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Unity evident at Te Runanga hui: new leadership and some new directions were decided on at last month's Te Runanga O Aotearoa NZNO hui in Wanganui.

A strong sense of unity and purpose was very much evident at last month's Te Runanga 0 Aotearoa NZNO annual general hui at Putiki Marae in Wanganui, according to newly elected chair Brenda Close. Much work was done, differences were settled and ideas were shared amidst korero, waiata and laughter.

A key feature of the weekend--attended by around 80 people--was the election of the new chair and vice chair. There were three nominations for chair--Close, Rhoda Waitere and Dianna McGregor. Close, who is from Te Tai Tokerau, is a registered nurse and academic at Te Wananga o Raukawa in Otaki. In her words: "Tena koutou i roto i nga tini aitua e pa ana ki a tatou mai i mua. Tena koutou nga whanau o Putiki Marae mo to koutou manaaki me tiaki hoki i a matou nga kaimahi hauora o Aotearoa i noho matou kei kona i tera mutunga wiki. "Tenei te mihi mahana ki a koutou katoa te whanau o Te Runanga o Aotearoa, NZNO. He tino hari koa te ngakau i noho ahau i waenganui i a koutou, na reira tena koutou katoa.

"I feel humbled and privileged to have this opportunity to serve as Te Runanga chair. I look forward to the challenges ahead and to working with you all in moving forward with Te Runanga o Aotearoa and NZNO."

Psychiatric assistant at the Whanganui District Health Board's acute adult mental health unit Te Awhina, Des Canterbury-Te Ngaruru, was elected vice chair. As the first man to hold the vice chair's position and the first nurse assistant, he sees himself as breaking new ground. "I hope to be a good role model to other nonregulated NZNO members and to other men. My passion is to keep a balance between our professional and industrial goals and to attract more men into nursing and nurse assistant roles." Other Te Runanga members were appointed to committees, including Kerri Nuku and Tania Forrest to the Nursing and Midwifery Advisory Committee, Sharon Morunga to the Council of Trade Unions and Shar Panapa to the editorial review committee of Kai Tiaki Nursing New Zealand.

Guest speaker, Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia, was unable to attend and was replaced by Maori Party List candidate Aaron Makutu. Delegates questioned him about his party's support of key NZNO concerns, including improved funding for aged care, support for pay parity for nurses in primary health care and the continuation of the Employment Relations Act. Te Oranganui Maori health provider chief executive Jenny Thompson Tamehana also spoke, encouraging nurses to consider working in their own hapu. In response to comments about unsafe working conditions, overwork and poor pay among many Maori providers, Thompson said nurses needed to Learn to say "no' when demands from whanau and hapu became too great. She spoke of the difficulties many iwi providers faced trying to secure sufficient funding for their different contracts and the challenge of attracting sufficient numbers of skilled staff.

Advice from first Te Runanga chair

Also at the hui were Te Runanga life members Hine Te Apatu and Nola Tanner, along with the first elected chair Angle Perry. Perry was elected in 1990 when an NZNU member and continued in the position until 1995. NZNU and NZNA amalgamated to form NZNO in 1993. Perry discussed the importance of Te Runanga not forgetting its union roots and to remember to focus on the needs of members. "All of us Learn from our mistakes. We must continue to [earn and continue to move towards the challenges that tie ahead," she said. "Te Runanga has come a Long way over the last ten years and it is great to see the wider membership respecting and appreciating its role. Te Runanga needs to continue to raise its profile within NZNO and work towards its partnership goals."

Delegates responded warmly to a presentation by Nga Tangata o te Ao Marama ki Whanganui (a mental health and addictions consumer group) co-ordinator Manny Down. Down was accompanied by several tangata whaiora, who had joined him on a three-clay trip by waka down the Whanganui River late last year. The aim of the journey was to help tangata whaiora renew their physical and spiritual connections to the river, thus promoting healing. A documentary about this journey, which screened some months ago on national television, was shown at the hui. Down and his group have been invited to present their experiences at a mental health consumers'/survivors' conference in Phoenix, Arizona next month.

Members of the Positive Action in Unity and Aroha (PAUA) team, led by the Rev Leo Te Kira, helped launch the new PAUA resource, Te Rourou Ka Ora Ai: the Sustaining Basket. The booklet brings together some key Maori values health professionals need to understand and affirm when working with Maori patients/clients, in order to improve Maori health. The chapters cover such issues as te Tiriti O Waitangi, different understandings between Maori and non-Maori of family structures, the importance of spiritual values, and hygiene practices. Suggestions from delegates about the best use of the new resource included distribution to nursing students, to hospital libraries and NZNO worksites. The booklet is now available from NZNO national office at $7.50 for members and $10 for non-members. Ways of introducing PAUA to the wider membership were also discussed, with suggestions for working within NZNO's regions.

During the hakari, entertainment was provided by the kapahaka group Te Whanau o Whare Whiti. Photo montages were presented to retiring NZNO president Jane O'Malley and chair Anne McNicol. "To those who are outgoing in their roles, thank you so much for the contributions made and the pathway cleared for those of us following," said Close. "To those who are taking up new representative roles, good luck with the journey we are about to embark on and the contributions we are yet to offer. We will continue to work together and strive for excellence, with our focus on issues pertaining to Maori, nursing and the well-being of people and the world we Live within. 'Hui tatou ka tu! Wehewehe tatou ka hinga: No reira, tena koutou, tena koutou, tena koutou katoa."
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Title Annotation:NEWS FOCUS
Author:Manchester, Anne
Publication:Kai Tiaki: Nursing New Zealand
Date:Sep 1, 2005
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