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Whanau Ora

Whanau Ora

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Published by Kim Murphy-Stewart
This is an issues paper I wrote relating to whanau ora.
This is an issues paper I wrote relating to whanau ora.

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Categories:Types, Research
Published by: Kim Murphy-Stewart on Dec 05, 2010
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Whanau Ora: - Issues Paper

Greetings to the Whanau ora team

This issues paper is prepared speculatively. It seeks to put forward the issues and concerns which are drawn from:

• My reading of the Whanau ora report

• Strategic material prepared by Te Whanau 0 Waipareira Trust

• My own extensive social work academic and teaching practice.

Unashamedly this presentation is from a relational social work perspective. It takes its view from the sharpest most painful end of whanau ora. It suggests that to truly achieve whanau ora outcomes will be to concertedly confront challenges at this the sharpest end.

Please don't get me wrong this position is not attempting to undermine the public health, early intervention or any projects to maintain or positively influence preexisting levels of whanau capacity. In making this stand we can not be coy about the reality of the 'circles of desolation' which confront whanau nor the uncomfortable extent that this desolation has penetrated whanau lived realities.

In this presentation issues and concerns will be identified and connected with key related questions.

Issues and Concerns

1) Problems With the Evidence Project

As a student teacher we were taught that in order to prove that 2+3=5 we had also to prove that 5=2+3. Uncomfortably the prevailing colonising logic is of a 2+3=5 mentality located in the evidence based practice project. Seemingly every policy project has to be framed in this logic - including the whanau ora report.

The problem that I have with this is that outcomes are to be created out predefined evidence. Thus an evidence of 2 and an evidence of 3 it is hoped will create the outcome of 5. It is as if the "wicked problems" confronting whanau ora are to be "tamed" by reducing them to predetermined measurable factors.

Contrarily Whanau ora is grounded and can only be grounded in the logic of 5=2+3. A logic that always sees the outcome first and always keeps the outcome in view.

The focus is on the outcome - the outcome and once more the focus is on the outcome.

As Ward Churchill states "We have no moral prerogative to foreclose on any tactical option." Thus any appropriate means required to achieve the outcome becomes applicable. If that means do 'it' to achieve the outcome then 'it' shall


be done and the practitioner has the absolute discretion to do 'it'. Mind you as long as 'it' is legal and ethically defensible.

The intention is not to identify a problem and manage it by simply applying a rational intervention. We can no longer be constrained by anyone practice mode or model - every practice counts where the intention is to resolve difficulties and make it different.

It is accepted that the EBP project is almost a cultural norm. Even Paula Bennett when talking about further funding for teen parent education services speaks of the evidence base as a foundation for this specific project.

My concern is with the cultural dominance of this project. Undoubtedly Whanau ora projects and practice will have to somehow fit themselves into what are the prevailing notions of evidenced practice in order to be accepted. This is demonstrated by whanau ora projects that I am aware of which are attempting to comply with the constraints of 'social work registration' or other systems such as ISO 9000.

Please don't get me wrong - quality assurances are required particularly when taxpayers' money is at stake BUT the dominance of evidence based practice exposes projects to the danger of becoming imitations of those systems they are seeking to replace.

• How will this danger be combated or mitigated?

Further it can be contended that the EBP project has failed and is doomed to failure. Certainly the evidence of the last 20 years of intervention has demonstrated little impact upon whanau disparity. Indeed the evidence of my own experience indicates the situation we face today is as if not more critical than that which we faced 30 years ago which caused the introduction of Tu Tangata and its siblings.

These policies were not introduced within such an "an evidence based framework" - they stood on the evidence of the standing of those who proposed them and because things had to be different.

At a policy level I think there is some political acknowledgement of this reality. This has been particularly with the introduction of MBO and need to confront whanau ora at the sharpest end of our practice relationships. Here I am conscious of the work by the Victoria University - School of Government - Emerging Issues Project. Funny but the issues they appear to be dealing with are hardly emerging. What they do propose is the consideration of an alternative framework in which to consider how outcomes are produced and measured.

I understand that their thinking has penetrated aspects of the work within the Office of Community and Voluntary Sector. This has been in some of the policy thought and in some meetings that they have conducted. Unfortunately this branch of policy thinking does not seem to have penetrated much past the portals of Wellington or the academic policy environment. Or am I wrong!


