Today Wai Research launches the culmination of three years of research, Pou Tarāwaho Hinengaro, the Waipareira Mental Health strategy. This framework outlines the strategic approach going forward for supporting and improving Māori mental health and wellbeing.
Māori communities have long experienced gaps around addressing mental health needs. For Waipareira the journey towards solving this started in 2014, when conversations began between Waipareira frontline workers and leadership about whether the existing community services were truly providing for the mental health and wellbeing of Māori whānau. From these conversations it became apparent that the impact of inadequate mental health care services – and specifically Kaupapa Māori mental health provision – had not yet been explored from a West Auckland lens. As such one major question lingered, “what kind of mental health service would best cater for the needs of West Auckland whānau?”
This coincided with the launch of Wai Research as the dedicated Waipareira research unit, who then over a two-year period undertook a series of research projects focused on gathering evidence around the issue of mental health. An initial literature review – Kaupapa Māori Models of Psychological Therapy & Mental Health Services – drew out insights from Kaupapa Māori models and approaches to mental health services which was then followed by Kimihia te Hauora Hinengaro, a qualitative exploration of the specific modes of Kaupapa Māori service delivery across a range of West Auckland services.
Giving a voice to the community and using research to contribute to the finding and creation of outcomes which support the aspirations and flourishing of communities are some of the key tenets of Wai-Research. As such it was crucial through this research to be able to give a platform for the previously unheard voices of tāngata whaiora, whānau and frontline kaimahi. Their stories revealed complexity and diversity which contextualised the challenges of navigating a one-size-fits-all system, and so it is these insights which have become the foundation for direction of the framework.
Pou Tarāwaho Hinengaro marks a bold new vision from Waipareira, which impresses the importance of taking a holistic approach to mental health. It outlines how we define “mental health”, establishes our aims, values and goals and identifies the catalysts for change which will enable us to achieve these. As such, Professor Sir Mason Durie describes the establishment of Pou Tarāwaho Hinengaro as offering “the prospect of a new era for Māori in the realisation of enduring mental health and wellbeing”.
Pou Tarāwaho Hinengaro is available to view now online and in limited print copies.