Kotahi anō te kaupapa: ko te oranga o te iwi.
There is only one purpose to our work: the wellness and wellbeing of people.
I am delighted to provide the foreword for the Department of Corrections’ (Ara Poutama Aotearoa) first Disability Action Plan.
It is built on the voices and feedback from tāngata whaikaha Māori/disabled people and their whānau reflecting our commitment to “Nothing about us without us”.
We need to ensure that tāngata whaikaha Māori/disabled people have the capacity to access services, engage in society and lead meaningful lives.
This plan acknowledges the need to ensure that tāngata whaikaha Māori/disabled people managed by Ara Poutama Aotearoa have a culturally safe environment. It establishes priority areas of action for achieving aspirations and reducing barriers that may impede tāngata whaikaha Māori/disabled people and their whānau, from achieving better outcomes.
Whilst this plan has an immediate focus on people in our management, Ara Poutama Aotearoa’s goal is to ensure our workforce is more diverse, and inclusive of those who experience disability. A staff Disability Action Plan will be developed to address this, which will give a more holistic approach to addressing disability matters across our organisation.
The Disability Action Plan has been developed with reference to the Waitangi Tribunal in the Hauora Inquiry, which identified the need to enable and support self-determination and mana motuhake in the design, delivery, and monitoring of health and disability services. We have also used the social model of disability, which emphasises independence and operates from a strength-based approach to support the plan’s development.
This plan also reflects our responsibility and commitment to supporting the relationship between Māori and the Crown, Te Tiriti o Waitangi/the Treaty of Waitangi (Te Tiriti), the aspirations of Hōkai Rangi, and the voices of the disability sector and tāngata whaikaha Māori/disabled people.
It emphasises independence and operates from a strength-based approach. It is the start of our response to address the inequities experienced by tāngata whaikaha Māori/disabled people.
Dr. Juanita Ryan
Deputy Chief Executive – Health
We wish to thank those tāngata whaikaha Māori/disabled people with lived experiences of prison, and their whānau, whose voice supported the formation of this Disability Action Plan.
Without their input our plan would have been a plant without roots, unconnected to the earth and land which it needs to be nurtured to grow.
The encouragement, input and enthusiasm received from our external stakeholders, including other government agencies is also acknowledged.