Launch of Te Rau Matatini – the first Maori Mental Health Workforce Development Organisation

  • Tariana Turia

Tena koutou e whakarauika nei i tenei ra. Nga mihi, mai i tenei o te awa o Whanganui ki nga uri o Rangitane, tena tatou katoa.

I would like to acknowledge all those who have worked and have dedicated much, so that we today, can celebrate the launching of Te Rau Matatini.

Many, who have worked in the Maori mental health area, have done so without adequate support, for a long time.

An agreed strategy and co-ordination amongst mental health providers and between sectors such as justice, corrections and health has been lacking.

We have little in the way of induction training into this area of health, or in workforce development for those working at any level of tangata whenua mental health.

I therefore thank those, who have continued to provide the care and support for our tangata whaiora and fulfilling our responsibilities to look after our own.

I admire your determination and commitment to working with our people.

You provided us with the challenge to create and environment which would fulfil our dreams.

Today the dream is becoming the reality.

We cannot change history, but we can take responsibility for shaping today and in the process, influencing tomorrow.

What we know is that we need to expand our numbers and hone our skills in a whole range of sectors, to enable us to deliver the best, because our people at a minimum, deserve the best.

What you have done reminds me of the deeds of Maui. He ventured out into a turbulent ocean, used the jawbone of his ancestress and fished up Te Ika A Maui.

You have also ventured out and I know use the skills that were inherent in our ancestors and what you have fished up is Te Rau Matatini.

Maui's canoe according to Ngati Porou rested on Mt Hikurangi. Where will the canoe of Te Rau Matatini rest? Will it remain in Rangitane at Massey University or is there another resting place.

I am sure that Maui was able to analyse his situation and create an explanation, as to why he did, what he did. We must do the same.

We cannot simply explain away our current health status with discussions about the relationship between social and economic status and the impact of that, on the mental health of tangata whenua, although that is a factor.

What I believe is important to health and wellbeing, is the ability of people to identify and understand who they are in this world and from whom they have come.

How a person places themselves in this world, is of vital importance to their perspective on the world and their ability to participate and contribute positively to whanau, with friends, in communities.

At present we have many systems in this country that deliver verdicts on us, that tell us what is good for us, how often we should have it, when we should have it, where we should have it, and why we should have it.

Today what we are saying is, we will decide what we should have, where we should have it, who will give it to us and when it will be given to us.

That I suppose becomes part of the expression of rangatiratanga.

Any people will feel good when they are in control of their destiny.

Maui was very much aware, that he needed to go wherever it was necessary, to get what he believed would be beneficial. We must do the same. We must never ever cage ourselves, to the extent that we imprison our minds.

I have used this before, Bob Marley said "emancipate ourselves from mental slavery, none but ourselves can free our minds".

Te Rau Matatini is about professional mental health education, because the tangata whenua mental health workforce is a professional workforce, it is not a cultural workforce. It is as professional as any other professional workforce.

What it should be able to do, in my humble view, is identify the cultural basis for its professionalism, just like any other profession should be able to identify, its professional cultural base.

The thrust behind Te Rau Matatini is to improve and maintain staff recruitment and retention, ensure continuous upskilling and promote a culture of learning.

These are vital components to ensuring that a tangata whenua health workforce provides culturally competent, appropriate, professional and quality advice to whanau.

There is now a large Maori health workforce and tangata whenua providers nationally, that provide a range of primary care, clinical and social services to their communities.

Te Rau Matatini will work towards facilitating mental health training and experience to the staff that work for these services, and the community people who support them.

If we are to develop a workforce, who will serve our tangata whaiora and their whanau, we need a workforce versed history and aware of, as Mason Durie has said in the past, "the cataclysmic effect" that history has had on whanau and hapu.

Work that has already been undertaken through Te Rau Puawai, Te Ora and now through the establishment of Te Rau Matatini will ensure that progress continues, for the benefit of our whanau.

Tuutahitia te wero is the guide for shaping the future of tangata whenua mental health services from 2000 – 2005. Te Rau Matatini represents the growth of ideas and potential for future development.

It is tasked with overseeing the initiatives, that will achieve the goals set out for the tangata whenua mental health workforce.

Te Pütahi a Toi, Mäori Studies at Massey University, has been asked to be the place where the canoe of Te Rau Matatini will rest.

