June 29, 2016
Congratulations to Te Puea
Congratulations to Te Puea
WILLIE JACKSON OPINION
There is no doubt that Te Puea Marae has embarrassed the government with their magnificent work for the homeless. This is a marae with few resources deciding that they would just get stuck in, they asked for no money from government or from their billion dollar Tainui tribe. All they have been given is ten thousand dollars from Te Puni Kokiri and donations from the community.
Te Puea deserves so much credit for their effort particularly their chairman Hurimoana Dennis. Huri’s leadership of this kaupapa has been exemplary which hasn’t surprised me at all. He has worked in our community for a number of years now and works closely with me at MUMA and on our Marae at NWW where he has gained our respect. Huri has done this all in his capacity as a policeman which is no mean feat, policemen have not exactly the greatest reputations in South Auckland and with Maori. However, Huri has rolled out the Maori strategy with his boss superintendent Wally Haumaha in South Auckland and around the country and has won the trust of Maori everywhere.
That’s why I’m disappointed that the police leadership have continued with their suspension of him that was shamefully highlighted to the media by the minister of housing Paula Bennett’s office. Huri had been up front to everyone about his suspension so it is no big deal to Te Puea trustees and any of us in the community however it was obvious that the minister’s office was trying to taint Huri’s reputation.
As we know it all backfired on the leaker in Bennet’s office and that person was lucky to keep their job but it was a reminder of how political Te Puea’s work is. When you embarrass governments as Te Puea has with its work for the homeless you become a target and vulnerable. That is my real worry with Te Puea, here we have a Marae with no political agenda step in and do the governments work in terms of the homeless. Then you have government officials who initially try to taint the chairman’s reputation then when that fails try their best to lever off the great work.
Finding a home for the young cancer victim is your most recent example of that, this young woman owes everything to Te Puea for finding her a home and giving her an opportunity. And wasn’t it amazing how suddenly MSD was able to find a solution to this woman’s predicament after Te Puea highlighted her misery. MSD ignored this woman’s plight until they came under the media spotlight but happily tried take credit alongside Te Puea when she got her home. Not that this would bother Huri and the team who continue with their wonderful work for our community in South Auckland.
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