In 1987, Ngati Porou first proposed its’ Ara Kainga model and approach, against the backdrop of Puao Te Atatu and the government’s policy of devolution to iwi, Te Urupare Rangapu.
Despite the positive intent from ministers, the public sector resisted the essence of both policies. Only a handful of programmes – all from the Department of Maori Affairs - were devolved to iwi to administer. The rest of the state sector held onto their programmes, even as many of those agencies withdrew from the East Coast and other rural areas.
For the people of Ngati Porou and the East Coast, the iwi’s decision to commit itself to service provision, meant the difference between having access to local support, or travelling up to three hours to try and get help from Gisborne.
So, we have taken stock of where we are as Ngati Porou, and what our shared aspirations are for the care of our children and the well-being of the whanau and communities they belong to.
The report revisited the themes of 1987’s Ara Kainga, and canvasses this generation of Ngati Porou on their aims and aspirations for our tamariki and mokopuna, and the challenges these pose for whanau, the Runanganui and the State.
The paramount objective is that all tamariki mokopuna are nurtured in caring and loving environments provided by their immediate and extended whanau. To this end, the report urges us to focus on Ngati Porou whanau, who are at risk, to restore their capacity to provide for their members’ emotional, physical and spiritual well-being.
In doing so, we will be reducing and reversing the flow of our mokopuna into state care; and we will be replenishing the future stocks of our family leaders, and the fabric of our hapu, marae and communities.
We will be holding discussions and workshops in the near future on how we can put the report and its’ recommendations into real action.