Tawhiti: An Indigenous Trauma Informed Harm Reduction Approach to Alcohol and Other Drug Use

Andre McLachlan, Waikaremoana Waitoki


Standard harm reduction approaches to alcohol and other drug harms do not adequately meet Indigenous needs or preferences for reducing risks or improving quality of life. In this article we identify and discuss important components of an Indigenous-centred harm reduction approach to alcohol and other drug-use concerns that are evident in the literature. Four critical components of an Indigenous approach to harm reduction are: (1) Whakapapa: Substance use harm reduction must consider the history and relationships between culture and community-specific harms, particularly colonisation and intergenerational trauma; (2) Huanui oranga: Incorporating the strengths, preferences, and strategies of Indigenous communities must be included to accurately and effectively respond to substance related harms; (3) Mauri ora, Whānau ora and Wai ora: Harm reduction efforts must seek to increase quality of life as defined by Indigenous communities; and (4) Ngā take pū o te tangata: Harm reduction must be guided by the values and principles of Indigenous peoples.

This article describes an Indigenous, trauma-informed harm reduction approach, Pae Tata Pae Tawhiti that incorporates a well-known Māori model of health, Te Whare Tapa Whā to centre Māori concepts of wellbeing. We include an overview of intergenerational trauma and introduce TAWHITI, a set of Indigenous trauma-informed harm reduction principles for Māori. Finally, describing a workforce development model that supports the application and future evaluation of the Pae Tata Pae Tawhiti framework.


The role of Kaumātua in Māori Health Workforce Development


A Māori Health Workforce with Lived Experience

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén