The global phenomenon of population ageing has major ramifications for societies and
governments around the world. In New Zealand, efforts to address the impacts of population
ageing have centred on the Government’s Positive Ageing Strategy.
This is a thesis about positive ageing as viewed through Maori eyes. It has been informed by the
memories and aspirations of older Maori who have lived through challenging times but have
emerged with qualities that enable them to enjoy older age and to contribute to their own
whanau, Te Ao Maori (the Maori world) and Te Ao Whanui (wider society).
The thesis is philosophically located at the interface between Western science and matauranga
Maori, an Indigenous inquiry paradigm. It is argued that Western science and matauranga Maori
are relevant to research in the contemporary context, and reflect the realities of older Maori who
live in both Te Ao Maori and Te Ao Whanui. The study used research techniques that draw on
Western science (literature review), matauranga Maori (review of 42 Maori proverbs) and both
inquiry paradigms simultaneously (qualitative study with 20 older Maori people).
The research found that Maori positive ageing can be characterised by a two dimensional
concept that incorporates a process dimension and an outcome dimension. The process
dimension is consistent with a lifecourse perspective and therefore recognises that ageing is a
life-long process where circumstances encountered during life may impact cumulatively and
manifest in old age. The outcome dimension can be described in terms of complementary
‘universal’ and Maori specific outcome domains. The universal outcome domains are
encapsulated in the New Zealand Positive Ageing Strategy and more recently are expressed in
the Positive Ageing Indicators 2007 Report. The Maori-specific outcome domains identified in
this Study are: kaitiakitanga – stewardship; whanaungatanga – connectedness; taketuku –
transmission; takoha – contribution; takatu – adaptability; and, tino rangatiratanga – selfdetermination.
The overarching outcome domain is taupaenui – realised potential.