Mai i muri ka haere whakahaere : Maori woman [sic] in mental health nursing : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in Nursing at Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand
For many years Maori women in mental health nursing have been subsumed within the dominant nursing and healthcare organisational cultures that are politically driven. This study aimed to examine the socio-political and cultural influences on the multiple realities (identities, role, relationship and status) of Maori women in mental health nursing in their homeplace, schoolplace and workplace. Maori women are distinguishable by their membership in three distinct groups derived from 1) whanau,
hapu, iwi, 2) western patriarchal experiences, and 3) cultural and colonising experiences
growing up in te ao Maori and te ao Pakeha.
Six participants --were selected to meet the aim and study objectives which are to explore the challenges they encounter and the strategies they use to meet these challenges; and to identify the contribution they make to mental healthcare. Maori women in mental health nursing are in a strong position by virtue of their whakapapa, 'mana wahine' and clinical expertise to make a substantial contribution towards positive health outcomes for tangata whaiora and whanau.
He Mana Wahine Tuku Iho framework was developed upon which to analyse the participants' korero. This framework is based in Maori cosmology and customary society and affirms the importance of whakapapa, te reo, tikanga and wairuatanga to Maori. There are three components to the framework 1) He Whakapapa o nga Atua, 2) He Whakapapa o Mana Wahine, and 3) He Tikanga o nga Wahine Rangatira. A qualitative methodology was used based in kaupapa rangahau which affirms Maori epistemology and ontology - matauranga, tikanga and mauri. From the initial contact and interview the participant's whakapapa was acknowledged. The participant's were afforded opportunities to authenticate the transcripts, ensure anonymity for themselves
and whanau, review chapters during the early writing-up phase, and contacted for clarification concerning points as needed during the later stages of the writing-up process.
Findings confirmed that growing up Maori in te ao Pakeha was challenging. Tension is evident at the interface of te ao Maori and te ao Pakeha with te ao Pakeha perniciously
imposing its values and beliefs in a way that actively undermined mana Maori and 'mana wahine'. Experiences beginning in childhood and continuing into adulthood served to strengthen the participants' identities as Maori women. These experiences also affirmed the importance of whakapapa, te reo, and tikanga in attainment of wairuatanga as a manifestation of well-being. Knowledge of and confidence in their multiple identities as Maori women enable the participants to contest and create space that allows them to successfully live in both worlds, meet the challenges of te ao hurihuri and fulfil both whanau obligations and professional responsibilities.