Te Kāhui Atawhai o te Motu (TKAM) and the New Zealand Council of Christian Social Services (NZCCSS) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) formalising a Strategic Alliance between the two organisations. This signing occurred at the AGM of NZCCSS on 19 November 2014. The MoU states that TKAM and NZCCSS:
… agree that working together is more effective towards a better future, where communities are engaged and actively participating in shaping New Zealand to be a vibrant country, where the Treaty of Waitangi, the empowerment and holistic wellbeing of whānau, hapu and iwi along with the right of poor and vulnerable New Zealanders to social justice and compassion are promoted and protected.
The joining of the two organisations in a Strategic Alliance has been supported by the Working Together More Fund which provided funding to help support the first year’s work programme for ‘Te Piringa’ the name selected for the alliance.
Te Piringa is the coming together in an informal strategic alliance of Te Kahui Atawhai o te Motu and the New Zealand Council of Christian Social Services. The word ‘piringa’ has two main definitions, ‘a connection or relationship’ and, ‘a safe haven’.
The intention of the alliance between these two organisations is grounded in these meanings:
- Iwi/Māori social services providers are concerned with and working towards the wellbeing of their whānau. Christian social services providers also work with and are concerned with the wellbeing of their Māori whānau clients. Through the development of a relationship the two organisations will provide an opportunity for connection and relationship between these important groups in their communities – bringing together groups with mutual clients and similar aims to achieve improved wellbeing for their whānau and for those they serve.
- Te Piringa will provide a safe haven where iwi/Māori and Christian social services groups, currently forced through the existing funding systems to become competitors for decreasing social services resources, can explore how they can work together to benefit their clients and communities. This may include research and advocacy – working together at a national level to provide good practice exemplars and advocating for structural change.