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Source: New Zealand Governor General

Rau rangatira mā, e kui mā, e koro mā, e huihui nei, tēnei aku mihi nui ki a koutou.

I specifically acknowledge

Dame Areta Koopu
Ngāti Toa Rangatira and the Kaumatua of Ngāti Toa
Te Tatai Hauora o Hine
Ora Toa Health Service
Te Whatu Ora
Te Akai Whai Ora

Thank you so much for your welcome.

Despite living in Porirua for a year in Taupoo aka Plimmerton, I was never able to visit this marae, so it is an honour to come here today before we begin our visit to the Centre. It is also an honour to be welcomed here today by Ngati Toa iwi and nga taangata e mahi ana kei konei.

This is a great day

for Te Tātai Hauora o Hine the National Centre for Women’s Health Aotearoa
for Ngāti Toa
for innovation in health care
and most importantly – for wāhine, pepi and whānau in Porirua.

On International Women’s Day, when we focus on equity for women, I am delighted to support work that seeks equity between different communities of women in Aotearoa.

As a former researcher into Māori health, health of tamariki and rangatahi – and as a mother and grandmother – I am excited by this project – and I support it fully on both an intellectual and a human level.

For women and their whānau to be comfortable and confident with their medical care, they need to have access to appropriate services.

If we can secure better outcomes for mother, baby and whānau – and, in particular – turn around the negative statistics for Māori and Pasifika women and their babies – it will be life-changing for the people concerned – and will strengthen our communities in innumerable ways, for generations to come.

It’s exciting to see what can be achieved in health care through partnerships and collaboration. Each partner brings their knowledge, expertise and perspectives to creating systems of care that can be developed and refined over time.

And what is learned in one programme can inform further iterations of it in other rohe. Many thanks to Ngāti Pāhauwera for gifting their programme to Ngāti Toa to build on here at the Hapu Māmā Hub.

When I worked in health and education, I was always most interested in research that delivered practical recommendations for change.

I know how immensely satisfying it is when evidence-based decisions are made; when recommendations are heeded and implemented.

Since 2005, Te Tatai Hauora o Hine has been finding ways to make that process happen.

They have identified inequities, they have worked with iwi to fill gaps in the data, and they have led initiatives to improve the care of mothers and their babies.

Thank you, Bev, and your team, for your pioneering research and programmes to improve wellbeing for our mamas and pepi in our communities.

Your approach recognises that different communities have distinctive issues, requiring distinctive approaches and solutions.

You bring Matauranga Māori alongside western approaches to research and medical care – and confirm how kaupapa Māori research methodologies can mine rich sources of data and inform programmes of care.

Implementing change is not a straightforward process. It demands time, energy and goodwill from all sides, in the constant quest for continuous improvement and solutions.

I orea te tuatara ka patu ki waho.[1]

Over time, as your programmes of care evolve, iwi and health authorities throughout Aotearoa will benefit from what you learn here in Porirua.

Thank you to everyone whose commitment and dedication has made the Hapu Māmā Hub possible.

The support, insights and confidence of Ngāti Toa will be absolutely invaluable in the years ahead – and so too will be the benefits experienced by Ngāti Toa whānau.

Once again, congratulations and best wishes as you launch this wonderful new development on International Women’s Day.

I am looking forward to seeing the facilities and hearing more about the research and programmes of care.

No reira, tēna koutou, tēna koutou, tēna koutou katoa.

[1] A problem is solved by continuing to find solutions.