Waikato-Tainui has signed an agreement with Oranga Tamariki that will focus on some of our most vulnerable children.
Mokopuna Ora is the culmination of a four-year effort and creates a framework that we know works for our whaanau. Over that time Waikato-Tainui has streamlined the approach and will make further refinements.
Waikato-Tainui Chief Executive Donna Flavell says of quantitative data covering a six-month period showed Mokopuna Ora worked with 139 families and of those, 253 mokopuna and 85 sibling groups were prevented coming into the care of Oranga Tamariki.
“This is significant because the last thing we need is disconnection where there are good support systems in place,” says Donna Flavell.
“Mokopuna Ora has been the driver of creating an iwi friendly framework by meeting caregiver assessments that support whaanau in instances when mokopuna are required to come under the care of the state,”
Waikato-Tainui has used its extensive network by engaging with whanau at tribal events as well utilising Iwi Support Advisers who understand the value of iwi, hapuu and whaanau whakapapa connections. Those people have then attended noho waananga as part of the formal assessment process, in an environment that is culturally responsive and conducive to our people.
Donna says this approach is part of a suite of solutions that are imbedded in the Mokopuna Ora framework and while simple it is a critical component of the programme.
She adds the relationship with Oranga Tamariki for this kaupapa is a tangible example of how we can partner to address inequality in a way that achieves better results for our people.
Speech - Rukumoana Schaafhausen
Everything has a whakapapa…even misery. For us (…Waikato-Tainui) 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 its 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 future-proof 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 worse 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 that has been pre-ordained 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 puawai….To grow, to prosper and to sustain.