Maori Women In Decision-making: Launch Of Part Two Of The Profiles Of Maori Women In Decision-making Project

  • Georgina te Heuheu
Women's Affairs

Prime Minister
Participants in the Maori Women in Decision-Making project
Distinguished guests

I am very pleased to be with you this morning to celebrate International Women's Day by launching the second stage of the Ministry's Maori Women in Decision-Making project.

The aims of this project are to increase the numbers of Maori women on government appointed boards and committees, and to reflect in decision-making bodies the diversity of the communities that make-up our society.

The women we are profiling this morning have been nominated for this project by their iwi authorities because of their proven leadership and decision-making abilities within their various communities, including whanau, hapu and iwi. They clearly have the potential to participate at very senior levels of decision-making both in the public and private sectors.

Each of the women here today is a leader in her field. I have the honour this morning to commend each of the women to you and to introduce them:

Beverley Hughes, Ngati Awa, Tuhoe
A teacher at Apanui school, Whakatane, Beverley is recognised for her expertise in education, Maori land issues and conflict resolution.
Josephine Karanga, Tuhoe, Whakatohea
A expert in adult education and training, Josephine is committed to assisting Maori organisations to participate effectively in consultation and decision-making.

Lorraine Stephenson, Rangitane, Ngati Haunui a Paparangi
Lorraine is a dairy farmer and has served for the past ten years on numerous community, rural and statutory organisations in the Wairarapa area and beyond.

Cheryl Te Kani-McQueen, Te Whanau-a-Apanui, Ngati Porou, Ngapuhi
A leading sports administrator, Cheryl received the MDC Maori Sports Administrator Award in 1996. She is currently involved in the development of sports programmes for youth and iwi.

Inez Kingi, Te Arawa, Ngati Whakaue
A highly respected health professional, Inez was instrumental in the development of many Maori health programmers including the much acclaimed Tipu Ora Child Health programme in Rotorua.

Marama Paewai-Kingi, Rangitane
Head of Maori at Dannevirke College, Marama has vast experience in the development of educational programmes to assist families at risk. She has served on numerous community and iwi organisations.

Hana Tukukino, Te Aitanga a Hauiti, Ngati Porou
Hana has contributed extensively to Maori education and the community, and has been on the boards of several statutory bodies including the Midland Regional Health Authority and the Education Training Support Agency.

Marama Tuuta, Ngati Kahungungu Ki Wairarapa, Ngati Moe and Kai Paruparu

A lecturer at Wellington College of Education, Marama has followed a career path in education and is deeply involved in a wide range of educational and community activities and organisations.

As my brief introductions show these women clearly have the networks, skills, experience, and knowledge across a range of areas to continue to add value to issues of governance and decision-making.

Decision-makers need to reflect the diversity of their communities and have strong community networks so that communities can have confidence that their issues are identified and taken into account in the decisions that are made.

Maori women already fulfill significant roles in our society. There is, however, plenty of scope for Maori women to play an even greater part in our civic and national affairs. We are working hard to identify and eliminate the barriers to appointment that Maori women and others face. Te Ohu Whakatupu's analysis of the barriers indicates that lack of visibility is a major barrier - hence this profiling project.

Those who participate in the appointments process are often unaware of the achievements of Maori women, and the value they can bring to public sector boards. Through the profiling project we want to highlight the value and potential of Maori women.

As key people who make recommendations for government appointed boards and committees, you have a role in promoting candidates that reflect the diversity of our society. Your presence here this morning indicates that you recognise the expertise Maori women can bring to decision-making bodies.

Along with their professional expertise these women "add value" to decision-making processes through their knowledge of their iwi, hapu and communities. This "local knowledge" is a growing part of the work of many public bodies.

There is huge talent among Maori women and it is time that the wider community had the benefit of this talent. I am pleased to be here this morning to focus our thinking on the valuable contribution women such as these can make to our national well-being.

Thank you for coming this morning.

I would now like to invite the Prime Minister to say a few words.