This work has given consideration to the discussion of "relational and transformational practice", "wicked problems" and "communities of practice".

There is a body of first nations' scholarship which has been giving consideration to these themes.

In my estimation the discussion of how to build the Crown - whanau ora practice relationship in these perspectives have more potential or promise in achieving the outcome we probably all desire.

These two quotes seem helpful

"If people matter, it is not the task of professionals, much less of systems methodologists, to play the role of experts that "facilitate" discursive processes for them or even define what constitutes an "improvement" to them; their task is, rather, to put the people concerned in a situation of competence in which they can speak for themselves and engage themselves in participatory practice. "

"groups of people who share a concern, a set of problems, or a passion about a topic, and who deepen their knowledge and expertise in this area by interacting on an ongoing basis. They operate as social learning systems where practitioners connect to solve problems, share ideas, set standards, build tools, and develop relationships with peers and stakeholders."

These two notions seem to hold some promise particularly when coming to construct ground level operational social services response MORE so than what maybe the current canons of social work practice.

• How far have has the consideration other perspectives been taken?

• Has any consideration been given to how these perspectives maybe operationalised?

Realistically it will be unproductive to simply layer Maori knowledge over the prevailing logic of policy, management and operations. This is evident in how notions of kinship care and the FGC process have been colonised. Although Maori provision may now have achieved an economy of scale that mitigates this possibility the danger remains unless the underlying paradigm of policy and practice is challenged.

This begs the question: -

2) Just How "Real" is the Outcome of Whanau Self Management?

It was something that Minister Turia passionately exclaimed at the conclusion of her presentation in Whangarei - regarding the "industrialisation of whanau misery" which could question the reality of this outcome.


Maybe it is too late - given the commentary by Donna Mateheare, Catherine Love and others and the evidence of practice. Already whanau desolation is a major industry which is about to get even bigger with the building of new prisons and the like.

After all it is social work as one of the very professions upon which whanau ora depends for success that has been a significantly complicit in this process. Indeed it is social work that could be accused of undermining the precursor policies of whanau ora and of colonising and co-opting it for their own benefit.

So with all the social workers, psychologist and other professions out there waiting to swim in the whanau ora pond the question has to be asked

• Just how real is the outcome of whanau self management?

Just how are we going to un-make 30 plus plus years of whanau institutionalisation and dependence by continuing to make whanau yet again subjects of intervention albeit whanau ora?

Please don't get me wrong - undoubtedly there are significant projects currently in practice that maybe addressing this challenge - but the overall picture from my experience is not that rosy.

Unlike Australia and Canada we have not made any admission regarding our own institutionalisation swoops of the 60's and 70's. It was this institutionalisation which called precursor polices into operation BUT they were cut off before securing much admission or acceptance of this history. Certainly since then we seemingly have almost denied this past. We now seem to be reaping the desolation of institutionalisation through parents and grandchildren of this experience.

• Just how far are we prepared to go to confront and heal the challenges of our past?

We can keep on keeping social workers employed for ever and they can keep on pathologising whanau pain BUT the outcome is to make that different.

Are we going un-make whanau as "service users" and to really - really make them "clients" as we would regard ourselves as clients of say Rodney Wayne? Muck up our hair cuts and we will go to another provider. We will move our business elsewhere because that is the authority of our whanau.

Are self managing whanau going to have the ultimate authority of self management when it comes down to the sharpest end of things?

The whanau ora report seemingly is silent in just how far it envisages self managing whanau can go in order to confront and deal with their concerns. This is particularly if they were to deal with concerns that may challenge the power of professional state agencies and state sponsored agencies. It is also seemingly silent


on previous but still accepted reports such as Puao Te Ata Tu. It was this report which attempted to address this issue. In Recommendation two the idea of power and authority is discussed.

If a self managing whanau is a socio, political economic unit dare I say it a self governing institution which has the complete authority to intervene, act and manage any circumstance that confronts it.

Hence such a whanau can act to secure the safety of its children in need of protection. It can arrange the prosecution of its offenders or those who offend against it. No matter how deeply concerning the situation which confronts it the whanau always has the authority to act and to choose which agencies will be involved, to hold them accountable and to monitor their practice.

This authority maybe suggested in case law - Barton Prescott V D5W where the full bench of the high court proclaimed that whanau was protected within the meaning of Article 2.

