Above all, every single day of 2012 has been about the people of Aotearoa. We have been privileged to share in your joys and your sorrows, to help whanau taking charge of their destinies, and always to bear witness to your strength, generosity and endurance. Thank you.
Pita, Tariana, Te Ururoa
He aha te mea nui o te ao?
He tangata, he tangata, he tangata.
Enviroschools and Te Aho Tu Roa give children hands-on experiences to encourage them to think and act sustainably – at kura or school, at home and in everyday life. Pita ensured the 2012 Budget included $7.6 million to keep the programmes running for the next four years.
“A Maori world view means that environmental consciousness influences everything we do. The environment is not ‘out there’, just another ‘issue’ that we can choose to engage in or not. It is part of us, and part of our families, and we are part of the environment.”
There’s no doubt that Whanau Ora is radical. It is about supporting all whanau to be active decision makers for their own future, rather than passive recipients of other people’s ideas. Judge Ida Malosi summed it up when she said that Whanau Ora is about restoring the concept of a living village.
A report on just one part of Whanau Ora – the WIIE Fund – concluded that in two years it had helped 33,000 people in 2,000 whanau, with high levels of satisfaction and effective engagement. And we’re just getting started!
Te Ururoa stood up to support Lesley Longstone, the new Secretary of Education, who dared to say that New Zealand would not have a world-class education system while Māori and Pasifika children, and children from poor communities, continue to under-perform.
Teachers’ cultural competency is part of the answer, along with a more representative workforce and a culturally inclusive curriculum. The Tātaiako programme for cultural competency that Pita introduced last year is beginning to have an impact in schools throughout Aotearoa, so that Māori can learn as Māori.
The six Māori boarding shcools – Hato Pāora, Hato Petera, Hukarere, St Joseph’s, Te Aute and Turakina – have played a special role in nurturing Māori leadership over the years. The Puawaitanga scholarships, announced by Pita in December, will ensure that the next generation has the opportunity to extend the heritage.
Starting in 2014, each college will be able to offer up to 15 scholarships covering all boarding and school fees, with extra funding to develop the students’ leadership potential. “I am so pleased that a new group of young Māori will be able to walk in the footsteps of great leaders like Dame Whina Cooper, Sir Apirana Ngata, Dame Iritana Tāwhiwhirangi and Sir Archie Taiaroa.”
Doubling the funding for a five-year programme to prevent a child’s sore throat developing into rheumatic fever was a highlight of Tariana’s 2012.
“Rheumatic fever is a serious illness that can cause life-long heart problems, even though it’s easy to detect and easy to treat. I am thrilled that we were able to get an extra $12 million to help keep our tamariki healthy and active.”
It’s not just an individual who loses when gambling gets out of control – whole whanau and communities suffer, too. Te Ururoa’s Gambling (Gambling Harm Reduction) Amendment Bill wants to give people control over how many pokie machines are in their communities and how the proceeds are distributed. It will also require operators to tell gamblers exactly how much money and time they’ve lost.
The Bill was supported 83-7 at its First Reading, and is now being considered by the Commerce Select Committee. It will be reported back in March 2013.
(By a remarkable coincidence, all the 7 MPs who used their personal vote to oppose the Bill are from the NZ First party: Winston Peters, Asenati Lole-Taylor, Denis O’Rourke, Barbara Stewart, Tracey Martin, Richard Prosser, Andrew Williams.)
Maori have always been explorers, innovators and entrepreneurs – that’s how we got to Aotearoa in the first place! And long before the Treaty of Waitangi was signed, iwi were busy exporting to Sydney and beyond using their own ships.
The Maori Party knows that economic independence is the key to unlocking real self-determination. The Maori Economic Development Strategy and Action plan, issued by Pita in November, will help iwi and hapu, Maori businesses and Maori workers, to reclaim their rightful place at the heart of an expanding, export-focused Aotearoa New Zealand economy.
He kai kei aku ringa
Provide the food you need with your own hands
Tariana’s plan to introduce plain packaging for death sticks has got International Big Tobacco worried, very worried. And so they should be, because the latest survey confirms that smoking continues to decline in Aotearoa.
The best news is the decline in smoking amongst 15-17 years olds: down from 14% in 2006/07 to 6% now. The worst news is that Maori are still 2.4 times more likely (and Pasifika are 1.3 times more likely) to smoke than other New Zealanders. That’s because there is a strong relationship between smoking and neighbourhood deprivation.
Let’s remember that Big Tobacco, like other drug pushers, make their money by multiplying misery – and let’s shrink both!
We might have come a long way, but there’s still a long way to go, judging by the response to Te Ururoa’s Oaths and Declarations (Upholding the Treaty of Waitangi) Amendment Bill. It would have simply allowed anyone making a statutory oath to choose to include a promise to uphold the Treaty of Waitangi.
Way dangerous, letting people make their own choice, eh?
Too dangerous for the National, Act, New Zealand First and United Future parties, who chose to stay on the wrong side of history, and defeated the Bill 52-69.
But remember, it’s a game of two halves, and it ain’t over yet…
Pita introduced the Mokomoko (Restoration of Character, Mana, and Reputation) Bill to Parliament on 25 October. This is another step in promoting reconciliation between Te whānau a Mokomoko and the Crown, by formally acknowledging the injustices of the past. The Bill takes its inspiration from Mokomoko’s own words:
‘Tangohia te taura i taku kakī, kia waiata au i taku waiata’.
‘Have the strength to speak up, and the truth will not be silenced.’
The last Labour government tried to use legislation to eliminate Maori customary rights in the foreshore and seabed. We demanded and received a commitment that the National government would not use the same trick for Maori rights in freshwater and geothermal resources if they decided to sell some of the state power companies like Mighty River Power and Meridian.
We still oppose partial asset sales – and we’ll keep fighting that hard out in 2013! – but the vital thing is that the Crown now recognises that hapu and iwi rights in water are protected by the Treaty of Waitangi. There’s still some arguing to happen in the courts and the Tribunal – but there’s now no question that those rights are real and alive: yesterday, today and tomorrow.