Everything has a whakapapa – even misery. For us, that began with colonisation and raupatu. I invite you all to think about that – allow it to percolate because I’ll circle back to it soon. It’s an honour and a privilege to be here today to launch this initiative. The most pleasing aspect of todays kaupapa is that Mokopuna Ora is a concept that has been developed by our people. Our people, who are intimately connected to our communities – and there is nothing more powerful than that.
I don’t want to stand here and talk about disparities because we know they exist. How we address that inequality is the key because it’s been said time and time again – mainstreaming does not work. It never has, it never will and the sooner that agencies understand that the better. The late Sir Robert Mahuta is lying just metres from where we are today. He made it clear that raupatu funds should not be directed at fixing the social ills created by successive Crown policies. Instead, his view was that we needed to build an economic base from our raupatu settlement to help drive economic wealth, which would then build the collective capacity of our people in modern Aotearoa.
Sir Robert built the Crown Accords mechanism into our settlement as a tangible way for Waikato-Tainui to hold governments to account for non performance. In many ways, the Mokopuna Ora framework provides a contemporary platform for that vision. Mokopuna Ora is an approach that commits the Crown and Waikato-Tainui to a pathway that, we believe, responds to the negative social indicators that plague our people.
“I might be the Executive Chair of Waikato-Tainui and it can be a handful at times, but by far my most difficult job is being a mum and one day being a nana to my own mokopuna. This is what drives me in every role that I have, every day. We must lay the foundations to futureproof our iwi, and it starts with one mokopuna at a time.”
I yearn for the day when we don’t have to construct programmes that target our people just because we inhabit the worst statistics in the country and the world.
We need more visionaries like Sir Robert but we also require our Treaty partner that is represented by government agencies to be agile rather than prescriptive in their approach. I am happy that this innovative approach has landed on fertile soil at Oranga Tamariki. I really want to acknowledge the leadership at Oranga Tamariki who have allowed their teams to work closely with Waikato-Tainui. Everyone here can be assured that our team is heavily invested in this kaupapa because it’s about our future.
Raupatu has decimated our people, and for us, inequality is a Treaty issue that requires positive and collaborative intervention. Our people are not born with a predisposition toward poverty. We do not have to succumb to a reality hat has been preordained by decades of apathy. We are emerging from the darkness of raupatu to rau aroha, and today’s announcement is a tangible manifestation of that movement.
It’s through commitments and relationships like this that will make a real difference to the lives of our most precious taonga. These relationships provide a guiding light to our rallying cry: Kia tipu, kia hua, kia puaawai. To grow, to prosper and to sustain.
Issue 70 | Te Hookioi - Pages 37 to 38
An address by the Chair of Te Arataura - Rukumoana Schaafhausen