The Round Tuit Reports: Promoting Equity, Meaningful Participation and Voice, by Ria Schroder
You know in these busy times, the great thing about being asked to write “a reflection piece about something I have read lately”, is that I have just spent the last couple of hours reading through the ‘round tuit’ reports. You know the ones I mean. All those reports that come into your email inbox, that you look at longingly as you see their enticing titles in the email subject heading but are too busy to read right now. The ones you promise yourself you will get back to but end up just sitting in your inbox unread because you never seem to find time to get around to reading them.
Having had the chance to absorb some of the great information, I then struggled to decide which ‘one’ to write about. Consequently this reflection focuses on the key themes that emerged across a number of the reports (all listed at the end of this reflection). The topics covered, the methods used and the groups and individuals contributing to these reports were all quite different. From an incredibly experienced team of academic researchers collecting and sharing up to date information about the health and wellbeing of rangatahi; to a rapid evidence review undertaken in a timely manner to inform policy and practice decisions in a Covid-19 environment; to a partnership approach between a commercial research company and Tangata Whenua to explore how to achieve a vision of an equitable Aotearoa; a very clear message emerged. Despite our awareness of the barriers faced by Māori (particularly rangatahi Māori) to acheive good health, wellbeing, social and economic outcomes, huge disparities and the harm caused by these disparities contintue to exist on a day to day basis. These negative effects are further amplified as existing disparites are known to be significantly increased during times of crisis such as we are currently experiencing with the Covid-19 pandemic.
This clear message repeated in these reports, and many other reports that have come before, commands my attention. It reminds me that I have to make sure that I have built into all aspects of my life (my own life, my family life, my work life and my life as a contributing citizen) ways to seriously challenge and address these disparities. It reminds me that it is often too easy to sit back and acknowledge and talk about the dispartities without acknowleging the important role I can play in actively working towards reducing them. It reminds me that I need to constantly ask of myself and others what part am I, my family, my organisation, the ways that I live, playing in maintaining the barriers that lead to these disparities? What am I/can I do to remove these barriers? What am I/can I do more of to ensure that Māori get a genuine seat at all the decision making tables where their voices can be heard, their knowledge and wisdom shared, respected, prioritised and acted upon? What am I/can I do more of to ensure that the authentic partnership between Tangata Whenua and Tangata Tiriti that was promised by Te Tiriti o Waitangi is finally realised? What am I/can I do to contribute toward a truly bicultural Aotearoa? Importantly, this message reminds me that it is not good enough to say I will get a ‘Round Tuit’ in answering these questions. I need to answer these questios and engage actions right now.