An explorative study into the everyday lives of young Māori fathers

Angus Elkington


Little research exists that explores the positive aspects of young Māori fathers. The aim of this study was to explore the everyday lived reality of expectant and young Māori males as fathers and partners, within the context of a positive based approach and Kaupapa Māori research framework. A secondary objective of this study was to provide ideas to enhance parent resources for young Māori fathers, such as father centric parenting programmes and mobile applications. The research was derived from semi structured interviews which explored the unique experiences and narratives of eight young Māori fathers between the age of 16 and 25 years of age. Using thematic analysis, the findings were categorised into key themes that portrayed their perception and attitudes to roles, responsibility, relationships, barriers, and wellbeing strategies. The young Māori fathers showed a strong desire to be involved with their children and that the quality of whānau (family) relationships provided resilience, support, and motivation to fulfil the responsibilities of fatherhood. The young Māori fathers had strong goals and aspirations but acknowledged barriers that delayed their ability to achieve them. In the outcome of the study I have tried to challenge negative stereotypes that persist in New Zealand and portray a positive understanding of young Māori fathers. Furthermore, the research supports the need for restorative cultural practices as the key to wellbeing for our whānau and further investigations in regard to policy reforms and resources to include full participation in society for young Māori fathers.

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