In this event the whanau has authority to act in order to ensure its own well-being which is "equivalent" to the power of the Crown to act in order to achieve the same probable outcome.

Authority in this event exists only within the whanau and is not definable as 'power' within the agencies of the state. To do so is to un-define authority and to re-define it in terms that are not Maori. The best example of this maybe contained in the notion of whanau. Whanau is whanau and is not able to be really or exactly defined as family, or extended family or kin group. Although this terms sound similar in this event these two concepts are inter-operable.

Over the last few years I suspect that there has been an increasing mistrust of the notion of whanau in this context. AND the idea of and practice with whanau has been colonised in so called models of kinship centred practice. We are all doing it but the results are staying remarkably the same.

50 if the whanau is seen to be a damaged concept then practice is hardly likely to put it at the centre of practice first.

It is accepted that the capacity of whanau to exercise their authority has been damaged. It maybe viewed by some as being beyond repair. This is part of the pathologising process which maintains the status quo.

In whanau ora it must be accepted that every whanau has the capacity to exercise their own authority no matter how seemingly damaged. The trick in practice is the capacity of agencies when faced with a particular circumstance to always have the wisdom and skill to locate the authority within. This may require a cadre of specialist practitioners locate this in wider circle within a whanau.


The manner in which "power" and "authority" are exercised in action is not a matter of law but of practice. The foundations of such a practice are to be found in Matua Whangai.

• How far are we prepared to go in order to recognise and encourage the authority within whanau?

3) What Consideration will be given to the Impact of Statutory Operations and Practice?

As noted above my position is that whanau ora will only be achieved in confronting the sharpest end of whanau lived realities and how the well-being of whanau is restored from the bottom up.

It is here that the nature of social work operations and practice in its relationship with whanau is realised. Doubtless it can be demonstrated that social work has contributed the current position of whanau well-being. This is both for good and ill. The reality however is that these operations and practices have probably done as much damage as good.

This is probably made doubly harrowing when it is realised that whanau ora is supposedly a prescribed outcome of social work operations and practice. Indeed the whole 1989 Act was created for that purpose. Uncomfortably the reality has turned out somewhat different.

Doubtless it could be argued that the situation confronting social work operations and practice is today more critical than that which confronted us in the past. That there is a gap in reality which needs to be confronted at least with same vigour as that which created the 1989 Act.

On the other hand this might be politically avoided by invigorating the Maori provision of services to whanau to the degree that the need for social work intervention is reduced to a minimum. Reduced to such a minimum where the impacts of these are rendered ineffectual and whanau have the capacity of their own authority to confine these social workers impacts on their own well-being.

That would be a very optimistic strategy. Particularly given that the operations and practice of the Crown are still bound by statute and case law to ensure that what they do at the very least does not leave whanau worse off.

This begs a number of questions for the development of whanau ora.

• What is the standing of case law relating to the security of whanau within the meaning of Article 2?

• What consideration is being given to critically examining social work practice and it compliance with Treaty law/lore?

The whanau ora report and Te Whanau 0 Waipareira in their documentation allude to some of the tensions currently within social work practice that may need to be


addressed. These tensions are well represented in social work literature. Indeed there is also a wide body of social work, policy and operation literature which might contribute to "the fantastic opportunity for innovative and visionary work which will be required to achieve the objectives of whanau ora".

Much of this question lies in what or which and how the themes to be contained in this innovative work are to be sanctioned, elicited, supported or encouraged. A number of themes from the literature I am aware of challenge the evidence based project and are derived from a cultural foundation opposite to that project.

Themes such as those arising from "wicked problems", "communities of practice", "relational and transformational practice", "interoperability", "provocative strategies" and "the patch model" all seem to hold some promise in an innovative whanau ora environment. Although these are not predominantly themes from indigenous base it is interesting however how these have been included in first nations' thinking around their "whanau ora" policy, operations and practice concerns.

• Is there any consideration if any undertake an exploration of other knowledge themes and to incorporate there potential into practice?

The parallel consideration, although never mentioned directly in the whanau ora report, is a re-consideration and re-examination of previous policy, operations and practice themes. This is particularly the social movements of Tu Tangata and Matua Whangai and the report Puao Te Ata Tu which were implicitly and explicitly directed towards whanau ora. It seems odd that they have not been mentioned by name. Especially when reading between the lines of the report one could be forgiven in suggesting that whanau ora is an invigoration of all these past efforts.

