Prime Minister endorses kaupapa Māori response to Mental Health

The pilot that trialled an innovative bicultural Kaupapa Māori response to Tairāwhiti people in distress is now complete. However, the kaupapa on which the trial was based is here to stay.

This was confirmed by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern at the weekend as part of her budget announcement on securing access to Mental Health Services. She said that the emphasis on whānau and matauranga (knowledge and understanding) has helped many who haven’t found success with mainstream approaches.

Te Kuwatawata was the name of the pilot that applied indigenous matauranga to reframe people’s distress and find a way forward in their journey to wellness. The pilot started in September 2017 and finished in June 2019.

The pilot was (part) funded by the Ministry of Health’s Fit for the Future fund. This funding, combined with clinical services, formed the basis of the bicultural service.

A formal evaluation of the pilot was completed earlier this year and included recommendations for the ongoing development as part of the suite of Mental Health Services offered in Tairāwhiti.

What did the evaluation say? 

There is widespread support for the kaupapa. Reframing how we talk and think about distress while applying a Te Ao Maori approach has proven successful for Tairāwhiti people. Also successful was:

  • easy access from the city centre for all people in distress. The door is open to everyone at 73 Peel Street Gisborne – just walk in
  • timely response/no entry criteria
  • friendly culturally resonant non-clinical environment
  • working with whānau (rather than individuals)

What is next?

Te Kuwatawata partners - Te Kupenga Net Trust and Hauora Tairāwhiti staff will continue to build on the success outlined in the report and strengthen service delivery.  The recommendations in the evaluation are being actively responded to; some of which have already been progressed. The service remains a key access point for those in distress and needing support and guidance to access the right support. Referrals are accepted from all sources - General Practice, social service agencies, whānau and self-referrals.

Click here to read the Te Kūwatawata Evaluation [PDF, 3.6 MB]

Click here to read the Te Kūwatawata Board Cover Note [PDF, 664 KB]

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