"My culture is fine. How is yours?" This was one of the resonating statements from keynote speaker Dr Elana Taipapaki Curtis at Tū Tira, the second annual Kaupapa Māori Health Symposium, at Semenoff Stadium in Whangarei on Friday, 27 November.
Tū Tira (meaning Stand Together) is a professional development opportunity where Kaimahi Māori can come together to share aspirations, achievements, successes and build on current capabilities. The annual Symposium planned and delivered by Tū Tira (formerly known as the Kaimahi Māori Core Network) was supported and sponsored by Te Poutokomanawa, Māori Health Directorate.
This year's programme of presenters and breakout sessions aimed to build on the success of last year's inaugural event. Tū Tira's focus on building the capability of our Māori workforce was reinforced by this year's theme "Home Grown" and reflected in the programme which celebrated and shared the skills, knowledge and achievements of some of Northland DHB's Kaimahi Māori in the four breakout sessions. The Symposium showcased the work of community and patient facing Kaimahi to those in management and governance roles on the day.
Charismatic entertainer and MC, Pio Terei, returned once again to host the Symposium with his unique brand of "Homegrown" familiarity, whānaungātanga and humour. Northland DHB, chief executive, Dr Nick Chamberlain, began the day by acknowledging the sad passing of our former General Manager Māori Health, Harold Wereta. He highlighted equity and Te Tiriti as a primary focus for our organisation and discussed the challenges and changes within the health system. Dr Chamberlain's goal is to ensure the DHB's Māori workforce increases at all levels.
The impressive line-up of Kaikorero (keynote speakers) included Dr Curtis, who is a public health physician currently working as the Associate Professor at Te Kupenga Hauora Māori at the Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences at Auckland University. Along with Māori health and physical education consultant Dr Ihirangi Heke and Ngāpuhi midwife Nicole Pihema, the first Māori President of The New Zealand College of Midwives.
Event co-leaders Tracey Cornell & Viv Beazley say the kaupapa Māori event is important as it recognises the organisation's commitment to Te Tiriti. It builds on the organisation's cultural capacity and acknowledges Kaimahi Māori are essential to improving health outcomes within our rohe.
For the first time, the Symposium was available via webinar, both in real-time and recorded. The webinar option through zoom meant the Symposium was accessible to and inclusive of, all Northland DHB staff. Kaimahi Māori who participated in person or via webinar will be credited towards their professional development.