FROM THE TOP
At the halfway point of the government’s term, the Sunday Star-Times recently put 50 questions to the prime minister from readers and from famous Kiwis. Key’s replies, which cover everything like what is-sues he cares about, his vision for New Zealand, personal happiness and what would give him the most satisfaction on his deathbed.
In reply to a question raised by Robyn Malcolm, an actor, about what should his government be doing to address a growing income disparity between New Zealanders and the obvious correlation between low income and poor indices in society like crime, family breakdown, family violence, low education etc., Key remarked:
“I am not overly ideological about the role of government; I believe in what works.”
“I want to see all New Zealanders reach their po-tential and succeed – and that means getting things right from the very start of someone’s life.
Lifting achievement in our schools helps build op-portunities for young New Zealanders, which is why we’re focusing on getting more children into early childhood education, and rolling out National Standards. This emphasis on education continues to secondary and tertiary levels, and recognises the fact young New Zealanders will want to choose from a range of options.
We’re addressing the drivers of crime, with a raft of new legislation being passed which is designed to give greater powers to the police and to protect Kiwi families. We are also reforming our social services, principally through Future Focus and Whānau Ora, to help people back into work and to take charge of their wellbeing.
There’s no one policy the government can use to solve society’s ills – but we can do as much as we can to create an environment which helps all New Zealanders to live fulfilling lives.”
TO THE GROUND
Young people have dreams. From that springs hope. Closer to the ground, Charlotte Cassidy – who put up a Facebook page called ‘Aro Ha Mama-ku’ started from a thought that “there has to be more to life than this?”. She admits being blessed with a beautiful Whānau and loves them all be-cause they have shaped, guided, protected and sheltered her.
In that context, Charlotte suggests several proactive approaches that Whānau Ora practitioners might well consider adopting:
- To help organise whānau who are dealing with diagnosis of any health issue that is life changing for the children and family environment;
- To help parents find good service providers that will help them make their journey easier;
- To organise services so that the children and parents/whānau are informed of their choices and rights as consumers;
- To listen and learn to other people who have had difficulties in the systems in place in our society;
- To help and listen in a way that will make the family in the home more comfortable in times of need; and,
- To help and care, Awhi/support with no judgement to the Whānau/ Families.
So how can families who need Whānau Ora become involved with it? To start with:
- They may hear about a Whānau Ora practitioner like Faith in Families in their community and decide to give it a go;
- They may get referred to a Whānau Ora practioner, provider or a government agency like Work and Income or by someone like their local budget advisory service;
- They might find their medical centre has become a Whānau Ora provider and is now offering Whānau Ora services;
- Some Whānau Ora pratitioners like Faith in Families, who choose to be proactive, gets out in the community to talk to people about Whānau Ora.
Faith in Families also has another service provid-ing other practitioners at the generic and senior levels. The organising principle it applies as an en-tity is – that it works directly with whānau, marae, iwi, etc. This points to the viability of its approach within the Whānau Ora framework because build-ing a network and harnessing all its linkages be-comes, over time, a potent and valuable resource for all sorts of stakeholders wanting to participate and benefit from it.
This is really just the start of things for Whānau Ora as it moves forward into an exciting new space for families in New Zealand. Its success won’t depend as much on government, providers or practitioners but on people and whānau themselves. And that, dear readers, is the real key question and challenge.
He aha te mea nui? He tangata, he tangata, he tangata. (What is the most important thing? It is people, it is people, it is people.)