"It really puts women in charge of what they're seeking : wāhine Māori experiences of using online technologies in pregnancy : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science in Psychology at Massey University, Te Kunenga ki Pūrehuroa, Albany, New Zealand

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Massey University
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Online technologies, including social media, mobile applications, portals and communication technologies are part of everyday life. Women are using different online technologies in order to inform themselves, keep track of and monitor their health, connect with friends, whānau (family) and health professionals, and to be part of the online world. The current reality for Māori today is that even after decades of research, policies and improvements, disparities in health care continue to be experienced, resulting in inequitable health outcomes. The COVID 19 pandemic forced health providers to use telehealth and other online technologies to keep people updated and provide health services. Continuing to integrate telehealth and technologies into post COVID-19 service delivery could enhance maternity care. The aim of this research is to explore wāhine Māori (Māori women) experiences with online technologies during pregnancy and their potential to support maternity care engagement and provision. 10 wāhine, six mama (mothers) and four Māori midwives, shared their experiences and thoughts through semi-structured interviews and one focus group. Reflexive thematic analysis was used to analyse their kōrero (discussion). The findings show online technologies are able to provide avenues for support and connection. Tikanga (customary values and practices) such as whakawhanaungatanga (establishing relationships) and tino ranatiratanga (self-determination) could be enacted through online channels enabling, increased opportunities for whānau involvement and empowerment in decision-making. Wāhine were able to connect with mātauranga Māori (Māori knowledge) pertaining to traditional birthing practices and Māori maternities online, by following Māori social media influencers and being part of online communities. This research illustrates the potential for online technologies to be integrated alongside kanohi ki te kanohi (face to face) maternity services, to support the provision of culturally responsive, equitable maternity care. The online environment provides multiple avenues in which wāhine can engage and interact to support the development of a secure cultural identity and to establish and maintain relationships that are vital for holistic health and wellbeing. It also further demonstrates the drive and desire hapū māmā (pregnant mothers) have to engage with maternity care information and services, if it is delivered in a way that is relatable, culturally enhancing and whānau-led.
Māori Masters Thesis