Commitment to reducing family violence

Aroha Reriti-Crofts and Susan Wallace at the launch of Tū Pono: Te Mana Kaha ō te Whānau.

In early June over 120 whānau came together at Rehua Marae for the launch of Tū Pono: Te Mana Kaha ō te Whānau.

The Tū Pono strategy aims to reduce the impact that family violence is having in families and communities throughout  Te Waipounamu and Aotearoa, and the launch signifies the next phase in bringing this campaign into effect.

Susan Wallace (Te Rūnanga o Makaawhio representative on the Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu Board) said she was  humbled to speak alongside Tā Mark Solomon, Dame Tariana Turia and the Minister for Māori Development Hon Te Ururoa Flavell at this event.

Ngāi Tahu have been involved with Tū Pono since the beginning when Tā Mark Solomon (then Kaiwhakahaere of Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu) called on Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu – the Whānau Ora Commissioning Agency – to find a way forward in addressing family harm through the prevention of family violence.   Speaking at the launch, Susan reiterated the strong commitment Ngāi Tahu have for this kaupapa.

“There is no doubt that family violence is the biggest unspoken truth in Aotearoa and it continues to cause great harm for our whānau,” says Susan.

“This moment in time – the Tū Pono moment – is one we can look back and say, we were there, we stood up for a different pathway.,” she says.

Susan Wallace speaking at the launch of Tū Pono: Te Mana Kaha ō te Whānau.

Susan acknowledged that too often whānau do not speak up when they see  or are affected by family violence. She challenged whānau to stop looking away, saying “we need to protect our whānau. We need to report what we see.”

This is one of the key messages of Tū Pono: Te Mana Kaha o te Whānau, an organisation whose name literally means to stand in one’s truth and uphold the strength and mana of the family. The approach puts whānau at the core and ensures that their needs are being met, while identifying gaps in current policy.

“We will speak out to give a voice to those who have been silent,” says Susan, affirming the commitment of Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu to Tū Pono, alongside Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu, Te Whare Hauora, He Waka Tapu, Nga Maata Waka, Community Law and Te Puna Oranga.

The launch acknowledged the dedication of all those who have worked in the family violence space over the years, including Aunty Kiwa Hutchen.

As Dame Tariana Turia has said, “these are extremely difficult issues. We must all hold hands together and take our whānau, particularly our tamariki, to that special place our tūpuna prepared for us. We are born of greatness. Let us live it with pride and strength. While we may acknowledge trauma and reasons for these dreadful statistics, of family violence, we must also stand up and say there is no excuse.”

For more information on Tū Pono go to this webpage.