Media release: Maea te Toi Ora: Māori Health Transformation

How Culture Is Transforming Mental Health 

‘Mental health issues are arguably the single greatest threat to Māori health and well-being,’ says Professor Te Kani Kingi, one author of the new book Maea te Toi Ora: Māori Health Transformations. This book brings together a number of Māori clinicians and researchers to explore the relationship between Māori culture and Māori mental health. It includes chapters by Mason Durie, Simon Bennett, Hinemoa Elder, Te Kani Kingi, Mark Lawrence and Rees Tapsell, with insightful case studies from their own experiences of working with Māori to restore well-being.

‘The lifetime prevalence of mental ill-health amongst the Māori population is greater than 50 per cent,’ Professor Kingi continues. ‘Of added concern is the fact that Māori tend to access services late, if at all, and at a point where options for effective treatment and care are limited. These issues are in stark contrast to historical patterns and trends where the mental health disease figures for Māori, at least when based on admissions, were far below those of the non-Māori population.’

During the last thirty years, a number of significant developments have facilitated the integration of Māori philosophies or principles into mental health service delivery in an effort to address deteriorating trends. Unless urgent and more comprehensive strategies are developed, mental health disorders are likely to continue to occur at the same rate, if not increase.

‘The book’s primary focus is to examine potential solutions and opportunities – in terms of clinical treatment and care, but also how environmental, political, cultural and strategic initiatives might be created to better promote Māori mental health,’ says Professor Kingi.

The book will be a resource for all those interested in the relationship between culture and mental health and the ways that current interventions and care options can be enhanced through improved levels of cultural insight.

Te Kani Kingi (Ngāti Pūkeko, Ngāti Awa, Ngāi Tai) is a professor at Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi in Whakatāne, and his specialist interests are mental health research, psychometrics and Māori health. The book will be launched on 28 June at the Eastern Bay Regional Health Summit at Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi in Whakatāne.


Maea te Toi Ora Māori Health Transformations