A Māori Health Workforce with Lived Experience

Leilani Maraku


In Aotearoa (New Zealand), a Māori health workforce with their own lived experience of mental distress and or addiction is vital to contribute to the wellbeing of Māori who currently have the same issues. Little is known about the Māori lived experience workforce in Aotearoa. This article presents the results of an online survey by Te Kete Pounamu, a national organisation of Māori with lived experience, asking questions of the Māori lived experience workforce.  The aims of the survey were to profile the Māori workforce with lived experience and to identify the professional development needs of these workforce members.

Two hundred and fifty Māori workers with lived experience responded. The majority (85%) had lived experience of mental distress. Over half of the respondents held higher educational qualifications of diploma’s and above and were mainly employed in Non-Government Organisations (NGO), mental health services, and Kaupapa Māori mental health services. They worked as support workers, team leaders, service managers, Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) practitioners and peer support workers. Almost all respondents (99%) felt their lived experience added significant value to their practice with others, provided them with empathy and the ability to authentically advocate for others with similar experiences. Professional development needs included requests for Mātauranga Māori (knowledge), mainstream training and skills, and higher-level academic courses. Respondents supported Māori lived experience as its own professional workforce identity.


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