Practitoners’ Fono to strengthen connections

The two-day National Pacific Practitioners’ Fono aimed to strengthen connections for practitioners working in the areas of family violence and/or sexual violence, has been held in Auckland.

Billed as being “by practitioners, for practitioners”, the main focus of the Fono was to strengthen connections among Pacific practitioners and create a shared understanding of Te Aorerekura - National Strategy to Eliminate Family and Sexual Violence. 

One of the first speakers at the Fono was Emma Powell, Chief Executive of Te Puna Aonui, who told the participants she was happy to be back in South Auckland where her career had started. 

Back then she was a speech and language therapist, a job she had taken to help change the lives of people and try to heal through communication. 

‘’As I have journeyed through my career, I am now in a space where I can heal through fixing broken systems instead of broken lives,’’ she said. 

‘’Systemic change must happen to enable the change that you are striving for every single day in the communities you serve. I want to recognise and celebrate the work that we do, and importantly, the practitioners’ committee which drives and strives to bring us together.’’ 

Emma said the conference meant coming together, standing shoulder-to-shoulder and working through solutions, going deeper into the challenges. 

‘’I can’t guarantee that (change) will happen quickly, but it absolutely will happen. We have a 25-year strategy, it’s pretty rare in Government to have a 25-year commitment to something, and it means that we can go forth and do the things that are right and not just the things that are quick,’’ she said. 

The next stage, following the Fono, was to take the message out into the regions and start a ‘’groundswell of activity’’, and she was really looking forward to see how that transpired. 

‘’We need to make sure we know if we have an impact or not. Too often we don’t invest enough into evaluating and telling our stories,’’ Emma said. 

‘’I know that the system has not worked for many and has perpetuated further trauma, and that is not good enough. We need to acknowledge that, and we need to be better at how we understand those harms because it is all part of the healing.’’ 

She said everything that was done at the Fono and in the day-to-day work carried out by practitioners, set them up beautifully for the future, because it was community-led.

‘’We (Te Puna Aonui ) are here to blow the wind in the sails of others to achieve fabulous outcomes, so for us it is about working out what role we play and working out how we do that. We also need to ensure the Government gets its role right,’’ she said. 

The following information is from the National Pacific Practitioners’ Fono - Thursday 6 – Friday 7 July 2023. For NGO and community practitioners working in the areas of family violence and/or sexual violence 

The Joint Venture for the Elimination of Family Violence and Sexual Violence
Te Aorerekura National Strategy

Te Puna Aonui is an Interdepartmental Executive Board made up of ten government agencies who together are responsible for implementing Te Aorerekura – the first National Strategy to Eliminate Family Violence and Sexual Violence.  

Te Aorerekura sets a collective ambition to make Aotearoa safer; where all people are respected and children, families, and whānau are happy and thriving. It represents an evolution in our journey to address violence in our homes and communities, recognising that family violence and sexual violence are two of our nation’s greatest shames. Given the size and the scale of violence and harm, Te Aorerekura also acknowledges that eliminating family violence and sexual violence will take a generation to deliver.

Te Aorerekura Action Plan (two-year)

Te Aorerekura Strategy challenges government to change the way it works; to partner and work with tangata whenua, communities, the family violence and sexual violence sector to support those in crisis, improve the system, and strengthen focus on prevention and healing. The Te Aorerekura Action Plan seeks to deliver this change through implementation of 40 actions which drive government action towards eliminating family violence and sexual violence. 

This two-year Action Plan articulates the need to change the way we work and how we think about the support people need to prevent, address, and heal from violence. Delivering these changes will require six shifts in how tangata whenua, specialist family violence and sexual violence sectors, communities, and government work together: 

  • Towards strengths-based wellbeing 
  • Towards mobilising communities 
  • Towards skilled, culturally competent and sustainable workforces 
  • Towards investment in primary prevention 
  • Towards safe, accessible, and integrated responses 
  • Towards increased capacity for healing 

Significant work is underway to deliver actions and detail on progress made can be found at 2023 Annual Te Aorerekura Hui - Learning Together | Te Puna Aonui.

Developing the Second Te Aorerekura Action Plan 

The current Action Plan ends in December 2023 and work is now underway to draft the second Action Plan, ensuring we maintain momentum while also providing a framework to hold government accountable. 

There are three phases of work involved in developing the second Action Plan:

Input from tangata whenua, diverse communities, family violence and sexual violence sector, and government agencies will be sought throughout the development of the second Action Plan, focusing on gathering learnings during Phase 1, through to testing options of emerging future priorities during Phase 2.

