Tēnei te Pō Nau mai te Ao: Mataora ai te ao! Collective Conscientisation: Indigenous Transformation

Diana Kopua, Mark Kopua, Michelle Levy


In Aotearoa New Zealand, the pūrākau (story) of Mataora, tells of an ariki (high chief) who had believed he was not accountable to anybody. However, guided by the love he had for Niwareka his wife, Mataora became a kaitiaki (guardian) for changing attitudes, beliefs and behaviours. Firstly, his own, and then actively influencing changes in those around him. Guided by the knowledge embedded in the pūrākau of Mataora, a new workforce has emerged with Te Whare Wānanga o Te Kurahuna as the workforce training provider. Te Whare Wānanga is a traditional name for a place of higher learning and Te Kurahuna refers to the hidden potential. Te Kurahuna understands genuinely addressing health equity for Māori requires a uniquely Indigenous approach to transformative workforce development. Te Kurahuna is the kaitiaki of Mahi a Atua (tracing ancestral footsteps). Positioned as a ‘way of being’, Mahi a Atua privileges Indigenous knowledge and practice as the basis for addressing institutional racism, strengthening best practice, and realising equitable outcomes for Māori. Te Kurahuna and Mahi a Atua are built on well-established theoretical and practice-based foundations of Kaupapa Māori (philosophy), whānau ora (family wellbeing) and cultural safety. Growing a critical mass of Mataora (change agents), challenges the dominance of a monocultural, bio-medical, deficit-oriented paradigm of mental health and wellbeing; de-centers the professional workforce; and facilitates a focus on the wider systemic factors needing to be addressed in order to achieve equity for Māori.


Editorial 2


The role of Kaumātua in Māori Health Workforce Development

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