Plunket staff to learn more Māori mātauranga under new partnership

Photo of a sleeping Maori baby pepi

Published @ RNZ: 9:04 pm on 8 December 2021

Author: Te Aorewa Rolleston, Reporter

Whānau Āwhina Plunket staff will learn more about te ao Māori and ways to engage with Māori whānau under a new partnership.

It comes after Plunket, the largest Well Child services provider, was found to be failing Māori, Pasifika, and disabled children with outdated practices that were not culturally inclusive.

In a Te Tiriti partnership with Tūpuna Parenting, Plunket staff will participate in informative wānanga which are immersed in Māori mātauranga and te ao Māori perspectives and approaches to parenting.

“This is our whānau’s mātauranga and it is very precious to us, it’s not a whiteboard exercise, it’s not a book exercise, it’s passed down to us by our tīpuna,” said co-founder Hirini Kaa.

The Māori-led movement’s kaupapa aimed to help and awhi whānau and their pēpi, Dr Kaa said.

The programme was part of the answer towards addressing the challenges of providing equitable care, he said.

“We’re aware of the institutional challenges, but every major mainstream provider in Aotearoa still faces those challenges and attempting to resolve them is a part of our mahi by working with them to get better outcomes for our whānau.”

The programme will take place over two years, with all 40 of the provider’s Māori health professionals expected to take part.

Dr Kaa said he had been pleased with the response so far.

“So, the programme and the mātauranga is coming from us but we’re developing it in conjunction with the kaiāwhina [Māori health professionals] to further develop it and refine it, so it’s effective for our whānau,” he said.

“In this programme, we are developing content that the kaiāwhina use to work with whānau including videos, cards, kōrero to have wānanga with whānau.

“It was building those strong relationships with the whānau āwhina [to assist the] Plunket team.”

Whānau Awhina Plunket spokesperson Waikura Kamo said the partnership was important because they were focused on being more relatable and pushing for pro-equity services.

“We wanted to bring mātauranga on board, especially for our kaiāwhina, for our Māori kaimahi [staff] to support whānau across the motu.”

Kamo said it was a starting point towards improvement and they wanted to embrace te ao Māori and kaupapa Māori knowledge to support whānau.

“We wanted to create or deliver a service that was for Māori, by Māori from a te ao Māori approach.

“We’re really interested in partnership … it brings practical relevance to today’s parenting.”

Whānau Awhina Plunket did arise from a western model, Kamo said, so it was important to be more relevant towards Māori whānau.

“We’re wanting to attract and recruit more Māori kaimahi who have a passion to be working from a te ao Māori lens for our Māori whānau.

“We definitely see this as an ongoing relationship with Tūpuna Parenting.

“We can see this to be a beginning of strengthening, developing, and growing more within the relationships with our Māori whānau.”

Dr Kaa said their ambitions for the partnership and its outcomes looking forward was to make sure that Māori pēpi and tamariki could grow and thrive by utilising Māori mātauranga (knowledge).

He said by incorporating te ao Māori into Plunket’s services, whānau would be able to better take care of their mokopuna as well.

“It’s really about the mātauranga that’s held within all the whānau across Aotearoa and helping them to unlock that knowledge.

“It’s about working with providers like Plunket to help whānau re-discover and re-understand that mātauranga that they hold within themselves, to bring that forward in terms of their parenting and thereby to get better outcomes for our tamariki, to escape these deficit narratives to allow our whānau and our tamariki to live their best lives.”

For the original article, visit Radio NZ’s website.