Indeed some of the recommended structures and practice issues identified in the report seem to be direct but un-named expressions of the recommendations of Puao Te Ata Tu or the practice of Matua Whangai. The report alludes to the need to find leaders with the standing to lead social change and in the sensitive tasks of locating and mobilising the fractured authority within whanau. This is also of undertaking this task across the mixed lines of kinship, across the span of distance that separates whanau and in reconnecting those who have been lost. This is a very sensitive task which requires significant wisdom and leadership and to effective needs to be co-ordinated across the country. This task can not simply be left to individual agencies but agencies will need to identify and mandate a key worker in this role. This by any other name is MATUA WHANGAI.

• What if any consideration is being given to previous policy, operations and practice movements who ethos is firmly grounded in whanau ora?

4) Where Will the Balance of Whanau ora Policy Be Located?

Whanau ora is a comprehensive policy - almost to the point of being without limit. This because the well-being of whanau like in parallel with all humanity is without limit. But also whanau ora is not perse a new policy - certainly not in a social work


arena. It could be argued it is already policy and already is mandated so much so that it is surprising that we actually need a policy. The 1989 Act is supposed to be grounded in whanau centred practice indeed so much so that at the time all practice was to be matua whangai (whanau ora) practice. The fact that it hasn't turned out that way must surely challenge social workers particularly to ensure that this policy works. In fact it needs little more than commitment and the will to do it.

Maybe it has taken the critical position facing whanau well-being that has forced us into the consideration of a new policy. Certainly notwithstanding the situation facing whanau there has a significant growth in the provision of Maori services. However work for CYPS during the development of the Differential Response Model still clearly indicated that Maori provision did not equate to the quantum of nonMaori services compared to the caseload.

Hence with whanau ora it would seem that it is faced with a number of competing policy, operations and practice development strands which all would need to be held in dynamic balance.

Some of these appear to be: -

• a public health preventative approach which leavens current health initiatives to encompass a broader consideration of whanau.

• in the establishment of four demonstration case study organisations. These case studies stand as organisations which are significant enough in terms of scale through which whanau ora as an integrated service approach maybe demonstrated.

• in the establishment of specific funding for whanau ora initiatives. To gain a greater share for Maori services and hence improve capacity to delivery improved whanau ora outcomes. And possibly to cover what maybe gaps in other provision.

• in the development of regional or local co-ordination of services at a local level in order to improve efficiency of service deliver on the ground. This appears to have parallels in the recommendations of Puao Te Ata Tu.

• to challenge and develop training and up-skilling opportunities for services in order to achieve greater potential to create whanau ora outcomes.

• to implicitly challenge statutory operations and practice to improve their relationships with and delivery of whanau ora outcomes.

Doubtless other objectives could be elicited from the report BUT sufficed to say here that whanau ora is a broad policy which will doubtless need a mixture of priority settings and careful monitoring.


Here the issues of monitoring may well also become an issue particularly with the set up of local whanau ora representation and planning panels. I hope we can avoid a bun fight in local "communities". Already I perceive agencies are already seeing whanau ora through the wrong end of the telescope. What will it do to my funding? How come those guys have captured all the funding and we have been left out?

The challenge for these panels must surely be to visualise the outcome together first and then stocktake their resources of money and people in order to collectively achieve. Hopefully the panel process doesn't dissolve into cheap shots and infighting. Hopefully some consideration maybe given to how reconciliatory leadership is engaged if needed.

• What are the key priorities for whanau ora policy implementation?

• How will tensions within the development of whanau ora be resolved?

Whanau ora like other similar policies arise both because of prevailing circumstances and from having a leader at that time in order to champion the policy through the political process. Undoubtedly in the current environment about half the government caucus probably is opposed to or at a minimum not particularly supportive of whanau ora. They are either from the "lock em up and throwaway the key" position or "those Maoris already get too much and what about the Chinese". I suspect that there is strength in the argument that "whatever has been done up until now hasn't worked too well - so give us a go and we might well do better given that we have the greatest vested interest in things being different". This argument might have some political traction presently but pressure will mount as the professions find their 'power' being reduced. This is what happened with Matua Whangai - it would have made professional social workers more accountable to whanau or redundant.

