Social Development Accord for Te Hiku Iwi in the Far North

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Improving the lives of whanau living in the Far North is the motivation behind the Te Tiriti o Waitangi settlement negotiations between Te Hiku o Te Ika (Far North) iwi and the Crown, regarding the Te Hiku Social Development and Wellbeing Accord (the Social Accord), which was signed at Waitangi on 5 February 2013 by Ngai Takoto, Te Rarawa and Te Aupouri leaders, and Prime Minister John Key and Ministers Paula Bennett and Pita Sharples.

Screen Shot 2013-06-18 at 9.53.54 PMFar North iwi will progress the Social Accord further when representatives travel to Wellington on 19 June 2013 to sign agreements with 11 Crown agencies, committing those Government departments[1] to work jointly with participating Te Hiku iwi to improve the wellbeing of whanau in the Far North.

“The Deeds of Settlement signed by Te Rarawa, Te Aupouri and Ngai Takoto in 2012 settled historic Treaty grievances for the iwi and contained agreed historical accounts about the interactions of those iwi with the Crown, Crown apologies for the injustices done to the iwi, and cultural and commercial redress for those injustices. Most importantly the Social Accord redress provided in the Deeds has the potential to address the contemporary social and economic disparities that exist amongst our communities.” say Haami Piripi, Chair of the Te Hiku Iwi Development Trust.

“These disparities are reflected in the social indicators and economic status of our households. Our situation has not been helped by the inefficient delivery of Government services which has resulted in haphazard and ineffective intervention regimes,” he said.

Hugh Karena, Deputy Chair of the Te Hiku Iwi Development Trust explains, The Social Accord means that Te Hiku iwi will sit at the decision making table together with Government agencies that invest significant amounts of money in the Far North to provide services like the Ministries of Social Development, Education and Justice. Iwi and the Crown will discuss the major negative issues affecting the lives of Te Hiku people, prioritise what needs to be done, and identify ways to tackle those issues. Iwi will then work with Ministers and senior officials to direct Crown investment in Te Hiku to help solve these problems and improve the lives of our people. This will help free our wh?nau from the constraints and symptoms of socio-economic deprivation, which is the worst in New Zealand.

Iwi will work with Government agencies to improve education, health, welfare, housing and other social development indicators, and will make sure that local voices talking about local issues and proposing local solutions are heard by the Crown in those decision making discussions. While the primary focus for the iwi is their members its important to note that the changes that iwi aspire to bring about will assist all members of the Far North community. Potential improvements in the delivery of education, health and welfare services for example, will help learners, the unwell and those needing welfare assistance both Maori and non-Maori, says Karena.

It is anticipated that there will be significant cost efficiencies gained by Government departments. Also, an active iwi dialogue with the Crown in Te Hiku to identify local problems and local solutions supported by Crown resources, will likely require agencies to refocus and realign their business and investments to the needs of our people, and our iwi strategies and objectives.

However the Social Accord is about more than merely addressing the problems our whanau face today. Iwi intend to work with the Crown on plans for future generations of Te Hiku people. This will involve setting ideal outcomes for Te Hiku iwi to aspire to and setting in place the pathway, with the support of the Crown, to achieve 5, 10, 15 and 20 year goals. From our perspective, this Accord is about long-term, sustained change which will improve the lives of Te Hiku people, he says.

“The Accord provides for an annual cycle of engagement between the iwi, Government agencies and the Ministers who will oversee the relationship. We’re excited by this new, innovative and cutting edge approach to the social development of our people, which we expect will make a real difference for our wh?nau as we move forward together,” says Karena.

The iwi side of the initiative is being managed by the Te Hiku Iwi Development Trust, which has been established by Te Aupouri, Ngai Takoto and Te Rarawa to implement the iwi participation in the Social Accord relationship as well as support other cross-iwi initiatives that might arise from treaty settlements and future joint endeavours. Seats on the Trust have also been reserved for the remaining Te Hiku Iwi, Ngati Kuri and Ng?ti Kahu should they wish to join the Trust when the iwi settle their Treaty grievances.

Iwi leadership is key to the joint strategy of working together to effect change in Te Hiku. Representation across the group includes Raymond Subritzky and Hugh Karena from Te Aupouri, Rangitane Marsden and Robert Tamati of Ngai Takoto and Malcolm Peri and myself for Te Rarawa. However the most important thing is that we are all committed to working in unity for the benefit of the people in the Far North, says Haami Piripi.

Ends

Media Enquiries: Piripi Moore 0272511915, te_ao@xtra.co.nz

Signing of the Te Hiku Iwi Social Development Accord at Waitangi on the 5th June:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=YWO_2Z3XrPo


[1] The 11 agencies are the Ministry of Social Development, the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Enterprise (containing the Economic Development, Labour and Building and Housing portfolios), New Zealand Police, Department of Corrections, the Department of Internal Affairs (including the National Library, National Archives and Te Papa), Te Puni Kokiri and Statistics New Zealand.

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