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Standing strong for mokopuna

 

The team from Te Hauora Runanga o Wairarapa and Whaiora, two Maori health providers, hosting the Mokopuna centred Solutions symposium at Copthorne Hotel and Resort Solway Park, Masterton last week.

By Gerald Ford

Two health and social agencies in Wairarapa last week gathered speakers from around New Zealand and beyond to talk about their aims for the new service that will replace Child Youth and Family.

Te Hauora Runanga o Wairarapa and Whaiora, two Maori health providers in the region, jointly hosted a symposium – Mokopuna Centred Solutions, to discuss the needs and the best ways to meet them.

Mokopuna – or grandchildren – were at the centre of the discussions, held on Thursday and Friday at the Copthorne Hotel and Resort Solway Park, Masterton.

Speakers included Marama Fox, co-leader of the Maori Party, former Labour MP John Tamihere,

From Child Youth and Family were Murray Edridge, the deputy chief executive of community investment, Paul Nixon, chief social worker, and Dr Leland Ruwhiu, principal advisor for Maori on Child, Youth and Family.

As the conference wound down on Friday Ra Smith, chairman of Te Hauora, encouraged the social workers present to ask “what’s our potential for greatness?”

“Our potential for greatness was sown by our tupuna, but they didn’t expect us to stay where we are. They expected us to take on the world.”

Mr Smith said there were some keynote speaker at the conference but he wanted to address the “keynote listeners”.

“You’ll be the ones who will listen and act.”

Social worker Moira Metekingi, from in Porirua, said when working with clients, “I have to find something in them to sustain them when I’m gone”.

A mother of nine, she jokes that “my career is mother; my hobby is a social worker.”

Her children, she says, “as they’ve fallen down, they’ve learned the art of getting up”.

“That is what we are helping our whanau to do”.

Rangitane manager Maria Hampstead-Rimene said the symposium attendants “don’t have to learn how to do what we do … we do it already.”

She said she learned two policies when working for her father in law: “If it’s got to be done, do it, and if you stuff up, fix it”.

“These two policies still work for Rangitane today… When CYF ask me what are your policies, I give them those two – but I also give them the encyclopedia version.”

Leland Ruwhiu, principal advisor, Maori, for Child Youth and Family, said leaders who don’t listen “eventually find themselves surrounded by people who have nothing to say”.

He challenged the social workers that “a lot of the work that needs to be done is in the heart” and said if the pain is not faced there “eventually it will all leach out in your life”.

Dr Leland finished with “do the right thing when no-one’s watching – which is about integrity.”

Jason Kerehi said there had been talk in the conference about “going to the border” between worlds and said a lot of the work of those present was about being in the doorway and “push the door, make it wider”.

“Unit the day when you go through the door and it looks like this,” he said, indicating the people in the room around him.

Kaumatua Ben Fox of Te Hauora said the aim of the conference was “raising our tamariki to stand strong, to stand confident, and to perform to their fullest potential.”

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