31 May 2012

Rugby club justifies Whanau Ora grant

11:19 am on 31 May 2012

Rahui Rugby and Sports Club in Otaki is defending its use of a Whanau Ora grant which is facing political criticism.

For two days running New Zealand First leader Winston Peters has attacked the funding during Question Time in Parliament.

But the club says it's justified in receiving the $60,000.

President Rex Kerr says the money was used to secure the right to host a Heartland Cup game between Ngati Porou-East Coast and Horowhenua-Kapiti.

Alongside that game a special Maori rugby festival was run to capitalise on the Rugby World Cup visitors, and celebrated all things Maori.

He says many Maori groups were there, as well as organisations who promoted healthy living, budgeting, and the campaign against family violence.

Mr Kerr says people were also able to receive a free health check during the event.

He says the money was also used to fund research, which looked at how whanau work together, their involvement in sport, and their interaction in community.

The study was carried out by Te Wananga o Raukawa, the Maori tertiary provider in Otaki.

The money was made available through the Whanau Innovation, Integration and Engagement Fund.

Claim Peters fails to understand concept

Whanau Ora Minister Tariana Turia says New Zealand First leader Winston Peters has not grasped what the new social welfare initiative is aiming to achieve.

She says Mr Peters has failed to understand the concept of Whanau Ora and the importance of transforming families' attitudes and behaviours to do what is best for themselves.

Mrs Turia says he misses the point completely, but she thinks it's pretty sad that Mr Peters continues to pick at a programme that has such huge potential for Maori and Pacific families.

Mrs Turia says Te Puni Kokiri, the Ministry of Maori Development, has told her the rugby club has met all the criteria in the Whanau Ora funding agreement.

Whanau Ora was set up to gives whanau hope and responsibility, by channelling support and welfare services through the extended family.