Te Rūnanga o Ngā Toa Āwhina KUIA GEORGINA KERR supports the assessment of Progressive Thinking authors Dr Amohia Boulton and Deb Te Kawa that the overall Māori response to the initial Covid crisis was exceptionally well done.
She says she felt well-looked after herself during the Covid lockdown.
“We got regular phone calls from Whānau Ora Navigators. It worked really well. I know lots of kaumātua felt the same way.”
She says another example of this were the roadblocks which helped to keep communities safe in the rohe of Ngāti Porou where Whaea Georgina comes from, and other regions around the country.
NEED FOR CHANGE
Georgina agrees there needs to be a more whānau-led approach to public service policy making and delivery.
“The old way of central Government going out to communities to seek advice has to change.”
She supports the requirement for public service officials to meet core competencies including “understanding our history”.
“The whole mindset has to change. We have an amazing group of rangatahi in our Rūnanga who have different expectations to what we did.
“They have a clear idea about what sort of competencies they require from others so they feel good in the workplace.”
Whaea Georgina recently attended the Oranga Tamariki Waitangi Tribunal hearing, where she says she heard examples of a lack of cultural understanding.
She says inequities in funding and resources for Māori providers also need to be addressed, while there is a wide gap between government policy and delivery by providers.
“The overarching message from providers and witnesses at the hearing is that the system is broken, and that children and whānau are suffering as a result.”
Georgina says the union has a role to play in supporting change in public and community services.
“The challenge for us is how do we have these conversations, and work with our members to come up with solutions.”
She says the union also needs to consider how it can support Māori and other vulnerable groups in the workforce who will be hard-hit by Covid-19.
PSA Pasefika union members have been voicing their support for the Pasefika community during the latest Covid outbreak.