New report compiles decades of contemporary mātauranga on violence; related webinar

Thu 09 May 2024

Te Pūkotahitanga has released a new literature review by Professor Denise Wilson that compiles contemporary mātauranga on violence. We are hosting a webinar.

photo of the Litany of Sound Revisited report

New report compiles decades of contemporary mātauranga on violence

Violence within whānau and mahi tūkino – A litany of sound revisited (2023) is a comprehensive literature review by Professor Denise Wilson (Tainui, Ngāti Porou ki Harataunga, Whakatōhea, Ngāti Oneone, Ngāti Tūwharetoa).

It gathers decades of contemporary mātauranga from Māori researchers into one place. It is designed as a reference resource for rōpū, kaimahi Māori, Māori communities and whānau, and as a roadmap for systemic change towards toiora. While the book is comprehensive, Professor Wilson says it "doesn’t have to be read from cover to cover", but is instead designed to be “a ‘pick up and put down’ pukapuka”.

We will be hosting a webinar to share the findings from the review and continue the kōrero and whakaaro from the report on 22 May 2024 with author Denise Wilson and Poata Watene (Waikato Tainui, Ngāi Te Rangi), Ngarongo Eaton (Ngā Ariki Kaiputahi, Whakatōhea, Tūhoe) and Te Whetu Mairangi (Whetu Horo) Balzer-Horo (Ngāpuhi, Te Arawa, Taranaki, Ngāti Porou). See details below or register to attend the free webinar.

In the report summary, she writes:

“Eliminating violence and mahi tūkino affecting whānau Māori must be a collective effort led by Māori. Addressing the contextual, historical and social conditions must underpin such an effort that enables the persistence of intergenerational violence and trauma within whānau Māori.”

She believes the book “ all about hope, and aspirations for what we can be again, over time.”

The literature review explored 6 questions (p1):

  1. How were whānau and hapū kept violence-free before colonisation? (Preface)
  2. What is violence within whānau and mahi tūkino? (Chapter 1)
  3. What is the contemporary landscape of violence impacting whānau Māori? (Chapters 2, 3 and 4)
  4. What is known about how to achieve wellbeing? (Chapter 5)
  5. What is known about Māori approaches and solutions? (Chapter 6)
  6. What are the evidential gaps? (Chapter 6)

The Preface explains “how whānau and hapū remained violence-free in traditional Māori society pre-settlement and pre-colonisation.” It recommends a return to Māori led solutions: “Solutions to violence within whānau and mahi tūkino lie within te ao Māori in mātauranga such as whakapapa kōrero and pūrākau tawhito.”

Chapter 1 describes whakapapa as central to understanding violence, toiora and whānau: "any violation, whether physical, psychological, emotional, spirtual or sexual, directly impacts whakapapa." It explains the understandings and terms used in the report. For example, the term ‘violence within whānau’ is used instead of ‘family violence’ or ‘whānau violence’. The report notes that “ violence disregards the many layers of intergenerational and contemporary burdens impacting whānau Māori...” while ‘whānau violence’ “...focuses readers’ attention on the whānau and risks blaming individuals and whānau for the existence of violence within their lives.” The report outlines the impact on whānau of violence outside whānau control, including:

“...the role of colonisation; intergenerational and historical trauma and violence; ongoing social, political, systemic and structural factors; and intersectionality and the multiple forms of oppression. Social issues like social marginalisation, racism, housing and income insecurity, and poverty also challenge many whānau.”

Chapters 2, 3 and 4 describe the contemporary landscape of violence impacting whānau Māori. Chapter 2 explores who is affected by violence and how. Chapter 3 explores the context of that violence, including oppression and marginalisation, Crown breaches of Te Tiriti and failures to protect Māori, and intergenerational trauma. Chapter 4 explores the ongoing impacts of colonisation, structural and institutional racism, and historical and intergenerational trauma.

Chapter 5 describes the many structural and systemic barriers to healing and wellbeing “such as the ongoing institutional failure and systemic entrapment to achieve wellbeing for whānau.” It then explains why Māori led approaches are neccessary to enable moving towards toiora.

