Te Atawhai o Te Ao event on Māori experiences of trauma, recovery and healing; Related research and resources

Thu 27 Jul 2023

Te Atawhai o Te Ao is hosting He Pounga Waihoe nā ō Mātua, a symposium of Māori experiences of intergenerational trauma, recovery and healing in August. Also see their growing collection of Whakapapa Research Project publications and related resources.

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2023 He Pounga Waihoe nā ō Mātua Symposium

Te Atawhai o Te Ao is hosting the 2023 He pounga waihoe nā ō mātua symposium on 18 August 2023 at Pūtiki Pā in Whanganui. It is a symposium of Māori experiences of intergenerational trauma, recovery and healing.

Key note presenters are Professor Linda Tuhiwai Smith and Dr. Rāwiri Tinirau. The symposium will feature presentations from Māori Master’s and Doctoral students, community researchers, whānau, hapū, iwi, service providers and others who are interested in Māori experiences of intergenerational trauma and healing.

Registrations for the symposium are open. The event is in person and will not be online. There is no cost for the event, but spaces are limited.

He pounga waihoe nā ō mātua is the new research programme at Te Atawhai o Te Ao, who writes that:

"‘He pounga waihoe nā ō mātua’, translates to the water which is displaced by the paddle of our ancestors. It acknowledges that the decisions of our ancestors to create a forward motion, require consistent effort that ripple and impact all aspects of life. More importantly, the work we do now, impacts our whānau now and into the future. The new programme recognises that in order for action to be initiated and momentum to be maintained that advances whānau health and well-being, we need to draw on our traditional knowledge as we navigate through unchartered waters."

The new programme proposes five overall research projects, based on Whanganui whakataukī that align with Te Atawhai o Te Ao research priorities for the next seven years:

  • Wairua: Spiritual nourishment and reciprocity.
  • Waiata: Cultural recovery and prosperity.
  • Waiora: Environmental well-being and enhancement.
  • Waimāori: Social resilience and identity.
  • Waipuna: Physical health and body sovereignty.

Te Atawhai o Te Ao is an independent Māori research institute for environment and health. Learn more about the Kaupapa of Te Atawhai o Te Ao.

Whakapapa research

Te Atawhai o Te Ao is coordinating a series of publications from 8 Whānau researchers on Whakapapa research. Several publications are planned within each topic area. The topic areas include:

  • Aspirational letter to future generations
  • Deoxyri- bonucleic Acid (DNA) and whakapapa
  • Kai
  • Matriarch
  • Research methodology and methods
  • Taonga
  • Whānau event
  • Whāngai
  • Whenua

The Whānau researchers are Miriama Cribb, Grant Huwyler, Tania Kara, Raukura Roa, Kaapua Smith, Rachael Tinirau, Hayden Tūroa and Raymond Tuuta.

There are many other resources available from Te Atawhai o Te Ao including digital stories and publications such as

Also see the collaborative projects of Te Atawhai o Te Ao that address Māori cultural approaches to violence prevention and intervention, historical trauma and health outcomes, and impact of sexual violence on Māori.

Related news

The new book, Ora: Healing Ourselves - Indigenous Knowledge, Healing and Wellbeing (2023), is a collection of writings from Indigenous thinkers and practitioners from Aotearoa and internationally. They look at the effects of trauma on Indigenous peoples across social, economic, political and cultural environments. The first part focuses on research findings from He Oranga Ngākau: Māori Approaches to Trauma Informed Care. It discusses tikanga Māori concepts, decolonising approaches and navigating mauri ora. The second part explores Indigenous models of healing, with a focus on connections to land and the environment, whakapapa connections and Indigenous approaches for wellbeing. The book is co-edited by Linda Tuhiwai Smith and Leonie Pihama, who co-authored several chapters. RNZ interviewed Linda and Leonie about the book.

The new book, Honouring Our Ancestors: Takatāpui, Two-Spirit and Inidgenous LGTBQI+ Well-being (2023), is a collection from authors from Aotearoa and Turtle Island (Canada and the United States of America) that explores the well-being of takatāpui, two-spirit, and Māori and Indigenous LGTBQI+ communities. The book was inspired by 2 research projects: the HONOR Project, which looked at well-being in American Indian and Alaskan Native two-spirit communities, and the Honour Project Aotearoa, which looked at Kaupapa Māori strengths-based understandings of the health and well-being of takatāpui and Māori LGBTQI+ communities. The book was co-edited by Alison Green and Leonie Pihama.

Linda Tuhiwai Smith published a series of illustrated books for tamariki. The books explore a range of issues to help tamariki understand and process trauma. The books cover topics including domestic violence, child abuse, suicide of a sibling, death of a baby and a mother’s long term illness. The books are available from the publisher, Huia Publishers. Waatea News interviewed Linda about the books. 

Related media

Book takes aim at Takatāpui oppression, Waatea News, 26.07.2023

Parenting the te ao Māori way | The Project NZ, Newshub, 18.07.2023

How trauma affects children and how to talk about it, RNZ, 11.05.2023

Pio Terei tackles those tough conversations between parents and teens with Māori humour, NZ Herald, 01.05.2023

Image: Harli Marten on Unsplash

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