Authors: Phyllis Tangitu
Event: 2023 TheMHS Forum
Subject: Return to your mountains so that you can be cleansed by the winds of Tāwhirimātea
Type of resource: Video
Abstract: Hokia ki ō maunga kia purea ai koe e ngā hau a Tāwhirimātea In times when we are troubled or in turmoil, we are encouraged to return home to our ancestral mountains, lands and waters - here to be nourished, both emotionally and spiritually. This whakataukī recognises the intimate connections we must place and the way in which our wellbeing is drawn from the land. Indigenous people globally have strived for a collective vision of health and wellbeing. A holistic approach, based on inclusiveness, respectful relationships, and active community engagement. (Caldwell, 2008; Durie, 2014; Radu & House, 2012). Many successful local health initiatives have been inspired through community endeavour, and through the dedication of groups or individuals with specific skills and knowledge. Those who are capable of engaging in equitable dialogue, of initiating collective reflection, and maintaining transparent and respectful communication (Caldwell, 2008; Durie, 2014; Radu & House, 2012). The reality however, is that indigenous health development (currently and in the past) continues to be compromised by the negative impacts of a colonising history, a dominance from western health paradigms, and enforced cultural alienation (Durie, 2014; Lawson-Te Aho & Liu, 2010; Tatz, 2004). The cumulative results being, that for many indigenous people, mental ill-health has now become a perennial characteristic of our contemporary health profile. Issues which were uncommon in traditional times, but which now feature as priorities for indigenous health development. The issue of suicide and suicidality is of particular concern. And, while largely unknown historically, is now considered to be one of the most prevalent issues for the Māori people of Aotearoa (Coupe, 2005, Mia et al, 2017, Ministry of Health, 2016). Phyllis has had the privilege of working alongside Māori health leadership at both a national and local level and has likewise helped shape the various efforts made to address these challenges. Phyllis presentation will share this journey, by relaying timelines and developments, expressing the stories of Iwi/tribal and Māori Providers and drawing on her own personal experience of how Māori have sought to develop their own indigenous solutions to these issues. Further, she will share her knowledge of working within a District Health Board – both the highlights and challenges, and her recent experience working within a national mainstream organisation Emerge Aotearoa. In the final parts of her presentation she will highlight the significance of her title and the implications for indigenous mental health development.