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

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In summary, there are a number of Māori protocols and concepts of which practitioners need to have an understanding. Issues related to the context and environment where encounters occur and the processes involved, such as karanga, karakia, mihimihi and te reo, are vital when looking at engagement issues with Māori whānau. A holistic perspective has been highlighted as important in the assessment process (aro matawai, as is to exhibit the ability to manaaki (support), whakawhanaunga (make connections), ohaoha (a partnership and approach) and provide aroha (strength and encouragement).
Cultural competency incorporates awareness, knowledge and skills. This section provides information to increase awareness and knowledge. The next step is for practitioners to use these processes and concepts in a meaningful and respectful manner in order to enhance a positive identity and connections when working with Māori tamariki, taiohi and whānau experiencing conduct problems. Being able to work with these processes and concepts will require both cultural and clinical supervision.


As noted earlier, it has been postulated that implementing dedicated Kaupapa Māori services and increasing the Māori content in generic programmes will result in better engagement and retention of Māori in clinical services (Huriwai et al, 2001). This section discusses issues surrounding service delivery and the potential to further enhance identity and connections.

In 2001, the Te Puni Kokiri (TPK) published a report, Whanake Rangatahi – Programmes and Services to Address Youth Offending (Owen, 2001). A major conclusion was that there was a lack of well-resourced, Māori-developed and Māori-focussed programmes for Māori youth offenders:

Young people and whānau are clear about the issues and many of the solutions. They need to be involved in an ongoing basis – in deciding what is needed in their communities. (Owen, 2001:186)
The review recommended that:

  • government agencies must adopt an integrated and holistic approach

  • Māori must be involved in programme and service design and delivery

  • government agencies must collect robust information on participation and outcomes

  • government agencies need to provide Māori youth and whānau with better information on programmes and services.

The conclusion noted that:

the little information we do have indicates that Māori approaches to addressing offending are very successful and deserving of greater government support. (Owen, 2001:189)
A key recommendation of the TRK, is the imperative of sound research being conducted to identify what programmes are working for Māori tamariki, taiohi and whānau experiencing conduct problems. In particular TRK advocates that this gathering of evidence needs to be formulated from a Kaupapa Māori approach:

A major investment is needed to support the gathering and analysis of evidence from a Te Ao Māori context to sit as part of the evidence base in NZ to full inform the delivery of effective programmes for conduct problems. (TRK, cited in AGCP, 2009a:43)
In relation to generic programmes, TRK recommended:

With generic services effective cultural consultation and participation by Māori should take place at all stages of the development and evaluation of new services (ibid).
In order to provide robust information about which programmes are working for Māori tamariki, taiohi and whānau with conduct problems, it is necessary to first identify the programmes available. It is not within the scope of this preliminary report to review all currently available programmes; however, we present five different programmes to highlight differences in scope, values and practice.

Kauapapa Māori

Te Atawhaingia Te Harakeke

Te Atawhaingia Te Pā Harakeke is a programme with a ‘by Māori for Māori with Māori values’ approach – in essence, a Kaupapa Māori approach. It does not deal directly with tamariki, taiohi and whānau, but with the kaupapa whānau. The aim of the programme is to address the impact of domestic violence on whānau, hapū and iwi and their development, based on a Māori cultural framework. Atawhaingia Te Pā Harakeke is a whānau development training and support programme for Māori and iwi education, health and social service organisations. The programme is delivered by the Ministry of Education training unit, Te Kōmako to more than 200 providers over 10 ten years. The parenting programme is called Hākuitanga / Hākorotanga, whose aim is to upskill facilitators of Māori parenting programmes based on Māori cultural frameworks.

As noted by Elder (2009):

The strengths of the Atawhaingia Te Pā Harakeke programme come from the understanding that the acquisition of effective parenting skills for Māori are optimised by the use of a Māori cultural framework. The development of the programme from its earliest application in prisons with efficacy in working with Māori fathers has led to current capacity to train providers to build connections with Māori who may be initially dismissive, avoidant or actively refusing input and support. The programmes have demonstrated efficacy with extremely complex cases. (p. 1)
Elder advocates that increased investment into programmes such as Atawhaingia Te Pā Harakeke is a better investment strategy than limiting the spend on generic programmes that have little or no robust evidence base for Māori participants.

Te Kawa o te Marae

Another example of training that assists practitioners in a range of sectors to work more effectively with whānau is Te Kawa o te Marae. This training is based on rituals and protocols that occur on the marae. It was initially developed and refined by the team at Te Whare Ruruhau o Meri in Otahuhu, Auckland, in 2000. The model of practice promotes whānau engagement, motivates change and allows for safety, transformation and healing. Facilitators describe the framework as:

a safe and effective pathway for transformational work alongside whānau (individually and collectively). Within this context practitioners can apply any of their existing skills in the way they decide it is most helpful to assist the whānau member/s with their engagement, understanding, sense of responsibility and/or accountability, change, healing and restorative processes. (Clarke, 2009)

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