He Puna Whakaata – Therapeutic Engagement with Māori

He Puna Whakaata is a values-based mātauranga Māori (Māori knowledge) programme for practitioners which teaches how to improve their therapeutic engagement with Māori clients. He Puna Whakaata is delivered by Dr Andre McLachlan (Registered Clinical Psychologist, Registered Alcohol and Drug Practitioner) and Sarah Kinred (Kaitiaki Mātauranga Māori, Te Rau Ora), a team that has strong mātauranga Māori, clinical knowledge and experience.

He Puna Whakaata uses Whai Tikanga cards, a set of 40 value cards that have been created from a Māori worldview.  These cards help practitioners improve their understanding of values from a Māori worldview, help identify which values resonate with their clients, and help practitioners and clients understand how clients’ values relate to their health and wellbeing.  People who have participated in the training (e.g., counsellors, social workers, psychologists, community support workers, teachers) have talked about how the Whai Tikanga cards have improved their ability to communicate with Māori clients and how their clients enjoy using the cards.

The cards are in both Te Reo Māori and English and help users understand Māori values. Each card has a whakataukī, whakatauākī, or tongikura (Māori proverb) that relates to the value and the meaning of the whakataukī. The cards can also be split into four groups of 10, each group relates to a different tapa (wall) of Te Whare Tapa Whā.  To asist practitioners and clients understand which tapa each card could fit under, a small symbol is shown on one of the corners of each card.  It is important to note though, that while He Puna Whakaata cards provide structure and explanations, they do not dictate how a person has to interpret the values or what tapa they fit under.

  “If you are working with someone and they say that doesn’t fit there, that fits there; kei te pai, so it fits there because it fits the person” (Sarah Kinred, Kaitiaki Mātauranga Māori, Te Rau Ora) 

During the He Puna Whakaata training, people are taught to use the cards by first using them on themselves. Participants experience what it is like to use the cards as a practitioner and as a client. Learning this way is a chance for clinicians to reflect on their own values.  Regardless of a person’s level of understanding of Te Ao Māori (Māori worldview), they are able to bring knowledge to a conversation about the cards and what the different values mean to them.

 “The messaging we give to practitioners who we are training is go with your knowledge base [and] the knowledge base of the person you are working with; that will tell you how deep or not so deep to go” (Sarah Kinred, Kaitiaki Mātauranga Māori, Te Rau Ora) 

To have access to the cards and associated resources, people have to complete the He Puna Whakaata training.  This practice is about maintaining the quality, authenticity, and integrity of the use of the cards and the programme as a whole.

“A big message I always give at the end…please koha [gift] the knowledge that is given to you in the same intent in how it is given, so it is given in 100% intention in love” (Sarah Kinred, Kaitiaki Mātauranga Māori, Te Rau Ora) 

For further information about He Puna Whakaata, please contact Sarah.Kinred@terauora.com