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Hui reflected Kotahitanga.

Omaka Marae in Blenheim, the home marae of Ngati Apa, was the venue for this year's annual general hui (AGH) of Te Runanga O Aotearoa, NZNO. More than 60 people, including whaea Vera Morgan, the last recipient of Te Runanga's Akenehi Hei Award Pull Puti O'Brien, Te Runanga kaiwhakahaere Brenda Close, NZNO president Marion Guy, other NZNO board members, chief executive Geoff Annals, and Te Runanga and Te Aronui delegates from around the country were welcomed onto lhe marae on the afternoon of Friday August 4.

Close said Omaka was chosen as the venue for this year's hui because the Top of the South was the only region without a representative on Te Runanga's national executive komiti. Holding the AGH on Omaka Marae provided an opportunity to profile Te Runanga, meet members from the region and fill the vacant position on the executive komiti. "We also wanted to take the hui to Te Wai Pounamu," she said.

Building relationships

It was the first time NZNO board members had been invited to be part of the hui. "We invited the board to be part of our journey as a way of building relationships, which are integral to us advancing nursing and health," she said.

The Friday evening was devoted to whanaungatanga. Many people chose to share their nursing journey, including the former chair of Te Kaunihera o Nga Neehi Maori o Aotearoa the National Council of Maofi Nurses (NCMN), Puti Puti O'Brien, who worked for 40 years in public health. "I worked in public health nursing services in the home. If that service was still operating it would have saved the Kahui twins. It was a wonderful life and Maori families loved the nurses." When she began her nursing training, a motto she had seen--"Enter to learn, go forth to serve"--had inspired her. "I took up those words."

Referring to the inaugural recipient of the Akenehi Hei Award, Irihapeti Ramsden, as a "rare and special woman", O'Brien said she was honoured to have received the award after her. Nursing consultant, Te Runanga member and NCMC member, Hemaima Hughes, during her introductions, stressed the importance of building the Maori nursing workforce, which at present was just 2.7 percent of the nursing workforce. As one of the driving forces behind the Maori nursing degree (see p11), which has a primary health care focus, she said "we need to walk arm-in-arm and hand-in-hand to change the future of our people".

Whaea Vera Morgan entertained those present with stories from her childhood in Northland and her involvement with Ngati Poneke when she moved to Wellington.

On the Saturday, the hui began with regional reports from members of Te Runanga's national komiti. In her report, Close reviewed Te Runanga's activities over the past year, describing the year as one of growth and development and as "exhilerating, challenging and busy". The major focus of the past year had been on developing stronger relationships with Maori members within each region. Close said Te Runanga was fortunate to be part of an organisation that was committed to bicultural partnership with Maori and "we will take very opportunity to make this commitment a reality".

Te Runanga's priority was to strengthen kotahitanga throughout NZNO. Te Runanga contributed significantly to NZNO's work for nurses and health care workers and represented the interests and concerns of Maori with "passion and determination". Close acknowledged those who "have led me through my first year" as she relearnt and regained her knowledge and strength in Te Ao Maori.

In presenting Te Runanga's strategic plan to the AGH, Close said Te Runanga was part of NZNO and proud of that. Te Runanga's strategic goals are rangatiratanga: to be the lead consultant for Maori health in Aotearoa/New Zealand; whanaungatanga: to grow Maori membership; and to have strong, reciprocal relationships and effective communication processes with NZNO, membership, whanau, hapu and iwi; kaitiakitanga: to demonstrate the mana of tikanga in everything we do; and kotahitanga: to strengthen our bicultural partnership.

The critical success factors in achieving these goals were regional and national kaumatua; a committed, skilled and achieving executive committee; adequate resources; strong, reciprocal relationships with NZNO; an active and engaged membership; and good planning.

Overwhelming support for PAUA

Former Te Runanga chair Sharon Morunga and NZNO policy analyst Maori Sharon Clair gave a presentation on the development and role of PAUA (Positive Action in Unity and Aroha) since its inception three years ago. Those at the hui were then asked to brainstorm "where to from here?" for PAUA. There was overwhelming support for the continuation of PAUA and the ideas generated will be collated into a report by Clair. Another hui highlight was a progress report by Hemaima Hughes on the development of the Maori nursing degree which, if granted final approval, will be delivered through Te Whare Wananga o Awanuiarangi in Whakatane. (See news story on p6.)

Speaking after the hui, Close said it had been a privilege to be a part of a hui that had fostered and embraced kotahitanga. "To be in Te Wai Pounamu, at Omaka Marae and within the whare tupuna--Te Aroha o te Waipounamu--defined the ahuatanga of our hui. And we have a member interested in representing the region on our national komiti, so the hui was a success simply by that. There were many new faces, connections established and relationships strengthened. It was great to have our kaumatua, to have board members share our experience, to build on our relationship with them, to support our students and see them stand to take their place within our roopu and organisation, and to have Maori staff represented also," she said.

Over the past year, the national komiti had united and developed a strong work ethic. "This roopu is commited and passionate. Te Runanga has developed its strategic plan and will work towards achieving it over the next five years. This past year was instrumental in the success of this hui."

Report by co-editor Teresa O'Connor
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Title Annotation:TE RUNANGA; New Zealand Nurses Organisation special event celebration
Author:O'Connor, Teresa
Publication:Kai Tiaki: Nursing New Zealand
Geographic Code:8NEWZ
Date:Sep 1, 2006
Words:995
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