Launch of Te Aorerekura - the national strategy for the elimination of family violence and sexual violence
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I am incredibly grateful that you could all join me today to launch Te Aorerekura – our country’s first national strategy and action plan to eliminate family violence and sexual violence.
Thank you Prime Minister for your kind words and being here today to mark this momentous occasion. I know how important this is for you.
This mahi is extremely personal to me, I know the hopes and aspirations that so many people carry for this work.
I and many others are devoted to making a meaningful difference to improve peoples lives.
Te Aorerekura sets a collective ambition to create peaceful homes where children, people, families and whānau thrive; to enable safe communities where all people are respected.
It will support the wellbeing of our nation and represents an evolution in our journey to address violence in our homes and communities.
Te Aorerekura is a beautiful name for the National Strategy to Eliminate Family Violence and Sexual Violence because ‘aorere’ comes from a cluster of stars that navigates humankind to gain knowledge and comprehension.
Aorere is responsible for ensuring the safe journey of her whānau as they travel across the celestial skies.
Aorere transmits healing energy to restore balance and harmony to all aspects of a person’s toiora, or wellbeing.
And as we all know our efforts to eliminate family violence and sexual violence have been long and difficult.
Reflecting on the name, I see Te Aorerekura as a light that will guide us all on this path to eliminate family violence and sexual violence.
Te Aorerekura provides a vehicle that will support this journey for our country and people, and I want to acknowledge Brad Totorewa (Ngati Naho) from Tu Oho Mai Services to reach Te Aorerekua as the ingoa for this strategy.
The pathways for healing and safety are a priority within Te Aorerekura and ensure that the actions reflect the voices of whānau and communities.
People must be supported to reach restoration and safety from violations suffered.
I first want to turn to the government contribution, those in the Joint Venture of government agencies, my family violence and sexual violence ministerial colleagues, Jan Logie – the former Parliamentary Undersecretary who brilliantly led this work before me, and everyone who has contributed, critiqued and collaborated to make this possible.
I also want to acknowledge the drive and contribution of tangata whenua, the sector, community and advocates who have worked with and kept government to account to get this strategy as strong as it is.
You have all supported the significant public engagement on the Strategy. We now have a strong foundation for our work together, to enable people to thrive and be well.
Te Aorerekura is the people’s strategy. Specialists working with families have called for a national strategy for many years and have patiently walked alongside us to get to this point.
Tangata whenua have brought mātauranga Māori and their leadership to this mahi and have pushed for a strategy that is Tiriti-based.
Through Te Aorerekura we acknowledge that we need to address the intergenerational impacts of colonisation and racism in order for us to eliminate violence.
Te Aorerekura references how the combination of colonisation, racism and sexism in Aotearoa New Zealand increases impacts associated with intergenerational trauma for wāhine Māori
Consistently over the years tangata whenua have been clear that family violence and sexual violence are not traditional. Strengthen wāhine-led, whānau-centred actions are the solution.
Futhermore Te Tiriti o Waitangi, mātauranga Māori and whānau-centred approaches are central to Te Aorerekura.
They provide a unique perspective about how safety and wellbeing can be realised for all people.
Te Aorerekura gives effect to Te Tiriti by continuing to build authentic relationships between tangata whenua and the Crown, with a focus on wellbeing, strengthening protective and prevention factors and a focus on achieving equitable outcomes.
Knowing that mātauranga Māori will enable approaches that better meet the needs of all people, I am pleased to announce today that Cabinet has agreed to establish a Tangata Whenua Advisory Group.
The Tangata Whenua Advisory Group will provide independent advice directly to me as the lead Minister on family violence and sexual violence.
This leadership input is an important improvement to the system and will ensure that te ao Māori informs our implementation of the Strategy and that we are accountable to that leadership.
I really want to thank the many tangata whenua representatives who have engaged with government on these issues in recent years, including Prue Kapua as chair and all the other members of the Interim Te Rōpū; along with the Rōpū that has worked with us over the past year to shape and name Te Aorerekura.
I also want to acknowledge our Independent Advisors, the different communities, and survivors who have each entrusted us with their story.
Their experiences of violence have shaped and strengthened Te Aorerekura. Thank you for sharing, we are now accountable to each of you.
Te Aorerekura brings a stronger focus than ever before to prevention, pause healing, the role of tangata whenua and community leadership for achieving intergenerational change.
