Today, whānau across Aotearoa are wearing daffodils on their breasts in support of the Cancer Society’s annual appeal. Here at Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu, we acknowledge the incredible work of the Cancer Society, and the unwavering support they offer to whānau who are impacted by cancer. This horrible disease affects so many of our whānau, and man of us will know someone who has directly benefitted from the aroha and tautoko offered by the Cancer Society and will know the indescribable difference it made. Daffodil Day is our opportunity to acknowledge that difference, and to provide security to the Cancer Society so that they can continue their work – providing care to patients and whānau, delivering education and awareness programmes and funding life-saving cancer research. For those of us who can spare a few dollars, donate today and wear your daffodil with pride.
Daffodils are also emerging in gardens across the motu, cherry trees are blossoming and the days are getting warmer. Spring is in the air and I know that many of us will be looking forward to the many joys that the season brings including the preparation for māra kai. However, I am mindful of the fact that the change of seasons is proving challenging in other ways. Although the rainfall has ceased, the aftermath of last week’s flooding will impact communities in Te Tauihu for weeks to come.
Our thoughts are with all whānau who have been affected by this extreme weather event, and our gratitude to the Whānau Ora network, iwi and marae, and community groups who have been working tirelessly to provide much-needed support.
This week also marked the passing of the Oranga Tamariki Oversight Bill, another less than welcome change that has the potential to impact our whānau and hapori. Opponents of the bill have long said that it ignores countless reports on what independent and effective monitoring of Oranga Tamariki should look like. Many have suggested that meaningful change will only be possible with an effective watchdog that has the authority to independently monitor the Oranga Tamariki system. Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu remains a strong advocate for oversight that holds Oranga Tamariki to account and allows for quick and effective solutions.
Even as we celebrate the end of a very long winter, we remind ourselves that the important work of Whānau Ora continues. With the recent appointment of dedicated kaimahi to lead our Mokopuna Ora and Tū Pono workstreams, we are dedicated to continuing to work to support parents and whānau to provide the best possible environments for our tamariki and rangatahi.