Whanau Ora support model

S. Paurini made this Official Information request to Peeni Henare

Currently waiting for a response from Peeni Henare, they must respond promptly and normally no later than (details and exceptions).

From: S. Paurini

Dear Peeni Henare,

Whanau Ora support

My whanau have been declined support from the Whanau Ora Commission agency on the grounds that our needs don't "fit" Whanau Ora criteria.

The promised philosophy of Whanau Ora strongly suggests that our whanau needs would "fit" Whanau Ora criteria given we're talking about an effective plan to address a long history of estrangement, neglect and discrimination. A legacy that we are desperate for our children and grandchildren to break free from.

The plan has been explained to the variety of agencies that have been approached and we have been turned away from each agency for the most superficial reasons at every turn.

We only asked for initial support through Whanau Direct but we're turned away because each agency runs it's own rules.

How can any whanau be independent and empowered if your agencies aren't organised to address whanau need?

From the conversations I've had our whanau are more likely to receive support if our challenges/needs weren't serious or were readily addressed with little effort.

Other agencies ought to be working alongside Whanau Ora yet the agencies I spoke with seem to know little and nothing about advocacy, policy, legislation, eligibility and entitlements as these are available through related agencies.

I started the Whanau Ora journey in 2011 and we were unable to receive any assistance at all.

Under the new Whanau Ora model, nothing seems to have changed. I would like to know why some whanau are supported and some aren't.

Our whanau plan could save people's lives and whanau ora is unavailable to us, why?
Yours faithfully,

S. Paurini

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From: Jesse Roth

Kia ora S. Paurini

Thank you very much for your correspondence, and I am sorry to hear about your experience trying to access Whānau Ora support.

I am the Private Secretary for Whānau Ora in the office of the Honourable Peeni Henare. I will ensure your concerns are relayed to the Minister, and you will receive a formal response in due course.

Ngā mihi nui

Jesse Roth

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From: S. Paurini

Jesse,
Tena koe

Just following up wanting to explain further so that you can have an idea of our situation.

I've been trying to get support through Whanau Ora since 2011.

In 2015 I gave up because nothing could be sorted out despite numerous meetings with TPK and contracted outside whanau ora agencies.

The agencies were simply not able to help us because our situation didn't fit any of their particular criteria.

I have a feeling however that our situation is very common and that whanau ora simply isn't designed to support Maori with complicated challenges.

I think this is currently evidenced by hackneyed, inappropriate statements like "we're here to give a hand up, not a hand out" and the confusing and false view that Whanau Ora supports immediate needs (e.g. overdue power bill) rather than long-term wants. I think the line is meant to be "long-term needs" but the various people I've spoken with use the term "want" (meaning something like self interest).

I think it's liky that whanau are more likely to receive support if they follow such criteria and their issues/challenges are uncomplicated.

Yet my understanding is that whanau ora is designed to support whanau to become empowered, independent and stregthened for the long term.

The agencies I've spoken with, including the Whanau Ora commission indicate strongly that Whanau Ora exists to address issues such as unexpected bills, eyewear, dental emergencies and so on.

This is interesting for two main reasons, first, because the government, including the likes of DHBs (dental) and Work and Income provide most of these & other welfare needs through their supplementary benefit system - available to all New Zealanders who have eligibility and entitlements. This includes our Maori population, especially those of us who have disabilities or who are jobless and/or who are working class or poor; second, the Whanau Ora commission's funded outside agencies ought to be providing competent, knowledgeable advocacy for Whanau who need it. Surely Whanau Ora ought to be looking at issues that affect whanau long-term/generationally - and when necessary, working with government agencies that will back up Whanau Ora as needed?

If the resources and funding are being used for fair salaries, reasonable resources and high quality training & education so that the likes of Navigators can do a proper job - that's an obvious good - but why would significant funding go to whanau Ora programmes that address e.g. a one off unforseen circumstance when the idea (& ideal) is to address the long-term needs of Whanau?

I would like to discuss this with you further in the hope that we can come to an arrangement where our Whanau situation will be taken seriously and support/resources/funding will be provided specifically for our needs.

All best

Nga mihi nui
Seann Paurini

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