Māori Development Minister Te Ururoa Flavell looks back on the year and shares his aspirations for 2016.
Published: Rāapa, 16 Hakihea, 2015 | Wednesday, 16 December 2015
Tēnā anō tātou i tēnei wā o te tau e emi ai te whānau, e kotahi anō ai te tuakana me te taina. Nō reira kei ngā whānau huri noa, tēnā koutou katoa.
Ka mihi rā ki ngā waha kōrero o tēnā marae, o tēnā marae, kua ngū ō rātou reo. Kei ngā whītiki o te kī, haere atu rā koutou. Tātou o te ao tūroa nei, otirā ko ngā waihotanga o rātou mā, tēnā anō tātou.
As mentioned in the last edition of Kokiritia, last month I led my first trade mission to China. The delegation included Māori leaders with business interests in fisheries, tourism, dairying and professional services and manufacturing.
While many of our Māori companies are already exporting to China with great success, I was blown away by the economic possibilities for our people and there are lessons to be learnt. I was able to visit four cities each with populations greater than twenty million people. On that scale, we must consider how we interact with these markets, forming collectives so we have scale to respond to what markets want.
This trade mission was one further step towards growing and strengthening our cultural and commercial connections. We should never underestimate the power of our Māori identity and how it enables us to bond with other people and their culture. I aim to build on the relationships made in China in the future. It is certainly a goal of mine that we put in place mechanisms that allow our people to become self-sufficient through economic development both here in Aotearoa and overseas.
At home, there have been a number of regional economic growth studies completed for Northland, the Bay of Plenty, Manawatū-Whanganui and the East Coast. An Action Plan has already been drawn up for Te Toi Moana/Bay of Plenty. Plans for the remaining three districts are expected to be released in early 2016.
I enjoyed attending the launch of the Toi Moana Bay of Plenty Regional Economic Action Plan in Rotorua which tāngata whenua firmly stamped their mark on. It outlines nine economic development priority areas including Māori land utilisation, geothermal and education and skills. The Action Plan aims to lift employment, incomes and investments across the region.
After the holiday break, one of my priorities will be to advance various kaupapa including efforts to increase employment opportunities for Māori. We have some important pieces of legislation going before Parliament next year including the Māori Language (Te Reo Māori) Bill and Te Ture Whenua Māori Bill. Good progress has been made in the establishment of the Māori Housing Network with plenty of interest in how to access funding.
I am looking forward to winding down and spending time with whānau and friends, and especially my beautiful mokopuna Te Hare. She is my reminder of Whānau Ora and the potential of whānau.
Whānau Ora helps a family to design a plan to look at ways of improving areas of their lives such as in education, housing, income and employment.
It focuses on the strengths of a whānau and empowers them to identify which areas need improving. Whānau Ora provides them with the tools such as referring them to services that can help them to achieve their aspirations.
I anticipate seeing more positive impact Whānau Ora will have on the lives of whānau, hapū and iwi in 2016 and look forward to sharing more about Whānau Ora with you in the New Year.
In the meantime, I wish you a safe and enjoyable Christmas and a prosperous and bright New Year.
Nō reira kei ngā whānau e ngana tonu nei kia eke panuku, kia eke tangaroa, nei rā ahau ka mihi ki a koutou katoa. Mā te wāhi ngaro tātou e manaaki, e tauwhiro.
Hon Te Ururoa Flavell
Te Minita Whanaketanga Māori