Te Au is the new name for the National Māori Suicide Prevention Centre under Te Rau Ora. Running since 2014 as part of the Waka Hourua; The Māori and Pacific Suicide Prevention program. Te Au is focussed on promoting wellbeing for Māori whānau to address the issue of suicide within communities throughout Aotearoa. The National Māori programme fosters local leadership, building our young people, communities and whānau capacity to enhance their own wellbeing.
In New Zealand, Māori carry the highest burden of suicide with higher incidences among Māori youth, and men. In the 2017 – 2018 year, provisional statistics, 668 New Zealanders lost their lives to suicide. This was up from the 606 who lost their will to live in 2016-2017 year and 579 the year before that. Māori continue to have the highest suicide rate of all ethnic groups at 23.72 per 100.000 of the population compared to 13.67 rate for the general population. These statistics highlight the need for immediate action to change this increasing trend and reduce all suicidal behaviour and losses in New Zealand.
For Māori, the reasons for suicide are many and varied. Te Rau Ora advocates whānau and community driven approaches to prevent suicide, that take into account the economic, physical and cultural aspects of health. In raising awareness about suicide and its prevention, Te Rau Ora’s focus is to identify certain determinants, making sure these are recognised and acted on. Building the capacity of Māori whānau and communities to self-advocate and maintain wellness is a key aspect of this approach.
Te Rau Ora currently works with Le Va to deliver Waka Hourua, the National Suicide Prevention Programme for Māori and Pasifika Communities.