So it seems to me that there are several strands of consideration here if whanau ora is to survive as policy beyond Minister Turia's term or even National's term of government. The aim must surely to be to embed whanau ora into the sociopolitical landscape or at least a non-negotiable minimum. Here no doubt we will have to confront arguments about needs and rights of so called "race based" funding and that whanau ora should be multi-cultural. To me whanau ora is also about mobilising two perspectives of a problem both of which are guaranteed their place in how we confront "problems" in our society. Hence it is not just an argument about resources but also about knowledge and how knowledge shapes practices. To me from my observation Maori could have just as much interest as non-Maori in what concerns and issues may arise for example Chinese families. This is not just for the impacts that community may have on Maori but also for the children born of relationships between cultures. So in order to create whanau ora for children of these relationships both Maori and Chinese ways of being have to be included. After all they are our grandchildren.

Here the embedded notion of shared space of knowledge practice will continue beyond needs and rights into the ongoing practical reality of how mutual impacts


are resolved. Whanau ora won't remove life's challenges but it does give whanau in relationship within themselves and with others the authority to confront and resolve these challenges.

At the moment I suspect we could suspend the debate about rights or needs because the over-represented position of Maori supports a self evident position for whanau ora. Eventually however a better argument maybe needed to sustain whanau ora in an equivalent position in relationship to non-Maori. Here demonstrably the logic of arithmetic proves that two heads are always better than one even if the Treaty argument is not able to be suasive.

The concern may also arise from what happens once the Minister Turia retires. understand that she was considering stepping down next term. Also John Key is not going to be P.M. forever. Either he moves on or Labour comes back into office. Although as officials the task is to serve the government and minister of the day which may seem to limit the development of whanau ora policy to the current regime. BUT the need of whanau to be better served by the Crown and its servants continues beyond these horizons. Whanau will endure and will continue the struggle for survival no matter what - but somehow it's just got to be easier when services that are set up to assist actually do assist rather than perpetuate the situation to keep themselves in business.

• What arguments are being developed in order to secure whanau ora policy beyond the term of this parliament?

5) Wi II or How Wi II Whanau Ora Practice Be Developed?

Whanau ora policy must surely challenge all practice regardless of whether anyone practice or operation of practice can be held as being effective. I would go so far as to suggest that all practitioners no matter how competent they may judge themselves to be need to critically review their work. This is particularly in my view for the four case study organisations which maybe held up as exemplars of the policy in operation. Whilst they may all have their particular strengths in this regard it will be important for them to look again as their blind spots or where they may leaven their efforts further to achieve desired outcomes.

The whanau ora report alludes to the issues of training and capacity building although does not seem to have any great detail on what and how this will be accomplished. In order to do this I believe there is a need to engage in a wider discussion of what whanau ora practice maybe in its relationship with self managing whanau. In social work for instance there does not seem to be any discussion or conceptualisation of an internal practice. Social work as it is taught educates its students to see themselves as eventually becoming employees of an agency. Nowhere and I maybe wrong is the proposition being taught that a social work student develops their practice solely within their own whanau. That they say get a job as a taxi driver so that they can be a better member of their whanau and contribute their competence directly within. Certainly if we are committed to internal self management of whanau it would seem appropriate to internally upskill and develop the human resources within.


This would take a significant paradigm shift in the notions of what is professional practice because these "workers" would not be necessarily employed as social workers of an agency. Their roles would be determined by their own whanau and the economic resource to employ their action comes from within. So as the taxi driver being self employed this "worker" may for example so arrange their time to be available when they are required.

This also begs questions for any practitioner who is employed to deliver whanau ora services through an agency. First it may challenge them as to how the internal practice within their own whanau is being developed in order to confront their own well-being. Have they identified in their own whanau what needs to be done to achieve whanau ora outcomes for themselves? Hence by being able to recognise such an internal practice for oneself may enhance a practitioner's ability to recognise this practice within the whanau they provide services to. This however can not be assumed as my own experience indicates that the agency "service user" paradigm is deeply embedded. I've seen practitioners who practice an internal authority within their own whanau completely bypass the investigation of this within whanau they are dealing with as "service users". The agency paradigm so keeps us locked into servicing the urgency of the current circumstance that we miss or don't have the resource close to us which reminds us of how to locate this internal practice.

