Dunno what Winston Peters expected The Boss to say, when he asked at Question Time yesterday if he had confidence in the Minister for Whanau Ora.
This is a ticklish time for the PM, when it comes to his relationship with the Maori Party and its Ministers.
So of course he had confidence in the Minister because, in this case, it happens to be dear old Tariana Turia.
Moreover, he said he had confidence even when Peters asked whether he would do so
“…if he found out that the Minister is promoting public funding being diverted from those in genuine need to those who most certainly are not?”
He said he had complete confidence in the Minister for Whanau Ora and, while the project was in its infancy, he was sure it would seek to help many families for which the system is currently not working.
Peters tried to put a heavier boot in.
The Boss successfully fended off the assault.
Rt Hon Winston Peters: Does the Prime Minister think it appropriate that a person who owns a chain of successful businesses in the Wellington area should have his family reunion paid for by the—quote—“Whānau Integration, Innovation and Engagement Fund”, and what could that possibly be about?
Rt Hon JOHN KEY: I do not have any details in relation to that. If the member wants to put it down to the relevant Minister, which is the Minister for Whanau Ora, he is welcome to do so.
Rt Hon Winston Peters: Does he, or does he not, read the various reports from Ministers whom he is meant to be the overseeing Minister of, such as the Whānau Ora: Transforming our futures paper, which itemises the very example of a business person picking up this money for a family reunion, when there are so many Māori in need around this country?
Rt Hon JOHN KEY: I read as many of the papers as I can, but as I said to the member, if he has a detailed question, he can put it down to the Minister in question.
Alf has dug out a copy of the document Peters mentioned.
Most important, it says –
Wha¯nau Ora is for all families. Introduced in
2010, it has been enthusiastically embraced by
wha¯nau, communities, health and social service
providers and agencies throughout the country
Alf draws his constituents’ attention to the fact it’s for all families.
We Grumbles are planning a family reunion soon and an application for approval to dip our snouts into this alluring trough is in the mail.
But how does the scheme work?
The document gives an answer.
Quite simply, families are asked about their
needs and aspirations, and are supported in the
approach they choose to meet their collective
goals. This focus puts wha¯nau at the centre of
Wha¯nau Ora, because they are the best people to
make decisions for themselves.
Some wha¯nau will come up with their own ways
of improving their lives, perhaps after working
on their ideas with their hapu¯ , iwi or community.
Other wha¯nau may want specific, tailored help
from Wha¯nau Ora providers.
Sounds like money for jam.
But wait. There’s much more.
Already, Wha¯nau Ora providers are looking at
ways to improve their services to wha¯nau. Some
are exploring the navigator role, where a key
worker helps wha¯nau to identify their needs and
develop a plan to address them. The aim is to
restore control to wha¯nau.
Alf fancies himself in the navigator role and has mentioned this accordingly in his application for a chunk of the money.
Just to reassure himself he is on the right path and in the right waka, as a navigator, he checked things out at TPK.
They advised him –
The Whānau Integration, Innovation and Engagement Fund (WIIE) is available to help whānau move to greater self reliance and self management by strengthening whānau connections and engagements…
That’s what family reunions are all about.
But let’s get back to the paper that Peters was banging on about.
Sure enough, it features an item on Strengthening wha¯ nau connections.
That’s where Peters would have learned that
Johni Rutene has big plans for his wha¯nau.
He wants to reconnect his 180-strong family with each other and their Wairarapa turangawaewae, strengthen their bonds and improve their overall wha¯nau ora.
‘For the last five years, I’ve been wanting to do something to unite our wha¯nau with a continuous nurturing connection,’ he said.
‘But it was really only since I became aware of Wha¯nau Ora that I started getting glimpses of hope around how that rejuvenation process might go.’
So it wasn’t just a family piss-up that was being planned by Rutene.
He was aiming for a “continuous nurturing connection”.
At the time the item was published, Johni, his wife Micaela and some of his cousins had almost finished their wha¯nau-centred plan.
The next step was to set up a family trust and apply for Wha¯nau Integration, Innovation and Engagement funding – the fund mentioned earlier by Alf and intended, among other things, to help strengthen wha¯nau ties.
Johni described the wha¯nau plan as having a strong focus on reconnecting wha¯nau members to their whakapapa, tikanga and taha Ma¯ori.
‘But we’re also including everything we might come across in the future,’ he said.
‘We’re looking at growing our wha¯nau economically, (and in) employment, health, education, rongoa¯ and te maara kai. Things are really hard for wha¯nau, and they’re going to get harder. We need to learn – as a family – about things we can grow that we can eat.’
So how will they go about it?
It’s not too demanding. They will be holding family gatherings.
Or reunions, if you like.
The Rutene plan is based around holding six hui next year, with the first commemorating the 25th anniversary of the death of his grandparents, Ihaka and Eraina Rutene. The focus of the other five hui will reflect the Rutene wha¯nau approach to their own wha¯nau ora.
Johni wants his wha¯nau to learn about themselves, their turangawaewae at Te Whiti, Gladstone, and the marae they belong to.
‘With our wha¯nau plan, maybe we could get our turangawaewae back, so we have a place to call our own,’ he said.
‘I have young kids and it’s really important that they are involved and they get given that taha Ma¯ori.
‘I’m turning 40 this year, and I am dedicating my next 10 years to te reo, tikanga and te ao Ma¯ori for myself and my wha¯nau.
‘I am very excited about getting these plans off the ground. We have to look forward . . . I know this is going to help our wha¯nau.’
Betcha that went down real big with the fellers who dish out the money.
Alf has made lots of mention of these things in his application – rongoa¯, te maara kai, his lessons in Te Reo and so on, and especially his powerful urge to get back the Grumble turangawaewae.
Until a decision is made on his application, he is keeping his powder dry on Winston Peters’ assessment of the scheme.
Peters reckons more than $5 million in taxpayer money is being “wasted” paying for Maori family reunions under Whanau Ora programme.
He ungenerously focused on Johni Rutene, describing him as a person who owned a chain of businesses in the Wellington area and asking if it was appropriate he should have family reunions paid for by taxpayers.
If Alf does not get the money, he may well agree that Peters is on to something, although there’s a fair chance he will keep quiet about what he actually thinks so as not to upset Tariana.