Enhancing Māori mental health workforce : "Te Rau Puawai o te kawakawa o te ora" : a 152.800 thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Management at Massey University, Manawatu, New Zealand
At the Hui Whakaoranga (Maori Health Planning workshop) in 1984, and again during
the health reforms in 1990, the shortage of qualified Maori employed within the Maori
mental health workforce was highlighted. Since this time, the importance of accelerating
the professionalism of the Maori mental health workforce has continued to become a
focus for Maori health. To support this movement, Te Rau Puawai was established in
1999. Its aim was to recruit, retain and increase completion rates of Maori students,
studying towards a health related qualification at Massey University. The greater vision
was to support the Maori mental health arena, by contributing qualified Maori to work
within the sector. Using a qualitative approach grounded in a kaupapa Maori (Maori
topic) framework, this research examined the Te Rau Puawai programme, identifying key
characteristics of the core business, and its effectiveness, in an attempt to understand how
Te Rau Puawai impacted upon the Maori mental health workforce.
The thesis explores the manner in which Te Rau Puawai mentors and supports students to
successfully complete qualifications. Further, it attempts to understand the unique and
particular nature of Maori health students, as they work towards degrees in this field.
This study examines in detail the components of the programme that positively impact on
the students, creating an environment of excellence. The programme is also assessed
against its initial purpose to determine its success. In addition, the governance,
management and implementation structures of Te Rau Puawai are revealed, showing a
mixed method approach, involving Western approaches, but firmly based in tikanga
Maori (Maori customs and traditions).
The findings uncovered within this research study, are used to produce a framework (Te
Rau Puawai o te kawakawa o te ora) that summarises the key findings. In essence, this
framework is a best practice model for mentoring Maori students studying towards health
related degrees. While the success of the programme is an important factor, the
paramount goal is the health and well-being of all Maori people.