None of this discussion is aimed at minimising the delivery of good practice which confronts a current circumstance. BUT we I suggest have to leaven (kinaki) practice to bring this to another level in its relationship with and to cause self managing whanau.

This begs a number of questions for the current operation and for the longer term development of whanau ora policy.

The first constellation of these questions relate to current operations.

• Has there been any consideration of how the internal practice of a self managing whanau is articulated so that education maybe developed for their needs?

• Has any consideration been given to how whanau ora agencies support their practitioners realise their own whanau self management and their part in achieving this for their own whanau?

• Has any consideration been given to providing in house training support to whanau ora agencies to achieve a next level of practice?

Given these issues will also beg some questions of the management of whanau ora practice within an agency. Whilst the primary practice focus of a diabetes nurse is to provide a good service and have good practice relationships which are leavened by a wider view of whanau well-being, it must be acknowledged that such a practitioner can not cover every circumstance that may confront a whanau. In this


event this nurse practitioner will need access to a wider body of practice both within the agency and within the whanau. In this event it is suggested that the discussion of communities of practice becomes germane.

This also raises questions of maintaining a balance between the two very prominent bodies of practice of health and social services. This could include as discussion of a balance between preventative or early intervention of say a public health approach and the more reactive approaches to confront circumstances of harm or risk. This also begs questions of say health approaches where whanau are more likely to have chosen to seek a service and social service approaches where whanau are more likely to have been compelled and not to have chosen to seek a service. This also begs questions of the practice relationship between these approaches where concerns are identified in either domain which require the application of both.

Whilst it might seem attractive to place more resources into say a public health approach at the expense of the harder or 'dirtier' social services work I believe it is imperative that an effective balance between these approaches is maintained. Also that, whanau ora agencies can demonstrate and review this balance. Doubtless this balance may vary from within local areas. This will also be probably a topic for local strategic whanau ora decision making.

• What consideration has been given to understanding and applying the notion of communities of practice in the development of whanau ora?

• What consideration has been given to supporting whanau ora agencies achieve an optimum balance between different approaches in achieving their whanau ora outcomes?

Undoubtedly there is much work to be done developing whanau ora policy and its delivery in the present but much of its ability to be enduring will come in the continuing education of practitioners - both internally within whanau and externally within employees of agencies. Here presumably the various educational institutions who educate and train practitioners will need to ensure that whanau ora practice perspectives are evident within their curriculum. Given the preponderance of the evidenced based practice project and the current drive for "professionalization" particularly in social work will undoubtedly beg questions of how whanau ora practice scholarship long term is developed and then disseminated into and reflected in the education and training of practitioners.

Undoubtedly and quite rightly work from outside New Zealand is treated with some susprcion. However indigenous and first nation's scholarship, practice and operations I suspect are confronting similar concerns in their development of "whanau ora" within their own lived experiences. Indeed their experience in devolving services which are contracted from governments whilst retain their own distinct cultural ethos may provide some insights of benefit to our own situation. Or indeed there may also be things we are doing which are of benefit to them.


• What consideration has been given to influencing and developing whanau ora practice within current practitioner scholarship or education?

• What consideration has been given to the relationship with other indigenous or first nation's scholarship or practice related to whanau ora?

6) Considering the Problem of Dislocation and Distance?

The whanau ora report justifiably acknowledges the degree of inter-marriage within whanau. This is both within whanau of different locations, within whanau who have translocated to different regions and with other cultural kinship identities. It also acknowledges that sometimes this translocation and intermarriage gives rise to and form the basis of concern for the well-being of such whanau to be self managing. In my experience it is these very issues that provide the cause for intervention by social workers. It is intervention in these situations which where the circumstances of the moment obscure the ability to identify and mobilise the authority within whanau. Also these circumstances may also be obscured by significant levels of discomfort and tension between whanau and other kinship groups. Unravelling these often contentious situations requires significant practice skill not only to deal with the circumstances of the moment BUT more importantly of reconciling and mobilising the authority with whanau and others to ensure the ongoing well-being of the whanau and all its members.

