My research explores the provision of trauma-informed care to tamariki Māori and their whānau within the Mana Ake mental health initiative here in Waitaha | Canterbury. Mana Ake was put into place in early 2018 to support the ongoing mental health needs of children and families who have been negatively impacted by the traumatic events that have occurred in the Waitaha region over the past decade. I will be examining the perspectives of tamariki Māori and their whānau, kaimahi Māori (Māori practitioners) and those in leadership positions involved in Mana Ake.
This mahi is important because much of the global knowledge base regarding trauma is grounded in Western understandings and this is being reflected in the way that we conceptualize and try to treat trauma here in Aotearoa. However, Western understandings of trauma often neglect to account for collective, historical and intergenerational types of trauma that commonly affect indigenous people such as Māori. Therefore, Western trauma approaches can be limited in their effectiveness for Māori as well as their ability to provide cultural safety.
My Kaupapa Māori research project aims to examine mātauranga Māori (Māori knowledge) related to trauma and healing, to privilege Māori voices and to contribute to the legitimization of Māori knowledge - challenging the Western knowledge base that currently dominates the trauma landscape. It is my hope that my research can help to inform the future direction of trauma-informed care for Māori and add to the small amount of existing literature on this topic.
Growing up in the far north of New Zealand I have seen the impact of environmental influences on our tamariki at family, community and systemic levels. Wanting to be part of creating better outcomes for child wellbeing in my community led me to study Psychology at Waikato University and then Child and Family Psychology here at the University of Canterbury. Being a Māori researcher, I am particularly interested in exploring ways we can improve inequitable wellbeing outcomes for our Māori children. I have experience working with children who have been subject to relational and complex trauma and this work keeps me grounded in the realities that face our tamariki, especially here in Christchurch.
My iwi are Ngāti Whatua, Ngāi te Rangi and Ngāpuhi.