There will be a Board, who will govern and direct the programme.

I am pleased that the crew chosen for the waka, have come from a wide cross-section of the skilled paddlers, to steer the waka of Te Rau Matatini.

This programme will challenge DHBs to develop recruitment and retention strategies to strengthen their capacity to deliver quality services to tangata whenua.

It will also encourage professional bodies to recognise the needs of tangata whenua trainees in mental health training programmes.

All these will contribute to improved services for tangata whenua.

Today we have our opportunity. Potential not pathology must be the focus.

I believe we have the talent, I believe we have the will.

I believe we will achieve all that we set out to, and in doing so, learn the lessons that will enable those who follow us, to take the next steps forward with confidence and with determination.

In the end our greatest focus must be on whanau ora. This is another opportunity for whanau development focusing on our peoples potential rather than deficits, focusing on opportunity, rather than risk, focusing on achievement, rather than failure.

Let us determine what learning we need to do to be successful in a way that benefits whanau and hapu.

So to all of you involved in Te Rau Matatini, look back to your whanau and hapu histories, look back to your whanau and hapu traditions, so that we are able to craft solutions that will take us into the future.

Na reira, tena koutou, tena koutou, tena koutou katoa.

Background information

Te Rau Matatini will be governed by a Board appointed by the Ministry of Health and made up of representatives from the tangata whenua mental health sector and related agencies. The membership includes representation from:

* Ministry of Health
* District Health Boards
* Kaumätua
* Consumers
* NGO tangata whenua mental health providers
* Professional bodies (Psychiatrists, Psychologists, Mental Health Nurses)
* Mental Health Commission
* Tangata whenua primary health care sector

It is expected that the Board will hold the contract for Te Rau Matatini after 31 May 2002, and will enter into an agreement with Massey University so that continuity and servicing can be maintained without the need for the development of another infrastructure.

Te Rau Matatini will:
* Provide sector leadership and advocacy for tangata whenua mental health workforce needs
* Analyse Mäori mental health workforce needs – kaupapa Mäori provision, bicultural and mainstream services
* Foster a strategic and coordinated approach to workforce issues
* Effect linkages to other mental health sector workforce development initiatives
* Monitor and evaluate the impact of training and unmet training needs
* Create strong operational linkages to the sector, including service users, service providers, other mental health workforce agencies, education providers and central agencies such as the Ministries of Health and Education, the Mental Health Commission, the relevant colleges, professional bodies and standard setting bodies
* Establish effective links with Mäori including support of iwi and Mäori providers
* Determine appropriate education and training goals, modalities and materials; delivery, or arranging for delivery of education and training.

Specific projects
The seven specific projects identified in Tuutahitia te Wero.

Project 1 Training and service enhancement for tangata whenua mental health services
Project 2 A strategic plan for tangata whenua mental health workforce development
Project 3 Preceptorships for new tangata whenua staff who do not have a mental health qualification
Project 4 Undergraduate placements for tangata whenua mental health providers
Project 5 The development of career pathways for tangata whenua registered nurses with mental health experience to work in community settings
Project 6 The provision of primary mental health services by the tangata whenua primary health workforce
Project 7 Collation, distribution and utilisation of information about the tangata whenua mental health workforce.

Core personnel have been employed to manage and deliver the Programme:
Director Prof. Mason Durie (part-time)
Programme Manager Kirsty Maxwell-Crawford (full-time)
Clinical Co-ordinator Paul Hirini (full-time)

The team will be accountable through the Director, to the Board and will be based at the School of Mäori Studies where it will have access to research facilities, IT, library resources, administrative assistance, te reo expertise, and other facilities.

In addition to the core team, projects will require the establishment of working parties, specialist advice, and occasional engagement of researchers.

Te Rau Matatini will have close links with the health and education sectors and especially with:
* Government Departments (Health, Education, Mäori Development)
* Tertiary Education Commission
* The Child and Youth Mental Health Workforce Development Programme
* District Health Boards
* Relevant professional bodies e.g.
- Royal College of Australian and New Zealand Psychiatrists,
- New Zealand College of Clinical Psychologists & Psychological Society
- College of Mental Health Nurses [Mäori Caucus]
* Clinical mental health services for Mäori
* Tangata whenua training providers
* Iwi training providers
* Tangata whenua NGOs