The vagaries of this are not just within the home locality of a whanau but also across the distance that a whanau maybe dispersed. This also may include the underlying stories of how that whanau was dispersed and how its interpersonal relationships with others have arisen. It is one thing to provide in the present a sensitive service to a whanau dealing with unpleasant situations BUT quite another to unravel and reweave these situations to secure the long term well-being of a whanau in all the complexions of its relationships. Here it may need a nationally networked cadre of specialised practitioners to guard and facilitate whanau ora practice in these situations. This is particularly if these situations are complex or require a significant application of cultural wisdom. This situation was what confronted the precursor policy, operations and practice of what was known as Matua Whangai.

• Has consideration been given to how a specialised cultural leadership is mobilised in operation?

In mobilising such a network of cultural wisdom will also leaven the possibility of how whanau themselves are mobilised to manage situations which confront them. This could come in two ways. Firstly as a member of a whanau who becomes aware of a situation of concern within where an exercise of whanau authority maybe needed. This could be across the distance that a whanau is spread. Here this cultural wisdom may guide and protect their actions and any of the practice relationships with agencies who are seeking to intervene within the whanau. Secondly any practitioner who in seeking to identify and mobilise whanau across such distances may access this cultural wisdom or indeed these cultural leadership


practitioners may use their own mandate to assist mobilising whanau in these circumstances.

Regardless of circumstance this application of cultural leadership functions to mobilise whanau. Although their activity maybe more specifically tied to particular circumstances nonetheless their actions increase the momentum of whanau to mobilise. Here the long term intention doubtless will be to ensure that whanau are able to mobilise themselves without this being dependent upon a situation which causes them to act. It is accepted that the crisis maybe the spark but this spark needs to be sustained. It is here that questions of how whanau mobilisation is maintained. The report alludes to the development of different modes of communication which enhance this movement but this begs the questions of how this is enhanced. Undoubtedly members within whanau will need to be encouraged and have access to the means and how to apply these communication methods effectively.

• What consideration has been given to how communication methods are mobilised within whanau and how whanau are supported to apply these methods?

• Has any consideration been given to the notion that whanau ora is a social movement and that social movement practices be integrated into whanau ora delivery?

7) Conclusions

It is accepted that these are my views and maybe I am not privy to all the intimate detail of whanau ora policy development across the country. So I accept that I maybe proven wrong BUT the evidence of my own practice and those around me leaves me in little doubt that we are facing some serious challenges. Controversially we may need to confront what is some of the prevailing canons of current professional pedagogy particularly in social work. Although we have prided ourselves that this pedagogy of kin ship centred practice is the norm the reality for whanau I suggest is all too often alarmingly different.

Probably there is as much work to do behind the scenes securing fundamental knowledge of whanau ora as there is in dealing with the day to day contingencies of practice. However there seems to me that there is a real need to better and consistently link the production of knowledge and practice so that practice drives theory. So that practitioners are not just passive recipients of knowledge production imposed upon them which confines them to sets of pre-approved practices or interventions. It would seem we have to turn the whole manner in which we have done things upside down and put practice at the centre. This is so that the producers of the actual outcomes (practitioners) are directly in relationship with the production of knowledge in practice.

Also that the continuum of past experience derived from previous efforts to realise whanau ora in operation is mobilised. That they are mobilised before many of those practitioners pass on or in having become so disillusioned that they no longer


feel safe to share their experiences. That in mobilising this experience this is also leavened by bringing new knowledge into the discussion with their experience and applying it together in the present. Most importantly it will be these practitioners who may form the foundation of the cadre of cultural wisdom and leadership required for this task.

Turning the delivery of whanau ora on its head is a high risk strategy because it questions the prevailing regimes of command and control. It puts the power and authority for action back in the hands of practitioners both within agencies and within whanau. This will no doubt sit uncomfortably with the procedures of command and control that have been put in place to ensure compliance and to manage risks in situations where whanau ora practice has to intervene. Here practitioners will have to take risks and doubtless need to challenge the rules of their practice. In this event quality assurance can no longer be simply reliant upon procedures. In this event this assurance becomes more reliant upon joint team practice and upon shared ethical commitments. Here it maybe noted that there are probably three whanau ora inspired ethical or practice principled frameworks. These frameworks no doubt will need to inspire whanau ora practitioners and to be demonstrated in policy, operations and management. It is how we collectively hold each other to account for our practices against these frameworks which will produce the outcomes of whanau ora and whanau self management.

With this contribution I look forward how we may respond to these challenges. This is to respond to these challenges so that whanau ora is realised in our life time.


Kim Murphy-Stewart Partner

Possible Partnership


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