Speech from Minister Tariana Turia

Te Pūtahitanga o Te Wai Pounamu Hothouse – 14 September 2014

Thank you so much for inviting me here to Te Pūtahitanga o Te Wai Pounamu’s first Hothouse weekend. And thank you to our fine MCs, Rā Dallas and Sheree Waitoa, for making us all so welcome.

I have to admit that ever since your launch in July, I have talked about little else than the fresh new face of innovation that Te Pūtahitanga o Te Wai Pounamu represents. And so I want to firstly mihi to your Chair, Norm Dewes and the Board, to Lisa Tumahai, the Chair of Te Taumata and your dedicated staff.

You have demonstrated bold courage and commitment to the concept of whānau enterprise.

I am confident that whatever outcomes emerge from this Hothouse they will be a reflection of the dedication of your Board members, the energy of your staff and the expression of kotahitanga ascribed to by the nine iwi of this rohe working together for your people.

I want to also congratulate Susan Turner on her appointment to the role of Chief Executive Officer.

I am thrilled to be present and witness first hand your progress in growing social and whānau entrepreneurs as the platform for transformation.

Te Pūtahitanga is doing what I always envisaged would come from the opportunity of commissioning. At the root of your approach is your belief in the people, creating real opportunities for them to interpret Whānau Ora in their own image.

The concept of the Hothouse is to bring innovation and energy together in an intensive programme for a dozen different investment ideas.

I was utterly blown away to learn there were 201 applications received by Te Pūtahitanga – this is tangible proof that our people are generating solutions at the flaxroots – they are experimenting, experiencing, developing amazing ideas and Te Pūtahitanga is helping to bring them into life.

In all respects the opportunity to bring people together to work collectively on these ideas is ‘Whānau Rangatiratanga, Whānau Oranga’ in action.

The Hothouse is overflowing with ways to pioneer whānau transformation:

  • Rejuvenating ahi kaa at the marae;
  • Growing the next generation of mahinga kai practitioners;
  • Building cultural connectivity through technology;
  • Whānau businesses creating tikanga based products;
  • Nurturing Māori human capital;
  • Establishing a network of kaupapa Māori gyms across Te Wai Pounamu;
  • Strengthening community resilience.

It is just the most fabulous model – to work with coaches, mentors and professional advisors to test the key aspects of the ventures.

You are exploring different financial models, market testing, social cultural impact, competitor landscape and pitching.

At the end of the Hothouse you will be presenting your ideas to a whānau audience and Te Pūtahitanga Board.

I am told that the x factor you will be assessed against, is how does your initiative achieve that ‘tingle-up-the-spine’ factor?

What is the legacy outcome that you hope your whānau will aspire towards?

Who is the next generation of change agents that you are looking to promote and encourage out of the example provided by your teams?

For me, that has to be the greatest strategic challenge that must come out of the Hothouse – how is it fit for purpose for our people? And I want to share with you a section out of a series of books written over a century ago, the Forsyte Saga by John Galsworthy. For those not in know, the Forsyte Saga series told the fortunes of extended generations of a family, so most fitting in a Whānau Ora context.

“Love is not a hot-house flower but a wild plant, born of a wet night, born of an hour of sunshine, sprung from wild seed, blown along the road by a wild wind.

A wild plant that when it blooms by chance within the hedge of our gardens we call a flower; and when it blooms outside we call a weed – but, flower or weed, whose scent and colour are always wild”.

Now if we were to replace ‘love’ with the word ‘whānau’ (and really aren’t they one and the same) – we would know that whānau are not born and bred in the incubator we know of as a hothouse.

The Hothouse is a great safe place, a social laboratory to test new ideas and put them into practice. But the ultimate success of these ideas will be seeing them take bud in the real world.

Whānau are indeed wild, yet capable of the most magnificent colours and strength wherever they are nurtured. The challenge for us all is to know that whatever circumstances they are located in, whatever context has defined them till now, they are always capable of thriving given the right support.

What you are doing at this hothouse this weekend is all about making that vision work for you.

Your vision is firmly fixed on the four pou of Te Pūtahitanga o Te Wai Pounamu – wellbeing, inspiration and catalysts, enterprise and job creation, education and leadership.

The fertiliser you are investing in to boost whānau well-being is exactly the kind of response we hoped Whānau Ora commissioning would achieve.

When I see and feel the excitement present in this room, the passion you all have for your communities, I know that the future of Whānau Ora is in safe hands through supporting innovation by whānau, entrepreneurs and providers to find the solutions our communities are looking for.

To all the innovators in the room, to those of you on the ground looking for new ways to work to the betterment of your whānau and communities, I say kia kaha.

Now more than ever, your people need your courage, your strength, and your belief to help propel them to craft the futures they want.

Yours is no small task. You are here to help whānau to pursue the opportunities they are looking for, to reach these opportunities on their own terms and in their own ways.

Within each whānau lies the key to creating positive change. No-one may dictate the ideal path for a whānau besides that whānau themselves.

And I want to say that what you are doing here – and in our other two Commissioning Agencies – Pasifika Futures and Te Pou Matakana – could very real set the stage for transformation on a larger scale. What you are doing is showing us all that whānau can make the difference they need to see in their own lives.

Our people don’t need to be told the state must feed their kids or that only a mainstream party can meet their needs. They don’t need to be told there’s no place set at the decision-making table, that we have to rely on others to tell us what to do.

This event directly challenges those assumptions. But it does more than that – it moves from challenge to inspiration, to incubation, to realisation, and finally to delivery.

This hothouse represents all the dimensions of Whānau Ora – cultural connection, social connectivity, physical hauora, financial sustainability and beyond.

It also epitomises the breadth and depth of your approach.

It is brilliant to see alongside of whānau, the range of businesses that have supported the event including representatives from:

  • Kahui Legal;
  • Westpac;
  • PriceWaterhouse Cooper;
  • Maori Women’s Development Inc;
  • Poutama to name a few.

In being here in tinana, you are actively demonstrating your support for Whānau Ora, for Te Pūtahitanga o Te Wai Pounamu and most of all the whānau who have been directly affected by this Hothouse.

Thank you to everyone here, for believing in the strength of our whānau, and for working to assist our people in realising these strengths, as wild or colourful as they are.

Whānau potential is greater than ever before. I am confident that the promise of Whānau Ora will continue to flourish in new and exciting opportunities for whānau in the years to come. Our future will be better for your efforts.