Maori leaders find oranga in discussions with PM

By Tema Hemi

Dame Naida Glavish says that a collaborative approach with the government will see Whānau Ora exceed expectations in the near future.

This comes after a long awaited meeting between Dames Tariana Turia, Naida Glavish, Iritana Tawhiwhirangi, Lady Tureiti Moxon, Merepeka Raukawa-Tait, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Whānau Ora Minister Peeni Henare last night at Premiere House. 

Bringing Whānau Ora aspirations to reality is at the forefront of discussions.  

Dame Naida says, "Progressing forward is what we are after and to find a pathway in which we can work collaboratively to progress the aspirations of Māori and the Government. How we can open clear communication lines so that everything we say to each other we are accountable to."

Although the discussion was brief it sets a precedence for tomorrows advocacy of Whānau Ora.  

Dame Naida continues, "Direct discussions have started. In such a brief discussion the Prime Minister and her ministers and also our representation have discussed how we create a working relationship to progress Whānau Ora forward."

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says she is pleased to have found common ground with these community leaders.

"It was really positive meeting and actually just a chance for us to discuss really the common ground that exist. That is the support for Whānau Ora. Its a programme that works its seen incredible results and really its just a matter of how we keep taking that forward," the PM says.

Minister Henare is excited about recommendations of a new direction for Whānau Ora and furthering discussions. 

"We have entered a new pathway for us all and my outlook on discussions is that of a positive nature. But I do believe we need to have more discussions," Minster Henare says.

Dame Naida says that the wellbeing of whānau has always been the motivation to rectify the wrongs that has long suppressed many throughout the country. 

"We are only speaking about our concerns and the concerns for our children moving forward. The Prime Minister has genuinely taken in what we've had to say."

The Dames and their fellow-leaders will meet again with the Prime Minister at the end of this week.