As I write this, the jury in the trial of the Urewera 4 has retired to deliberate over the evidence put before them.
By the time this article is published, they should have returned a verdict. I hope for the sake of those charged and the Tuhoe nation, that the verdict brings some relief and that justice indeed is served.
I spent most of the recess last week in my electorate meeting various social service organisations. Among the discussions, we touched on the area of suicide prevention and support for whanau following bereavement. It is awesome to see so many passionate people striving to ensure there are things in place for families during traumatic times.
I was particularly impressed with Ngati Awa Social Services in Whakatane which has an amazing complex and is providing all services from a one-stop-shop type facility. Kawerau also put on a great day for me. I heard first hand from Mayor Malcolm Campbell about the many positive initiatives going on there right now.
Tribute must be paid to Rangitahi Marae in Murupara, which put on a wonderful dinner thanking the community for supporting its two young superstars Roxaine Duff and Aroha Sorenson. These two wahine toa competed in the World Boxing Championships in Serbia earlier this year and both won medals, which from all accounts they well and truly deserved. Now let's think about this. World champs from Murupara. I must mention the efforts of Aaron Warren and Lee Edmonds who have taken initiatives such as boxing into rural schools.
With all these positive things happening on our doorstep, I was dumbfounded to see a front page story about 12 and 13-year-olds getting drunk on a regular basis in town. Without sounding too negative, if this really is happening as often as was reported and to the extent the report says, we must certainly look for solutions. The question is, where do you look for these answers? Is it for kaumatua and community leaders to figure out who is responsible for these teens? Or should we be asking "where are the parents?" How can parents not realise what these kids are up to each weekend?
It would be great to see more rangatahi involved in things such as the boxing gyms, kapa haka, Whare Tu Taua, waka ama or even the traditional sport ki o rahi. There are endless things these rangatahi could and should be encouraged into. As a member of the Te Arawa Lakes Trust, I understand the call from our chair for a report into this issue but Whanau Ora is about whanau taking care of our own. A report isn't going to cut it - active parents and whanau members are and we need to start taking responsibility for our own.
I ahau e tuhi ana i tenei, kua whakataa te roopu whakawa i te tokowha kua mauheretia e kiia nei ko te Urewera tokowha. I te wa ka panuitia tenei purongo, kua puta ke te whakatau. Ko te tumanako, mo te mana o te tokowha, me Tuhoe, ka ea ko te tika.
Mo te nuinga o te wiki kua pahure, i te rohe nei ahau e hui ana ki nga tari papori o konei. I korero ahau ki nga tari e pa ana ki te tukino o te mahi whakamomori me te tautoko i nga whanau kua pangia e tenei momo ahuatanga. Ano nei te pai o nga tangata e kaha akiaki, e kaha tiaki ana i nga whanau o te hapori nei ki te raupatu atu i nga uauatanga katoa. Ko Te Tohu o Te Ora o Ngati Awa ki Whakatane tera e whakatauira ana i te tikanga o aua momo tari. I haere hoki au ki Kawerau ki te hui ki te Mea o reira, a, nana au i whakamohio i nga ahuatanga kakama o te taone. Ka rawe hoki nga mahi o reira.
Whai muri i tera, i haere hoki au ki te taone o Murupara, ki reira whakanui ai i a Roxaine Duff raua ko Aroha Sorenson, te tokorua i tu hei Kanohi mo Aotearoa i nga whakataetae mekemeke o te ao i Hepia.
I te mutunga iho, i hoki mai raua me etahi metara - to raua kaha hoki. Ano nei he toa raua, a, no Murupara. Kei runga noa atu koutou Murupara. Kei wareware au te mihi ki a Aaron Warren raua ko Lee Edmonds, na raua te hakinakina nei i whakaako ki nga rangatahi o enei momo takiwa.
Ka whakaaro au ki enei momo ahuatanga papai rawa e tu ana ki mua i o tatou aroaro. He aha te take ko te purongo o mua i te nupepa, ko tera e pa ana ki nga tamariki 12, 13 tau te pakeke e inu waipiro ana i te taone.
Mehemea ko tenei ahuatanga he ahuatanga e kaha kokiri ana i waenga i a tatou, ka pehea tatou e whakatika ai? Me waiho mo nga kaumatua, nga rangatira ranei e whakatika? Me waiho ranei mo nga matua? Tera pea me whakauru tatou i a tatou tamariki ki roto i nga roopu hakinakina, te kapa haka, te whare tu taua, ki o rahi ranei. E hia ke nei nga momo ahuatanga hei mahi akiaki mo enei rangatahi.
I ahau e tu ana ki runga i te Poari mo nga roto o Te Arawa, kei te marama au i te hiahia mo tetahi ripoata ki tenei take nui. Engari, ki a au nei, ko Whanau Ora te whakautu.
Ara, ma tena tatou ka ako i te tino putake o te tino rangatiratanga, me te whakakotahitanga o nga whanau, hapu, iwi i runga i te hiahia kia whai oranga ai o tatou tamariki mokopuna.
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