Chapter 6 briefly highlights several Māori approaches and solutions for preventing and healing from violence, explores different frameworks for measuring flourishing whānau, and explains the the concept of and need for cultural intelligence. Finally it highlights several areas of focus for future work:

  • "Māori designed and led approaches and solutions for prevention and healing
  • Tangata whenua education and resources to support the mahi and whānau
  • Workforce development within tangata whenua providers of services for whānau with violence and mahi tūkino, and
  • Monitoring and reviewing tools enable measuring whānau strengths and growth rather than focusing on deficits and problems.”

Violence within whānau and mahi tūkino – A litany of sound revisited was commissioned by Te Pūkotahitanga to inform their activities. The report revisits and expands on the earlier unpublished report “A litany of sound: Māori insights into Family Violence and Sexual Violence” commissioned for the Interim Te Rōpū in 2019.

Te Pūkotahitanga is the independent ministerial advisory group to the Minister for the Prevention of Family Violence and Sexual Violence. Te Pūkotahitanga shared their Briefing to the Incoming Minister in February 2024.

Related webinar

Professor Denise Wilson along with Poata Watene, Ngarongo Eaton and Te Whetu Mairangi (Whetu Horo) Balzer-Horo will share reflections from research and practice, building on the kōrero of Violence within Whānau and Mahi Tūkino — A Litany of Sound Revisited, in a webinar on 22 May 2024. The speakers will share kōrero based on: 1) past evidence and learnings, 2) present insights and issues alongside 3) future dreams and aspirations from the next generation. Their kōrero blends research with real life expertise and solutions from out in the field at the flaxroots, from Māori kaimahi perspectives working in family violence and sexual violence in the community. Sign language interpretation will be provided in the webinar. Sign-up to attend the free webinar.

Related research

Violence within whānau and mahi tūkino – A litany of sound revisited sits alongside He Waka Eke Noa in establishing an evidence base for understanding and addressing violence. The final report from the He Waka Eke Noa project hosted by Tū Tama Wāhine o Taranaki was released in 2023: He Waka Eke Noa: Māori Cultural Frameworks for Violence Prevention and Intervention. He Waka Eke Noa is a groundbreaking Kaupapa Māori project. It is the first comprehensive study of violence centring the experience and expertise of Māori. It is presented in two main parts: whakawhiti kōrero from interviews and hui; and a national survey, which is the first to focus on Māori experiences of violence. Together they confirm the violence of colonising systems and structures, the ways the State harms Māori people and systems, and the potential of tikanga for collective safety and wellbeing. You can watch presentations from the 2023 He Waka Eke Noa seminar series, and earlier presentations. One of He Waka Eke Noa researchers, Professor Leonie Pihama spoke at the Treaty Based Futures and Anti-Racism 2024 online speaker series on He Waka Eke Noa: The Role of the State in Perpetuating Violence on Māori in March 2024.

Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety (ANROWS) has recently published the report What works? A qualitative exploration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander healing programs that respond to family violence (2024). The report provides findings from a project that explored what works in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander healing programs from the perspectives of the people who deliver, use and are impacted by the programs. The research also looked at the availability of healing programs for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander LGBTQIASB+ people and those with a disability. The project was Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander led and guided by Indigenous-centred research methodologies and qualitative research design. This is the second report from the project. The first report, published 2021 was a literature review: What works? Exploring the literature on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander healing programs that respond to family violence

Related media

We need a collective approach to safeguard whānau from violence, The Post, 17.03.2024

Professor examines ‘difficult’ topic, AUT University news, 12.03.2024

Pukapuka offers pointed to Māori-led violence response, Waatea News, 11.03.2024

New book explores roots of family violence, Te Ao Māori news, 10.03.2024

Denise Wilson on new book: Solutions to Māori family violence must be holistic, RNZ, 10.03.2024

Māori literature may hold solutions to tackling family and sexual violence, NZ Herald, 06.03.2024

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