Te hohounga: Mai i te tirohanga Māori The process of reconciliation: Towards a Māori view

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In March 2009, the Advisory Group on Conduct Problems (AGCP) published the first of a series of reports, entitled Conduct Problems: Best Practise Report (AGCP, 2009a). Based on the AGCP’s response to Treaty of Waitangi obligations, it was recommended that an expert Māori group be set up to provide a Te Ao Māori view on conduct problems and advice regarding responsiveness to Māori in generic services. This group, Te Roopu Kaitiaki (TRK) recommended that further work be undertaken to explore what a Kaupapa Māori response would look like for Māori tamariki, taiohi and whānau experiencing conduct problems.1

Purpose of report

As a result of the recommendations made by AGCP and TRK, this report was commissioned by the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) to better understand a Te Ao Māori perspective when engaging with Māori tamariki, taiohi and whānau experiencing conduct problems. TRK recommended that a major investment be made in gathering and analysing evidence from a Te Ao Māori context and that a report would help start this initiative. MSD requested that the report address the following issues:

  1. provide guidance for government and non-government organisations in delivery of conduct problems programmes directed at tamariki, taiohi, whānau, hapū and iwi

  2. provide advice on how to engage and support tamariki, taiohi, whānau, hapū and iwi in the delivery of conduct problem programmes

  3. outline cultural protocols of engagement and support for whānau

  4. identify cultural supports required to encourage Māori whānau beyond programme delivery sessions

  5. outline Te Ao Māori principles relevant to the delivery of generic programmes

  6. discuss principles of cultural competency for Māori and tauiwi practitioners

  7. identify indicators that could measure whānau ora.

Na wai? Who is this report for?

On 9 June 2009, TRK reconvened discussions focused on a Māori view of conduct problems and issues related to service delivery for Māori tamariki, taiohi, whānau, hapū and iwi.
The title of this report was put forward by Moe Milne. The words process and towards signal that this report is a beginning step in identifying a Māori view in relation to conduct problems and delivery of conduct problem programmes.
A number of questions were raised by TRK:

  • What do we want for our mokopuna (grandchildren/ young generation)?

  • How do we reduce the degree of separation for our tamariki, taiohi and whānau experiencing conduct problems, conduct disorder and raruraru (unsettledness, turbulence)?

  • What was it like in traditional Te Ao Māori for our children, and how do we get back to that way of valuing and nourishing our tamariki and taiohi?

  • If your child or your niece or nephew exhibited conduct problems, how would you want services to assist you and your whānau?

Most importantly, this report is for our Māori tamariki, taiohi and whānau experiencing conduct problems. It is envisaged this report will help ensure they receive the most effective and culturally enhancing interventions possible.

It is also envisaged that this report will benefit practitioners, service providers and those in the policy arena.
In Section 2, a Māori view of conduct problems is constructed, using both traditional and contemporary indigenous knowledge. Through the use of pūrākau (mythology) an understanding of conduct problems from a Māori view is presented; it highlights the importance of a whānau focus and the effects of separation. A model of how conduct problems may be conceptualised from a Māori view is presented, as well as issues raised by TRK in relation to this model. A Māori model of wellbeing, Te Whare Tapa Wha (Durie, 1985) is also presented, alongside specific examples relevant to Māori tamariki, taiohi and whānau experiencing conduct problems. All of these contribute to the development of a Māori view with the major theme of needing to be holistic and whānau orientated.
Section 3 illustrates how identity and connections can be further enhanced in both Kaupapa Māori and generic services. Specific Māori protocols such as powhiri, and values such as aroha and manaaki, highlight ways in which identity and engagement of Māori can be strengthened. The ways identity and connections can be enhanced and honoured is discussed at practitioner, service provider and policy level. Also presented are issues relating to cultural competency and a brief overview of programmes that can influence whānau ora and conduct problems.
Section 4 focuses on issues surrounding the implementation of Kaupapa Māori programmes and the enhancement of the cultural responsiveness of generic programmes. A preliminary overview of research conducted in the area of conduct problems and indigenous populations is provided. Additionally, the issues related to evaluating generic programmes (particularly those around evaluating whānau ora) and implementing, developing and evaluating Kaupapa Māori programmes, are discussed.
Section 6 presents the major conclusions of the report. Towards reconciliation is the focus of Section 7 and recommends how to ensure Māori tamariki, taiohi and whānau receive the best, and culturally enhancing, interventions possible.
Whakatauki: Proverb
He kai poutaka me kinikini atua

He kai poutaka me horehore atu

Mā te tamaiti te iho.
Pinch off a bit of the potted bird, peel off a bit of the potted bird, but have the inside for the child. (Mead & Grove, 2001:81)


Introduction: Indigenous knowledge

Nā Tāne i toko, ka mawehe a Rangi raua ko Papa

Nāna i tauwehea ai,

Ka heuea te Pō, ka heuea te Ao.
It is by the strength of Tane that Sky and Earth were separated and Light was born. In the Māori creation story, it was Tane, god of forests, who separated Earth and Sky, allowing light to shine on the earth, so freeing the world from darkness. This is often used as a metaphor for the attainment of knowledge or enlightenment. (trad.) (Grace & Grace, 2003:62)
Indigenous knowledge can include all areas of Te Ao Māori, both traditional and contemporary. The values and beliefs behind tikanga (customs, meanings, practices) and kawa (protocols, ceremonies) are forms of indigenous knowledge. The reo (language), waiata (songs), whakatauaki and pūrākau are all forms of indigenous knowledge that originally came from the three baskets of knowledge obtained by Tane Mahuta, god of the forests and mankind. As stated by Pere (1991):

Proverbs, legends, stories, history and particular knowledge have hidden meanings and symbolic reference for those who understand the mythology and the cultural group to which they belong (p. 10).
Contemporary Māori knowledge, which acknowledges that culture is dynamic and evolving, must inevitably combine traditional concepts and understandings within a contemporary context. TRK strongly advocated for indigenous knowledge to have equal standing as a form of evidence when considering the implementation, development and resource allocation for Kaupapa Māori initiatives and enhancing generic programme responsiveness to Māori.
Whakatauki: Proverb
Te torino haere whakamua,

At the same time the spiral is going forward

It is going back
In order to move forward and formulate a Māori view around conduct problems, there is a need to look backwards. This section, therefore, looks at one form of indigenous knowledge, pūrākau or Māori mythology and its relevance to the conceptualisation of conduct problems today. From the pūrākau, an understanding of the importance of whānau and the effects of separation help guide a Māori view of conduct problems. A model is presented, with the overarching question:

How can the degree of separation be reduced for Māori tamariki, taiohi and whānau experiencing conduct problems?

Finally, a Māori model of wellbeing, Te Whare Tapa Wha, is outlined and examples relevant to conduct problems presented, to emphasise the need to view conduct problems from a holistic perspective.

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