He ara ki te ao mārama : a pathway to understanding the facilitation of taha wairua in mental health services : a thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for a Masters of Arts, Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand
This research is about the facilitation of taha wairua (spirituality) in mental health
This research has been guided by kaupapa Maori frameworks and aimed to answer three questions:
· Whether taha wairua, supported by matauranga Maori can be verified as a
valid concept for use in mental health services
· How Maori cultural and clinical workers facilitate taha wairua within a kaupapa Maori approach, and,
· How the use and influence of taha wairua facilitates the inclusion of
The increasing acceptability of alternative and holistic approaches to healing often
with a spiritual component deserves serious consideration, especially within the area
of mental health services.
The literature shows that indigenous views of health and healing are valid and deserve recognition and acceptance in mental health services. The Treaty of Waitangi, the founding document of New Zealand, underpins Maori rights to the facilitation of taha wairua practices in Western health systems. Current New Zealand mental health policy and legislation provide strategies to progress the facilitation of Maori healing interventions in mental health services. It is noticeable, however, that these strategies are not built on the Treaty of Waitangi but are built on health disparities. The literature also supports the concept that there is a place in the
recovery process for both spirituality and religious beliefs, and Western and cultural
interventions. The data illustrate how tikanga Maori either practised solely in its
natural form or within the framework of Maori models of health is beneficial to health outcomes for tangata whai ora and whanau when supported by the facilitation
of taha wairua.
The research data provided the foundation for components that can produce a
framework for the facilitation of the concept of taha wairua within the scopes of
practice of kaimahi Maori in mental health services. Some standards for best practice in supporting taha wairua within the cultural component of all Maori working in mental health have also been proposed.
Maori do not have the critical mass to achieve all that has been raised in this
research, and the principle of collective responsibility needs to be applied to provide
the necessary resources and support to achieve implementation of Maori healing
frameworks to facilitate taha wairua in mental health services.
It is hoped the knowledge gained from this research will be useful to policy makers
and managers in gaining insight into the benefits of healing for tangata whaiora,
whanau and kaimahi Maori through the provision of appropriate cultural
interventions and in providing an appropriate environment to enable physical and spiritual healing to take place. It is also hoped Maori too will find this research of benefit, particularly to inform scopes of practice, thereby providing potential for new
ways to achieve best practice cultural and clinical practice.