From the 7th to the 9th of February 2019, the inaugural Mā te Rae Indigenous People’s Conference was held at Te Papaiouru Marae, Ohinemutu, Rotorua. This conference allowed Māori and Indigenous evaluators from around the world to come together to progress the development of our people. Among the delegates was Te Rau Ora researcher Neil Rogers from our Te Kīwai Rangahau (Research and Evaluation) team. During the conference, Neil had the opportunity to present and disseminate the current qualitative evaluation findings of Te Rau Ora’s Tiaki Whānau Tiaki Ora 1000 Whānau Homes programme.
Tiaki Whānau Tiaki Ora 1000 Whānau Homes aims to build healthy whānau by increasing strategies that will strengthen whānau resilience and increase whānau awareness of risk factors to suicide. Tiaki Whānau Tiaki Ora 1000 Whānau Homes was first introduced to communities in Kaikohe in March 2018.
Māori led programmes like Tiaki Whānau Tiaki Ora are vital. In 2017, six hundred and six New Zealanders took their lives, that is 12 people a week! The rate of loss per 100,000 people is the highest amongst Māori in comparison to all other ethnic groups in New Zealand. The Global Overview: Indigenous Suicide Rates (link to the story) reveals that the losses of young people in New Zealand due to suicide are significantly greater than the overall population with the highest rates of loss amongst Māori rangatahi.
The three themes referred to in the Tiaki Whānau Tiaki Ora 1000 Whānau Homes programme evaluation that Neil shared at the Mā te Rae Indigenous People’s Conference were:
Mana Ora – The aspirations of Māori people for Māori collective wellbeing. The opportunities that exist for Māori to affirm and validate Indigenous wellbeing initiatives.
Traditional Knowledge – The ways Māori draw upon traditional knowledge to guide evaluation theory and practice.
Claim the Space – Claim the space for Māori ways of knowing and being to combat racism and privilege.