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Te Ara Whakamua--finding a way forward.

IN PREPARATION for this year's South Pacfic Nurses' Forum in Rarotonga in November, members of Te Runanga o Aotearoa NZNO executive committee met last month with National Council of Maori Nurses' president Mere Belzer and council member Tio Saul to discuss outstanding issues. The most significant was finding a pathway forward (te ara whakamua) on the issue of which indigenous group should have the voting rights at the forum.

Discussions focused on kotahitanga (future directions as one Maori voice), whanaungatanga (cementing our relationship), rangatiratanga (recognition and respect for each other), the history and goals of the council, and the forum's constitution.

The hui began with a mihi, karakia and whakawhanaungatanga, important elements that promote positive discussions and outcomes at any hui.

Mere Belzer outlined the council's genesis and journey. These proved an integral part of the discussion and pivotal to the future relationship between Te Runanga and the council. The two groups have met on several occasions in the past to attempt to resolve issues and develop a respectful working relationship.

As Maori, we are all connected through whakapapa (genealogy). This means that, regardless of what organisations we belong to, we are one whanau, with the ultimate aim of whanau ora (healthy families).

Rule 6.1 of the forum constitution states that, where more than one national nursing association exists in a country, membership will comprise the one that represents the most nurses in the country. In New Zealand's case, this is NZNO. Rule 6.3 states that where a nurses' group representing the indigenous people exists, the delegation from that country shall include the national nurses' organisation as defined in 6.1 and representatives from the indigenous group. Mere Belzer explained that the council was instrumental in the change to include representation from indigenous nurses' groups. This information has helped clear up some of the ambiguity around the issue of representation and voting rights. Currently, NZNO holds the four votes for New Zealand.

Discussions now need to occur with Te Runanga members to inform them of the council's rationale for being part of the official representation, with voting rights. The two groups will meet again prior to the forum to resolve any outstanding issues.

The whakatauki that Te Runanga has the privilege to use is: "Kaua e takahi te mana o te tangata"--"Don't trample the dignity of mankind." Te Runanga strives to uphold and maintain these kupu in everyday business. Te Runanga would like to acknowledge Mere Belzer, Tio Saul and the council for taking the time to meet with us and for providing clarity around important issues. Tenei te mihi atu kia koutou katoa, te Kaunihera o Nga Neehi Maori o Aotearoa.

RELATED ARTICLE: Annual general hui in Ohope.

TE RUNANGA'S annual general hui was held at Te Aka Puaho Maungarongo marae in Ohope earlier this month. Keynote speakers included chief Maori adviser with the Ministry of Health's Te Kete Hauora, Wi Keelan; the first Maori nurse practitioner Janet Maloney Moni; and Mt Eden prison nurse Dianna McGregor. A forum for nurses working for Maori providers was also held. A fuller hui report will be published in next month's magazine.
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Title Annotation:Te Runanga o Aotearoa New Zealand Nurses Organisation; National Council of Maori Nurses'
Publication:Kai Tiaki: Nursing New Zealand
Geographic Code:8NEWZ
Date:Aug 1, 2004
Previous Article:NZNO South Island professional forum series.
Next Article:Gerontology section plans its conference.

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