It is through primary prevention that we will identify and address the systemic causes and underlying drivers that lead to violence.
At the individual and whānau level, primary prevention involves strengthening individual and whānau resilience – including healthy conflict-management skills, coping strategies, self-agency, and a sense of hope for the future.
It involves building strong, positive cultural and gender identities, and an associated sense of belonging.
It also involves pro-social whānau and peer connections, or support for new parents, around child development and positive parenting, so children and young people are raised to feel loved, confident, and safe.
At the community and societal levels, it involves building gender and social equity, shifting harmful stereotypes, and strengthening of social capital, cohesion and inclusion – nurturing community participation and connectedness to promote healthy norms and support positive behaviour change.
Te Aorerekura has drawn on the knowledge and expertise of many: the thousands of people who engaged with us;
- the specialists and advocates working tirelessly in our communities to support people to get safe and be safe;
- the public servants who have strived to improve systems, learn new ways of working, and deliver advice to decision-makers;
- tangata whenua who have said many times that these complex issues require te ao Māori approaches and indigenous leadership;
- and those from ethnic communities, rainbow communities, disabled people, seniors, and everyone who has struggled to access support when faced with violence.
I attended a variety of our engagement sessions held with communities, and what struck me most was the commitment across the board to work with us to improve the system.
We know that many of the solutions reside in communities – where work is happening with and being led by whānau.
Government must work with communities to support these solutions, rather than obstruct or frustrate innovation.
Government must also organise itself so that it is meeting its responsibilities to strengthen families and communities, and towards wellbeing.
The Strategy sets out a framework to drive government action in a unified way and harnesses public support and community leadership.
It will increase political and public sector accountability by setting out what we are committing to do and how we will measure and report on progress.
Te Aorerekura includes a broad understanding of who is impacted by, and who uses family violence and sexual violence. We have heard from many groups that they want more visibility, services and supports.
Many of those affected by family and sexual violence, our experts and those who have been involved in developing the strategy are spread around the country today, watching this event by livestream.
I thank you all and acknowledge the mahi you have done, are doing, and will continue to do to help people live free from violence.
I am sending my love and appreciation out to you all today.
You know I would very much have liked to have you all here with us today. Know that we will continue our dialogue and relationship-building so that we can work together to implement the Strategy.
I want to acknowledge also that today’s launch comes at a time when many people are feeling the impacts of violence more than ever, due to COVID-19.
Family violence and sexual violence increase in times of crisis such as a pandemic.
Our current situation reinforces why, more than ever, our collective efforts must be focused and well-coordinated.
Family violence and sexual violence are an intergenerational issue, so require long-term generational solutions.
Launching Te Aorerekura marks the start of a longer journey.
We have been purposeful in creating a 25-year strategy because we need sustained focus, investment and commitment that goes beyond parliamentary terms.
Te Aorerekura is evidence-based and comprehensive, and our action plan for the initial 2 years sets out 40 actions to achieve the shifts required.
The 6 shifts set out in the Strategy are designed to create the transformational change required.
These include shifts towards: strength-based wellbeing; mobilising communities; skilled, culturally competent and sustainable workforces; investment in primary prevention; safe, accessible and integrated responses; and increased capacity for healing.
Among the priorities for our first two years are:
- A system wide investment plan, so we can coordinate and target a range of responses and activities, to reduce harm sooner;
- integrating community-led responses so we can continue to learn and test what works if harm does happen and then roll it out;
- continuing to engage with communities to support implementation and build shared understanding of how we will work together;
- establishing the Tangata Whenua Advisory Group to help guide us, and;
- Supporting our workforces with the right tools and resources so people with the right skills are available at the right time.
All of these actions will help in achieving our vision which is:
All people are thriving; their wellbeing is enhanced and sustained because they are safe and supported to live their lives free from family violence and sexual violence.
We all have a part to play to enable the changes necessary and it is a great honour to launch Te Aorerekura- the National Strategy and Action Plan to Eliminate Family Violence and Sexual Violence.
Ko ngā mea nui e rua o tō tātou mahi ki ahau - ko te whanaungatanga, me te kōrero pūrākau. Pērā i te kākano ka tupu i roto i tōku hinengaro, ā ki roto i tōkū whatumanawa anō hoki.
The most valuable aspects of our work are the connections, are the relationships, are the stories told. These stories get planted in your mind, like a seed, where they grow and inspire passion.