu is pleased to see a stronger sense of systemic responsibility demanded by the report, to be embedded in a revised Social Security Act. In doing so, such a report would make tangible progress in delivering in a way which can uplift and strengthen the mana of the people, kia piki ake te mana tangata.
Link to the report http://www.weag.govt.nz/weag-report/
About us: Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu is a Commissioning Agency that works on behalf of the iwi in the South Island to support and enable whānau to create sustained social impact. We do this by developing and investing in ideas and initiatives to improve outcomes for Māori, underpinned by whānau-centred principles and strategies; these include emergency preparedness and disaster recovery. Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu also invests in Navigator roles to support and build whānau capability.