Article examines Indigenous guidance in mortality reporting

Mon 11 Oct 2021

A new article reflects on the use of a Māori responsive rubric, Te Pou, and related guidelines by the Family Violence Death Review Committee (FVDRC) when producing their sixth report.

The article, Getting the Story Right: Reflecting on an Indigenous Rubric to Guide the Interpretation of Mortality Data, was authored by FVDRC Chair Fiona Cram (Ngāti Pāhauwera), Senior Policy Analyst at the Health Quality & Safety Commission Heidi Cannell (Ngāti Apakura) and FVDRC Senior Specialist Pauline Gulliver.

Te Pou (2019) is a Māori responsive rubric designed to provide guidance to mortality review committees at the Health Quality & Safety Commission for interpreting and reporting on Māori mortality. Te Pou outlines four pou: 

  • Tika (Getting the story and the interpretation right)
  • Manaakitanga (Being culturally and socially responsible)
  • Mana (Advancing equity, self-determination, and social justice)
  • Mahi tahi (Establishing relationships for positive change).

The authors examine how the FVDRC addressed each of the four pou when developing, writing and sharing their sixth report. The authors also discuss lessons learned and highlighted where ongoing work was required:

“[mahi tahi] is a forward facing pou—one that provides an ongoing challenge for the FVDRC to advocate for positive, transformative change for Māori and to continue to seek active engagement”

The paper further focussed on the need to:

  • centre Indigenous data sovereignty
  • ensure continual active engagement with Māori stakeholders
  • recognise and uphold Māori rights to equity.

In concluding the authors note that Te Pou and the guidelines are not a checklist and that:

"The implementation of Te Pou requires relational practice with Māori stakeholders and an upholding of kaupapa Māori knowledge. Resources must be made available at the start of report development to ensure a partnership approach to report writing that has the flexibility to attract additional expertise where it is needed. Currently, there is a tendency to require “Māori input into the interpretation of results” at a point where data has already been collected and analyses run. The implementation of Te Pou requires that the power balance is shifted, and that culturally safe spaces are created for all phases of report development—from conceptualization to publication and subsequent follow-up engagement with stakeholders. Culturally safe spaces can be created by intentionally considering the makeup of MRCs to embed Indigenous world-views."

Te Pou was designed by Ngā Pou Arawhenua, the Māori caucus for the mortality review committees. Ngā Pou Arawhenua also developed good practice expectations and guidelines when using Te Pou. The guidelines outline culturally appropriate components that should be part of the process of writing reports and developing recommendations. 

For information about the development of Te Pou and the guidelines, see the article Improving the quality of mortality review equity reporting: Development of an indigenous Māori responsiveness rubric (2020) by Denise Wilson, Sue Crengle and Fiona Cram.

Related news

The FVDRC has brought attention to the recent high number of family violence homicides in Aotearoa New Zealand writing

"While we have been otherwise distracted by level 4 lockdowns, the family violence sector has been working hard to address the escalation in violence within homes. However, as many commentators have indicated, this lockdown is a lot worse than previous experiences, and our homicide statistics tell this story. In seven weeks, we have seen eight family violence homicides. We know the experience of family violence fuels the risks of death by suicide. It is unclear how many more we have lost over this time through family violence related suicide."

The September e-update from the Joint Venture on Family Violence and Sexual Violence provides information about safety messaging related to family violence and sexual violence and COVID-19 alert levels.

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