E tū te whakakotahitanga – Standing together

Published: September 25, 2020

Celebrating the Eastern Bay of Plenty Iwi Provider Alliance Strategic Partnership.

Chair of Tuhoe Hauora Finny Davis signing along with the other Iwi representatives of the provider alliance

Last week representatives of Tūhoe Hauora, Tūwharetoa ki Kawerau Hauora, Te Pou Oranga O Whakatōhea and Te Tohu o te Ora o Ngāti Awa and Oranga Tamariki came together at Matatua whare in Whakatane, for the signing of a strategic partnership agreement with the Eastern Bay of Plenty Iwi Provider Alliance.

Oranga Tamariki representatives were embraced, entertained, challenged and moved in a heartfelt signing celebration.

This strategic partnership agreement is the culmination of 12 months of talks between the Ministry and the Alliance partners. Oranga Tamariki and the people of the Alliance now embark on a path to create significant change and transformation to improve the lives and outcomes of tamariki, whānau, hapū and Iwi of this rohe.

Te wā o te ao hurihuri – A time for change

Grainne accepting a taonga
Grainne accepting a taonga from the Iwi provider alliance

The agreement ‘Te Pūtōrino ā Raukatauri’ outlines high level objectives to achieve long-term goals, to prioritise whānau aspirations, and to develop a new approach that will enable a whānau-centric approach.  It is a living document and one based on relationships, on developing trust, on realising common intent and delivering on agreed action.

"One size doesn't fit all,” says Enid Ratahi-Pryor, Ngāti Awa. “I know it's a bit of a clichè to say that, but that's what we've been doing for many, many years. That's one of the most fundamental things that's going to change. It's actually about finding the solution to meet the needs of each particular whānau."

Together, the Alliance and Oranga Tamariki aim to reshape the delivery of support services within the region. Support services that are whānau-centric, tailored, informed by tikanga and whakapapa, and coordinated at the regional level.

Oranga Tamariki Chief Executive Grainne Moss says the signing is another sign of the Ministry’s commitment to working with Iwi and Māori.

“They know what whānau in their communities need, and know how to deliver it”.

Nā Matatua e tawharautia e o ratau tamariki.  Matatua people will shelter and protect their children.

Te ara whakamua – The path ahead

Partnership representatives
Hoani Lambert, Raniera Albert, Grainne Moss, Enid Ratahi-Pryor (CE Te Tohu o te Ora o Ngāti Awa), Desmond Harawira (Ngāti Awa), Tasi Malu

Oranga Tamariki Services for Children and Families Bay of Plenty Regional Manager, Tasi Malu says the signing formally marks a new era. 

“We’ll be able to better facilitate the right solutions, rather than be the solution for tamariki and their whānau during hard times – and whānau will have a much stronger chance at restoring their wellbeing.”

Together with Whakatane Site Manager, Melissa Pye, they agree this is going to mean an iwi-led community response to reports of concern received in the area now and not an Oranga Tamariki response.

Melissa says Whakatane Site are looking forward to working alongside the Iwi Provider Alliance in a true partnership.

“Together we have shared dreams and visions for our community and how we will work to address child abuse and neglect in the Eastern Bay of Plenty. This strategic partnership symbolises our true commitment to one another and working differently in our community. Watch this space!”

​​​​​​​They say the objectives in the agreement will also enable the region to be to be held accountable, to realise the aspirations of mana whenua for their tamariki and whānau, and allow Oranga Tamariki to continuously improve practice on the ground.  

Mai te whakamanawa o ngā mareikura – With the blessings of honourable leaders

MC Desmond Harawira entertained the whare
MC Desmond Harawira entertained the whare

With the symbolism of ‘Te Pūtōrino ā Raukatauri’ – a bugle flute associated with the goddess of music and sound, its significance reinforces for mana whenua, the voice of their tīpuna signalling transformation, beauty and hope for the future.

As a number of mareikura were also remembered throughout the ceremony – speeches acknowledged that the signing came at a time that it was marked with their blessings.

Songs were sung, and tears shed at the hope this agreement gives to tamariki, rangatahi, whānau, hapū and Iwi of Matatua people going forward.

​​​​​​This is now the sixth Strategic Partnership Agreement for Oranga Tamariki, and the first to be signed with an iwi providers alliance.