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Whare Māori portal aims to increase support for Māori communities

  • Rihi Tenana and Jenny Lee-Morgan

Increasing support for Māori communities is at the centre of a collaborative response between the New Zealand Family Violence Clearinghouse (NZFVC) and Ngā Wai a Te Tūī, Unitec’s Māori and Indigenous Research Centre.  The extraordinary circumstances created with the onset of COVID-19 and the government’s response of social isolation has highlighted the importance of providing a dedicated platform for Māori communities to ensure their voices are heard.

Keeping whānau and communities safe, informed and talking to each other is paramount.  The existing working relationship between NZFVC and the Ngā Wai a Te Tūī team has helped fast-track plans to formalise an important relationship with Māori.

NZFVC will launch the ‘Whare Māori’ portal on its website (nzfvc.org.nz/) which will provide important COVID-19 violence prevention information, korero and activities to support whānau Māori and Māori community providers.

Ngā Wai a Te Tūī will work with NZFVC to capture relevant material and commentary from Māori individuals and communities to ensure their voices are built into future support and prevention strategies.  The portal will provide:

Pou Āwhina - Information on support and services available  
Pou Manaaki - Activities to keep well and safe           
Pou Kōrero - Conversations, interviews and  commentaries to support whānau living in these extraordinary times           

While Ngā Wai a Te Tūī has only been on the research landscape for a year, the dedicated team has produced significant outcomes for Māori and Indigenous communities. 

Director of Ngā Wai a Te Tūī, Professor Jenny Lee-Morgan, has supported the ongoing dialogue between senior researchers Rihi Te Nana and Professor Leonie Pihama, and the NZFVC to co-create a Te Tiriti governance framework that better serves the needs of whānau Māori, and Māori service providers actively involved in the sexual and domestic violence prevention across Aotearoa, New Zealand communities.

This collaboration between Ngā Wai ā Te Tūī and the national network watchdog NZFVC has been in the pipeline since June 2019.  Pihama and Te Nana, alongside other Māori researchers, practitioners and healers have grown significant and important body of Kaupapa Māori research that examines historical and intergenerational trauma and the impact of sexual, domestic violence upon whānau, hapu and iwi. Their research has focussed on Kaupapa Māori healing interventions that support affirmative whānau transformational change towards whānau ora and flourishing whānau.

Such research findings have highlighted the need for organisations like the NZFVC to seriously consider strategic alliances with Māori; making space available within organisational structures to include Māori in the strategic and operational processes that effectively impact this sector.

NZFVC was in the throes of establishing a Whare Māori to demonstrate their intent to positively address family violence in partnership with Māori, when the pandemic hit Aotearoa.  This collaboration with NZFVC demonstrates an authentic treaty-based relationship between tangata whenua and tangata tiriti where the expectation that domestic and sexual violence intervention and prevention work with whānau Māori is determined and driven by and for Māori.

‘He Waka eke noa tātou’

Researcher Rihi Tenana / Professor Jenny Lee Morgan