Te Aorerekura Outcomes and Measurement Framework  
Te Aorerekura Action Plan calls for the development of a national monitoring and learning system with an Outcomes and Measurement Framework (Actions 38 and 39) at its foundation. 
The Outcomes and Measurement Framework (OMF) translates the vision and strategic shifts set out in Te Aorerekura into a set of shared and measurable national-level results or outcomes for all people - tangata tātou. It sets out how we track progress towards the moemoeā of Te Aorerekura, including changes in the prevalence of family violence and sexual violence. 
Te Puna Aonui Business Unit and the Social Wellbeing Agency are developing the OMF, working with a group of academics and people from the family violence and sexual violence sectors, government agencies and with communities. A draft OMF will be finalised by August 2023.  
Implementing the OMF will give us a national picture of what is happening with family violence and sexual violence and the impacts of Te Aorerekura. 
What you told us you want to see 
As we developed the OMF, we heard the need for deeper work with tangata whenua, Pacific peoples, ethnic communities, disabled communities and LGBTQIA+ communities and the specialist sectors to ensure that there is the ability to assess change from different perspectives. We heard that we need to be able to disaggregate the data so communities can tell their own stories and see themselves in how we track progress. 
We heard that Pacific peoples want family-centred and holistic approaches utilising ethnic and Pan-Pacific cultural frameworks, where they are involved in developing and delivering services for their own communities with trusted and enduring relationships at every level, where there is sustainable investment and a more responsive workforce, including community and faith sectors, and where poverty is addressed.  
To eliminate family violence and sexual violence, the shared values among the Pacific peoples living in Aotearoa New Zealand need to be promoted and reflected in services, and racism, discrimination and bias actively rejected. Pacific peoples require ethnic-specific language and cultural frameworks and tools to be used in policy and practice.  
Genuine, respectful partnerships with Pacific communities and providers should be enabled. Safe spaces need to be created for talanoa and to build respectful relationships, and to allow leaders to have courageous conversations with community and families to develop community-led solutions that keep women, and children safe. 
Pacific leadership should be promoted in all system levels to advocate for resources to address the issues and needs of Pacific family and community and increase Pacific investment. 

Where we are at  

We are drafting a tangata tātou Outcomes and Measurement Framework and identifying potential data sources that can be used to measure progress. These will include survey data, government and NGO administrative data and qualitative information from communities and services. At the same time, Te Pūkotahitanga are developing te ao Māori outcomes and measures.  

What we’d love to hear from you  

Once the Framework is agreed by the Te Puna Aonui Board, we want to work with tangata whenua and communities, to understand which measures are meaningful and are a priority.  

Across the 16 draft outcomes, we’d like to hear what you think about where we need to start developing data to measure progress.  

Where are there the biggest data gaps for Pacific communities?

What’s the most important information that will help you know that we are making a difference?

Developing a clear investment plan to support Te Aorerekura  

A long-term strategy to eliminate family violence and sexual violence needs a long-term plan for government investment in the system change needed to achieve the moemoeā (vision) of Te Aorerekura. The development of a clear investment plan is Action 1 of the Te Aorerekura Action Plan  

We are developing an investment plan to provide direction, support, and guidance for government to make informed decisions on how it invests in the family violence and sexual violence system over the lifetime of the strategy. This plan will help to prioritise investment choices in the short-term (2-5 years), medium-term (5-10 years) and long-term, in a way that is co-ordinated and aligned to achieve the outcomes in Te Aorerekura.

The investment plan will be guided by Te Aorerekura Theory of Change and Outcomes and Measurement Framework  

By drawing from these foundational pieces of work, we can develop an investment plan which will provide Te Puna Aonui with the confidence that investment decisions will be effective and aimed towards achieving outcomes needed to eliminate family violence and sexual violence in Aotearoa New Zealand. These projects are opportunities for community to provide input and shape the development of the investment plan.

Our key funding lever is the annual Budget process  

While the investment plan will help shape decision-making around government funding across the system, the investment plan will not itself commit government’s ongoing spending choices, as these are made through the annual Budget process and agreed by Parliament rather than at an individual agency or ministerial level.  

We are working on how we can establish a process that includes the priorities of tangata whenua, our communities, and the family violence and sexual violence sector in government funding and investment decision-making on an annual basis.  

Community voice will help shape the development of the first investment plan  

Community priorities shared with us during the development of Te Aorerekura, engagement with Te Puna Aonui agencies, Te Aorerekura Annual Hui, and development of the next Action Plan, are informing our advice to Ministers and will help shape investment choices. 

The investment plan will be a ‘living’ document  

It will be refreshed throughout the life of the strategy. The developing Te Aorerekura learning and monitoring system will play an important part in informing future refreshes of the Investment Plan.

The investment plan will be published in 2024.