'Tu ga na inima ka luvu na waqa' : (The bail to get water out of the boat is in the boat yet the boat sinks) : the cultural constructs of health and wellbeing amongst Marama iTaukei in a Fijian village in Lau and in a transnational Fijian community in Whanganui, Aotearoa : a thesis presented in fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Social Policy at Massey University, Palmerston North, Aotearoa

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Massey University
The study identified that there are a number of criteria that have to be met in order for Marama iTaukei or Indigenous Fijian woman to be perceived as healthy. Findings suggest that current health frameworks need to take into account the determinants of health that are informed by cultural constructs that emerged as key findings in this study including: Dau veiqaravi or being of service, Taucoko ni qaravi itavi or completion and completeness of tasks, Na veiwekani or maintaining harmony in relationships and Kena I rairai outward reflection or physical appearance and Bula vakayalo or Sprituality. Exploring the intricate and delicate weaving of Fijian epistemologies and Western philosophies as illustrated through the Tanoa Health Belief Framework emerging from the findings in this thesis, may ideally be the future to improving health and wellbeing for, Marama iTaukei. The Tanoa Health Belief Framework has been developed to assist health and community workers to assess the determinants of health and wellbeing amongst Fijian women. This was a qualitative study with a total of 23 participants conducted in two geographical locations, one in Fiji and one in Aotearoa. The study was not a comparative study however; the study in Fiji enabled an exploration of how perceptions and experiences of health and wellbeing have evolved as Fijian women have migrated to Aotearoa. Ethnography was used as the overarching methodology as well as the Vanua methodology. Methods used included talanoa, participant observation and photovoice. In terms of methodology, a Tali magimagi Framework pulled together the strands of what constitutes this thesis. This includes the process of ‘cultural discernment’ emerging from the ethics process encountered in this research. The concept of ‘culturally embedded agency’ is also presented in this thesis arguing that there needs to be an agency-oriented approach to women’s agenda. Culturally embedded agency calls for social policy that incorporates full participation of women in society, inclusive of indigeneity goals, cultural wellbeing and fairness. Implications of this study and recommendations are based on ensuring that health and wellbeing is achieved for the Marama iTaukei.
Women, Fijians, Health and hygiene, Lau Province, Fiji, Whangarei, Aotearoa, New Zealand, Marama iTaukei