Whitiwhitia i te ora! : culture and occupational therapy : a Māori case study : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Philosophy in Māori Studies at Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand : Masters in Philosophy at Massey University, Manawatu, New Zealand
This master‟s research reports the findings of a mixed methodology study based on qualitative and quantitative data that considers culture in occupational therapy practice from a Māori perspective.
Health perspectives of Māori and occupational therapy are explored and similarities identified. Tangata whaiora responsive practice (client-centred), holistic and wairua (spiritual) views are mutual themes. Whenua/taiao and environment also held great significance for both Māori and the profession, though occupational therapy modified the environment to enable safety, whereas Māori negotiate with the environment prior to making it safe. The major differences, in perspectives, were the recognition of whānau and the interdependent relationships so critical to whānau and whānau ora, with occupation identified as a significant perspective not supported as so significant to Māori practitioners. The implications of these differences were explored in this dissertation.
Eighteen occupational therapists self-selected to participate in a questionnaire given out at a professional conference workshop on culture, and this was forwarded to further participants who expressed an interest. Some of the respondents self-identified as Māori. Five specialists were identified to interview: three occupational therapists, two Māori health specialists, one an occupational therapy specialist who was Pākehā. A professional workshop of around 24 participants, self identifying as Pākehā, also contributed to the identification of health perspectives. The final source of information came from the researcher‟s participation in numerous hui of varying sorts where Māori health was forwarded. Where appropriate, and in order to provide greater substance and depth to the research, selected quotes from these sources are used. These are further designed to bring a more personal feel to the research and to illustrate how the various concepts impact on lives and ultimately influence practice.
Traditional practice and Māori understandings of occupation were also explored as were the development needs of Māori occupational therapists as minor themes to the key findings.
Providing holistic occupational therapy care to Māori in a respectful and collaborative way will provide opportunities for the profession to have a positive impact on the health of individuals, their whānau and, in turn, their communities, hapū and iwi.