Ministers' lack of interest a barrier for Whānau Ora

By Rukuwai Tipene-Allen

Minister of Whānau Ora Peeni Henare says a lack of invested interest from the ministers of health and education is proving to be a barrier and he's making their inclusion a priority.

Auckland was flooded today with Whānau Ora specialists.  However the minister says, the lack of investment from some is a barrier to the progression of the program.

Henare says, 'I've been to a lot of hui to speak about Whānau Ora and the ones who aren't at the table are the health and education ministers."

Dame Tariana Turia says, "We haven't had all the government agencies see Whānau Ora as the way forward.  In actual fact, they keep coming up with new ideas, new programmes, new opportunities and essentially it's to put Whānau Ora on the side."

Turia says a lot of those attitudes stem from racism.

"We have huge institutional racism in this country, that's the reality and [will be] until non-Māori see Māori as the answer to the issues impacting on them that have been caused by others."

CEO of Te Whānau o Waipareira John Tamihere agrees and says, "Out of all the money voted out of parliament every year, 98.8 percent of it goes to Pākehā, for Māori by Pākehā, that just can't continue." 

CEO of Te Pou Matakana Merepeka Raukawa-Tait says having trusting relationships and understanding the needs of clients is essential. 

"For many years people have told them 'there's something wrong with you, we have to fix you'.  Whānau don't want to hear that.  Whānau believe that they have some strengths and we want to develop those and identify more strengths that they have," says Raukawa-Tait.

"Some non-Māori bureaucrat out of Wellington thinking that they can run programmes in our communities have failed," says Tamihere.

The results of the review will be released in November.