Ki te mārama i te tangata me mārama hoki i tōna ao : Are cultural competencies critical for Māori mental health practitioners? : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Philosophty (Maori Studies), Massey University
“Ki te mārama i te tangata me mārama hoki i tōna ao” (if you wish to understand a
man, know the world in which he lives) is a contribution to the field of cultural and
clinical practice. It offers insight into the connections between cultural and clinical
modes of service delivery and the inevitable interface between the two. In a broader
sense, it also speaks to the application of traditional concepts to modern times –
synergies and parallels, but also conflicts and contradictions.
The research is an illustration of how it might be possible to walk in two worlds, and
how this might be within health service settings. The methodology uses literature and
formal interviews to formulate the research findings and to support the development
of a Mātauranga Māori model of practice and service management – The Raukura
Framework. A single hypothesis is central to this work: “Are cultural competencies
critical for Māori mental health practitioners?”
“Me he toroa ngunungunu” (like an albatross with its head nestled under its wing) is
the whakatauākī that has guided this work. Known for its majestic and inspiring
presence, the toroa or (albatross) has often guided Māori. In traditional times the bird
was seen as a chiefly figure, a symbol of high rank, and a metaphor for greatness
and nobility. In this thesis, these types of metaphors are interwoven in its design;
they have shaped and guided the research, and like the toroa they will hopefully
reach beyond the pages of study to explore new horizons and new levels of insight.
Moreover, to provide a catalyst through which sustained and positive health outcome
for Māori might be achieved.