Guiding star sets new path for elimination of family violence and sexual violence

  • Hon Marama Davidson

Today the Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Minister for the Prevention of Family Violence Marama Davidson joined tangata whenua and sector representatives to launch Te Aorerekura, the country’s first National Strategy to Eliminate Family Violence and Sexual Violence.

“Te Aorerekura sets a collective ambition to create peaceful homes where children, families and whānau thrive; to enable safe communities where all people are respected, and support the wellbeing of our nation,” Marama Davidson said.

“The Strategy and Action Plan represent an evolution in our journey to address violence in our homes and communities. This is an important step towards ensuring the wellbeing of all people.”

“Te Aorerekura is a 25-year Strategy focused on the wellbeing of all people in Aotearoa, recognising that a range of social conditions contribute to family violence and sexual violence. Te Aorerekura builds on the significant work already underway across government, tangata whenua, and communities, to create a shared view of where we have got to, what needs to be done differently and what more is required.

“The Action Plan sets out the specific streams of work that will be prioritised and who will be responsible for them. Government agencies are tasked with leading actions that require government changes and we expect everyone to be focused on how they need to work differently across government and with communities, to give effect to the Strategy.

“Te Aorerekura sets us on an intergenerational journey towards wellbeing. This work is the result of significant public engagement and reflects the kōrero we’ve had with people all over the motu. A key message from that engagement is that tangata whenua, the sectors and communities must be supported to lead and develop new ways of working.

“Te Aorerekura sets out the principles that will guide how people work and the shifts that will move us toward: strength-based wellbeing; mobilising communities; skilled, culturally competent and sustainable workforces; investment in primary prevention; safe, accessible and integrated responses; increased capacity for healing; and learning and monitoring.

“This is an opportunity for all people to come together to create a stronger and more peaceful society. Over time, we will achieve change by working together: government, tangata whenua, the sectors and communities across Aotearoa. This will involve us holding each other to account, so we can deliver meaningful change.

“Te Aorerekura helps give effect to Te Tiriti by continuing to build relationships between Māori and the Crown, enabling Māori to have more of a role in their own wellbeing and working to strengthen protective factors and achieve equitable outcomes.

“We need to address the intergenerational impacts of colonisation and racism in order for us to eliminate violence. Violence that impacts whānau is rooted in the marginalisation of tangata whenua and societal changes enforced during the colonisation of Aotearoa. There are solutions within the promotion and strengthening of whānau ora that require a focus on healing, restoration, redress and a return to a state of noa – being without limitations.

“Today, we are also announcing that Cabinet has agreed to establish a Tangata Whenua Advisory Group to provide independent advice and guidance to me as Minister on family violence and sexual violence. This governance input is a crucial improvement to the system and will ensure that te ao Māori informs our implementation of the Strategy.

“Te Aorerekura and the Action Plan will play a central role in guiding how we work together to achieve change. Over time, we expect to see changes that mean:

  • Children and young people understand healthy relationships, how to seek help, and can access tailored services.
  • Participants in the Justice system are safe, supported and do not experience further harm.
  • Individuals and whānau are supported to heal and overcome the trauma of violence.
  • Tangata whenua, Pacific peoples, ethnic communities, LGBTQIA+ communities, older people, male survivors and disabled communities can access safe, tailored services.
  • Women, wāhine Māori and trans women impacted by violence can access safe, integrated, trauma informed and inclusive responses to provide protection and support wellbeing.
  • Those that use violence are accountable and supported to change and address past trauma.
  • There is reduced tolerance for violence and inequity across Aotearoa New Zealand.
  • Families, whānau and communities take action to prevent family violence and sexual violence.

“The new approach will mean trying things we have not done before. We all need to be open to learning new ways of working, and, crucially, being fully aware and accepting of the fact that not everything will work at first. We have not yet managed to eliminate family violence and sexual violence, so we have to try different approaches and the safety and wellbeing of people, whānau, children and young people impacted by violence will always be at the center of what we do.

Agencies are working on an investment and implementation plan, which will include continuing to engage with communities to keep building the relationships needed for effective implementation, through a series of hui in 2022.

Te Aorerekura is available at violencefree.govt.nz

*The name for the Strategy- “Te Aorerekura”- was developed by the Tāngata Whenua Rōpū. According to Māori lore, Aorere comes from a cluster of stars that navigates humankind to gain knowledge and comprehension. Aorere is responsible for ensuring the safe journey of her whānau as they travel across the celestial skies. Aorere is intrinsically connected to whatumanawa (supreme subconscious), pūmanawa (intuition) and manawa (heart). Aorere transmits healing energy through the whatumanawa to restore balance and harmony to all aspects of a person’s toiora. Te Aorerekura weaves wairua into the fabric and foundations of the Strategy. To be successful, the implementation of the Strategy and actions must align with the tikanga of Te Aorerekura:

  • Affirm that people impacted by family violence and/or sexual violence are not alone. People are connected to and sustained by the aroha of their ancestors, whānau, and communities.
  • Provide a beacon of hope to the people and communities who want and need it most. It is an enduring call to protect the inner spirit and to nurture and grow the potential inside every person.
  • Provide the guiding light, energy and knowledge every person impacted by violence will need on their personal journey

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