Oraka Ararau: Inaugural National Māori Alcohol and Other Drug Hui

On 1–2 May 2023, kaimahi and whānau Māori came together to whakawhanaunga and kōrero about AOD challenges at Oraka Ararau National Māori AOD Hui, hosted by Te Arawa in Rotorua.

This year’s hui shined a spotlight on all the levers that contribute to AOD harm for Māori and identified solutions to reduce harm in hapori Māori. The two-day programme included a variety of expert kaikōrero Māori and opportunities for participants to whakawhanaunga and discuss their own whakaaro. The hui began with a journey of the whakapapa of AOD for Māori with kōrero contributions from kaimahi who have worked in this space for many years. It then moved into current mahi that is happening today and finished by discussing the future steps needed to make real change for whānau Māori who are experiencing AOD challenges.

The feedback received through the evaluation, as well as the discussions and conversations that took place during and after the hui, was extremely positive and supportive. Te Rau Ora and Whare Tukutuku are committed to maintaining the essence of Oraka Ararau as a Māori-led event, specifically designed for and by Māori. The anticipation is high as Ngāti Hine will be hosting the hui in 2024, and Whare Tukutuku look forward to collaborating with Ngāti Hine to ensure the next Oraka Ararau hui is a success.

A big mihi to all the whānau that attended!

Call to Action

During the hui, Te Roopu Whakahaere o Whare Tukutuku presented a ‘call to action’, a list of 12 recommendations to the Government to start real progress in improving alcohol and other drug care for hapori Māori. Whānau were also asked to sign up to add their name to the call to action.

The recommendations are:

  1. Work with Māori to develop an addiction action plan using a health-based approach with
    an intersectoral response that is Māori managed and driven.
  2. Allocate 50 per cent of all the proceeds of crime money to Māori specifically to address
    methamphetamine and other drug harm among Māori.
  3. Undertake a review of court sentences for Māori to address the systemic sentencing
    prejudices that results in heavier sentencing penalties and higher incarceration rates of
  4. Urgently address the current poverty and housing crises being experienced
    predominantly by whānau Māori.
  5. Stop building more prisons/custodial institutions to house people with addiction – you
    cannot get well in a prison. Invest in more community focused care options.
  6. Address the lack of resources for alcohol and other drug services, including the number
    available, location, staffing capacity, and salaries. By ensuring that the funding of Māori
    services is commensurate with the higher levels of AOD related harm experienced by
    Māori individuals, whānau and hapori.
  7. Shift Māori service contracts to multi-year agreements (e.g., 3-5 year rather than one-year
    contracts), and ensure new contract specifications are built on high trust and are
    flexible enough to enable Māori to work in a Māori way that better supports whānau and
  8. Ensure procurement processes for funding is equitable for Māori including the ability to
    tender for current non-Māori provider service delivery across the health sector (e.g., non-
    Māori NGO providers and Health NZ led AOD service contracts).
  9. Make an explicit commitment to not suspending, excluding, or expelling any more
    tamariki from education/school because of AOD use.
  10. Invest in the establishment of more Māori providers and work with them to eliminate wait
    times for whānau to have easy and quick access to treatment services and other care
  11. Urgently work with Māori to rewrite the obsolete Misuse of Drugs Act 1975.
  12. Address cultural trauma by implementing strategies that reduce colonial and systemic
    racism that impacts on Māori.

To join the call to action, click here and fill in the details.

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