Fam­i­lies stronger as rules change

South Waikato News - - OPINION - By TAR­I­ANA TURIA

MP for Te Tai Hauauru

It was Kingi Tawhiao who said ‘‘Maku ano e hanga i toku nei whare’’ – I will build my own house. In many ways this state­ment ar­tic­u­lates ev­ery­thing that Whanau Ora is about, be­ing em­pow­ered, tak­ing con­trol of your own af­fairs, de­ter­min­ing your own needs and work­ing to­wards build­ing some­thing for the fu­ture.

Over quar­ter of a cen­tury ago, at our marae at Whangaehu, we built our wharenui us­ing the rammed earth method of con­struc­tion. Our whare is warm, it is beau­ti­ful, it is eco-friendly and we had made the form our own. It is the most in­cred­i­ble feel­ing to know that we were ul­ti­mately re­spon­si­ble in ev­ery sense for the strength and the re­silience of our tribal home.

It has be­come harder and harder for our fam­i­lies to achieve this sense of em­pow­er­ment over the last few gen­er­a­tions. With coloni­sa­tion came an ero­sion of land, iden­tity and re­source and once all those things have been re­moved from you it is very dif­fi­cult to op­er­ate from a base of con­fi­dence or em­pow­er­ment.

Over many gen­er­a­tions we have had lead­ers, prophets and change- mak­ers who have un­der­stood this, and who have moved across many fronts to find space for our knowl­edge in or­der to rem­edy the fate of our whanau.

This has been a multi-gen­er­a­tional strug­gle, and it is still on-go­ing. In fact many of us in our day-to-day lives are ad­vanc­ing the fu­ture of our whanau by break­ing stereo­types, re­mov­ing bar­ri­ers, build­ing a bridge of cul­tural un­der­stand­ing be­tween or­gan­i­sa­tions and tan­gata whenua.

One of the key is­sues that has acted as a bar­rier for Maori de­vel­op­ment has been that our en­tire State and sys­tem of gov­ern­ment has been es­tab­lished upon Western phi­los­o­phy. It does not fit within our world view, and we have spent hours jus­ti­fy­ing, ex­plain­ing and prov­ing that how we see the world, and how we op­er­ate is valid, mean­ing­ful and works for us.

Whanau Ora has been about cre­at­ing the space for our as­pi­ra­tions and our knowl­edge to be fos­tered.

There are other ar­eas where this same work is go­ing on. You can see slow but pro­gres­sive move­ment across a range of fronts.

Our views on hous­ing are in­trin­si­cally tied to our sense of self and place, our con­nec­tion with our land and re­sources, and of course our whanau. The Kainga Whenua pol­icy was put in place as a means of recog­nis­ing this link.

I look for­ward to see­ing more pa­pakainga developments and whanau liv­ing in safe and healthy homes. For de­tails: www.hnzc.co.nz

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