Signing of Te Hiku Social Accord
A new Social Development Accord was signed by three Te Hiku Iwi and the Crown in Waitangi on the 5th February 2013 as part of an innovative approach to Iwi Treaty Settlements in the Far North.
Social indicators that describe wellbeing have consistently lagged far behind the rest of the country. Northland, and particularly for Māori within the region, live with these negative statistics every day. The Accord is a strategic collaboration between the Iwi and Crown agencies which will help to align their objectives and achieve improved social outcomes for the whānau and communities within the region.
Alongside a number of other Treaty Settlement initiatives which Far North Iwi will collectively and cooperatively work together on, the Social Development Accord will be administered by a new Te Hiku Development Trust.
Chairperson for the Trust at the time, Haami Piripi said that the Accord is focussed on improving the lives and wellbeing of Te Hiku people. "The Crown recognises the existence of disparities in social outcomes for Northland. Our people are having to deal with some really difficult issues. Finding work when there's few jobs is hard enough but we're also faced with poor housing, Māori not achieving highly enough in education, an alarmingly high suicide rate and a number of other safety concerns for our tamariki and whānau that need solutions. Iwi want to work with providers, Crown departments and Ministers to address these problems and make positive changes in the lives of our people.
The Accord will empower the Iwi of Te Hiku by aligning Government priorities and policies; and improving the efficiencies and effectiveness of Iwi and regional social service agencies, to ensure they are all meeting agreed strategic priorities for the Far North. "Putting the arrangements in place with key senior Government officials to improve the social outcomes within the region will be a major challenge, but it will also provide some exciting opportunities. The Accord is a tool to move away from a social service delivery approach to a focus on meeting the social development needs of the region," says Piripi.
"Iwi want to sit alongside the Crown to identify problems, develop solutions and make decisions about ways that the two partners can improve the lives of our people. The Social Development Accord represents a milestone in Government - Iwi relationships and provides a roadmap for implementing the intent of Te Tiriti o Waitangi as it was agreed by our forebears both Māori and Pakeha," he adds.
The Accord allows for regular negotiations between the Crown and Te Hiku Iwi of mutually agreed social priorities and outcomes for the Far North. These agreements will be advanced by Ministers, including the Prime Minister and the Chief Executive Officers of 32 Departments and Ministries within the New Zealand Public Sector.