Hei aha nga whakaaro o Ngati Ruanui mo te Whanau Ora? : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Philosophy (Nursing) at Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand
In Aotearoa New Zealand poorer health outcomes for Māori have been well documented. There is growing evidence that limited contact between whānau members has a potential negative impact on the health and wellbeing within the whānau. The term Whānau Ora has been widely used and variously defined by Māori over many years however there is no single shared definition of Whānau Ora, and little understanding about how it can be implemented by Māori health providers as a service delivery framework. This research expands on existing knowledge of Whānau Ora by identifying definitions, gathering data about Whānau Ora values and concepts, cultural beliefs and practices.
This research is informed by the worldview of healthcare for Māori. A number of hui (meetings) were held where Ngāti Ruanui iwi members were consulted and ten Ngāti Ruanui participants were interviewed. These participants identified meanings of Whānau Ora that included ‘being Māori’ and who they are (whakapapa) and how this translates to ‘how they live’ (Matauranga Māori), ‘self-definition’ (tino-rangatiranga) and how Whānau Ora is the ‘way forward’ to address past and present issues such as colonisation and inequalities.
This research employed a Māori-centred qualitative methodology which allowed Māori and Western belief systems their own integrity whilst working side by side, utilizing the energy of the two systems. Localising the research to Ngāti Ruanui Iwi members was intentional, to understand what members considered important. As the integrity of the participants was a central concern in the research, a methodology was adopted that was respectful and valued the participant’s worldview. Participants regarded Whānau Ora as a mechanism to assist whānau to “move on”, and advance as Māori. Whānau Ora was also regarded as an important future model of health that has the potential ‘do away’ with disparities and assist Māori in their efforts to strive for good health. The research concluded that Māori health outcomes will be much improved when they are delivered in ways that meet the cultural needs of Māori. The roles and responsibilities of the Crown must ensure that these changes develop and are done in collaboration with Māori organisations themselves which will ensure that any changes reflect the philosophies of Whānau Ora: optimal wellbeing.