Culture, however defined, is not a static state, but the dynamic interaction of many forces, including interaction with other cultures. Western culture itself is undergoing constant change, in which the influence of Eastern philosophies cannot be ignored; it seems somewhat patronising to suggest that other cultures are immutable and should be preserved in some kind of time capsule. (Coleridge, 1993, p.150) Culture
Article one, which guaranteed Maori their right to their own tribal sovereignty, is the key issue for Maori with disabilities who can argue the same rights as Maori without disabilities, regardless of their impairment identity. Maori with disabilities currently have little or no autonomy in their own Maori-specific disability services. How can the Treaty of Waitangi be utilised specifically for Maori with disabilities?
Article Two The Maori text of article two of the Treaty of Waitangi gave Maori their full sovereignty and chieftainship rights over their land, villages, property and treasures, which is consistent with article one. Yet Maori with disabilities clearly do not have autonomy or sovereignty of services, are not given broad inclusion throughout their tribal groups and do not have the ability to self-determine their needs in their own way. Through combining the intent of both articles one and two, autonomy can be achieved for Maori with disabilities
Article Three Article three promised Maori the full protection of the Crown. For Maori with disabilities, if article one and two are not being complied with then article three is at risk of being compromised. The Westminster legal system which New Zealand law is founded on may not necessarily be the best process for Maori. The process is formal, often oppressive and has led to Maori being the largest population group within New Zealand prisons. (Ministry of Justice, 1999)
Article Four Article four, which is informal and would provide a further argument for Maori sovereignty and the right to enjoy customary and religious rights when placed into the context of the other three articles, article four is very relevant as it gives M ā ori the right to practice rongoa, traditional spiritual practices, and exercise their customary law in areas impacting on them.
The Principles of the Treaty of Waitangi in Disability Policy Apart from mental health policy, little disability work has developed on Maori with disabilities in policy. Disability policy generally is impacted by legislation such as the New Zealand Public Health and Disability Act 2000 that acknowledges treaty principles. Treaty principles are gaining increasing recognition in health and disability policy where, over the years, different health and disability networks have been implementing the treaty in their frameworks.
Impact/Effect of the Principles of the Treaty of Waitangi on Disability Policy While Maori with disabilities are identified as a marginalised group in such documents as the NZDS, the office that addresses disability issues (Office of Disabilities Issues - ODI) does not directly address issues pertaining to Maori with disabilities. Te Puni Kokiri (TPK) is the government mandated advisor to the NZDS on Maori disabilities issues.
The Core Elements The core elements required for Maori with disabilities to have parity with their counterparts and achieve positive outcomes in all areas of disability discourse are these: Government agencies, disability providers and Maori Iwi health providers give Maori with disabilities autonomy in their decision making. Providing an appropriate kaupapa Maori structure of supports and services for the delivery of their services.
Core Element cont........ Empowering Maori with disabilities through robust and transparent consultation and inclusion in all aspects of disability decision-making including in the development of policies and programs aimed at this group Providing a framework with a focus on interdependency and independence to place the individual with disabilities at the centre of all decision-making for them and also provide for inclusion of whanau for Maori with disabilities of it is the individual’s choice and, Providing appropriate funding to incorporate the recommendation set out
Kaupapa Maori The exploration of traditional concepts for M ā ori with disabilities includes understanding and incorporating kaupapa M ā ori approaches to service delivery and a change in thinking around disability in language and in practice for this group. Whilst some services use the term “kaupapa M ā ori” or state their compliance with the “principles of the treaty”, these steps alone are not sufficient. Recommendations must be identified and developed to ensure systems are in place that recognize the place of M ā ori with disabilities in all areas of society, including their own communities.
Recommendations Eight main recommendations are identified to effect changes: Develop a Maori disability framework that incorporates the individual with disabilities at the core, this identity to be used when developing policies and delivering services and supports to Maori with disabilities Challenge the language of “disability” and “impairment” from the western paradigm and develop Maori (indigenous) language and systems that are more appropriate to Maori with disabilities Define the concept “kaupapa Maori” service for Maori with disabilities and not accept the term alone as not sufficient. Whilst defining this concept, it is necessary to interpret the language sufficiently to ensure the concepts enhance effective and appropriate services and supports for this group; Provide a process by which Maori with disabilities have autonomy in their decision-making as individuals, as whanau and as members of the disability community.
Recommendations cont..... Develop an educational resource around Maori disability identity and awareness of this identity in policy at all educational levels (primary, secondary and tertiary); Establishing monitoring and auditing tools to ensure safety of implementation of service delivery for Maori with disabilities, including any whanau carers as providers of services to Maori with disabilities Provide resources on a level equal with non-Maori with disability representatives to ensure equal participation of Maori with disabilities in representatives roles on disability advocacy networks domestically, and internationally; Provide educational and employment opportunities in both the public and private sectors for Maori with disabilities to become leaders in Maori disability issues;