Outgoing Whanau Ora minister Tariana Turia is disappointed she didn't get new laws dealing with domestic violence through Parliament during her tenure.

Tariana Turia gave her last official speech as co-leader of the Maori Party and a minister of the Crown to a Women's Refuge conference in Wanganui on Thursday night.

Mrs Turia handed over the co-leader baton to Marama Fox at Whangaehu Marae on Saturday.

In her address Mrs Turia said while she might be stepping away from national politics she would always be "an advocate, champion, and activist for the cause deepest in my heart - and that is Whanau Ora".

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She said that role didn't need a ministerial warrant to keep going.

One of her disappointments as minister was that after the export advisory group report on family violence was released, there was little interest in considering the possibility of a new statue aimed at preventing family violence and responses to it.

"All of us here know that the Domestic Violence Act is well and truly outdated in the ways it divides families into victims, perpetrators, and children rather than take a whole-of-government, whole-of-whanau response."

She said the approach to domestic violence needed to be sharpened, with responsibility for tackling the issue being shared with the Minister of Finance.

"We must spark up conversations which cost the impacts of family violence in economic terms," she told the conference.

"When I hear people marvel at our $43billion Maori economy, for instance, I wonder whether our whanau struggling with conflict and crisis are receiving the fruits of this rock-star economy."

However, people, through Native Affairs polls during the election, were telling the nation that addressing family violence should be a priority.

Mrs Turia said while road accidents cost the nation $3.4billion a year, $297million was spent on road safety.

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However, in comparison family violence cost $8billion a year "yet we spend a mere $60million".

Mrs Turia also paid tribute to the "bold courage" of those who had gone before to break the cycle of violence.

"I look at our kuia - Aunty Kiwa - and our kaumatua Kuini - those who have worn the love of whanau as a badge of honour throughout their life.

"They have given every single breath of commitment and devotion to strengthening their whanau, to making sure our world is fit for their mokopuna.

"They have guided me and led me forward, much like my Aunty Wai and Aunty Pae, my grandmother, and all my aunts from here at Putiki showed me the way that I could follow.

"They gave me a vision that we could do right by our babies ...

"They were by my side when in the dark of night, we confronted those who had abused the vulnerable.

"They stood up to those who wanted to retain a privileged position of speaking on the paepae even though their actions didn't warrant that right," Mrs Turia said.