by Anne Hobby, Tumuaki (General Manager)
Te Tiriti o Waitangi was first signed on 6 February 1840 by representatives of the British crown and Māori chiefs of the North Island. It then travelled throughout the country where many chiefs or representatives signed in various locations. As Māori organisations we celebrate this document as the founding document of Aotearoa New Zealand and Te Piki Oranga participates in these celebrations throughout the rohe on Waitangi Day.
We routinely ask whānau applying for jobs with us, what relevance Te Tiriti has to the work of Te Piki Oranga? We are hoping they will understand there is a clear relationship between Te Tiriti and health, as first championed by Māori Womens welfare league and Dr Irihapeti Ramsden .The concept of “cultural safety” recognises the need for protection in all realms. A major determinant of health is socio-economic status and no one needs me to regurgitate the unacceptable employment, beneficiary or justice statistics for Māori as compared to non-Māori . The lack of protection, the power imbalance and poor resourcing that has resulted in this inequity is a breach of treaty rights and needs to be redressed, not just nationally, but in our communities.
Kaupapa Māori services are one strategy towards removing inequity. While we hold mainstream qualifications we support our indigenous knowledge that looks beyond the biomedical model, recognising the interconnections of whānau, wairua, hinengaro, and tinana (Durie, 1998a). We are committed to building a well trained Māori workforce who can challenge the institutional racism faced by our whanau on a daily basis, while providing practical treatment and support. The Waitangi Tribunal is presently hearing Wai 2575 – The health Services and Outcomes inquiry concerning grievances relating to health services and there will be much for us to learn from this kōrero.