Strong, secure and nurturing whānau
‘Our voyage has enabled us to listen to many voices’
The Waka Hourua voyage heard voices from many directions. At a variety of meetings across Aotearoa testimonies from parents, friends and families provided forceful reminders of the ongoing impacts of suicide. Within those voices could be detected self blame, blame attached to ‘the system,’ concern that warning signs had been ignored or simply not heard, and a suspicion that even dedicated helping services had been unable to listen with a ‘third ear’.
There were also voices that advocated an enhancement of cultural, sporting, educational and whānau opportunities so that more people could enjoy higher levels of wellness and would therefore be less likely to contemplate suicide. These initiatives included: Eddie Harawira Whānau Trust, Ahipene Tākuta Werahiko Whānau Trust, Takerei Ruha Whānau Trust, Maketu Mental Health and Social Services, Te Hauora o Ngāti Hauā Trust and Te Hau Ora o Kaikohe. Te Hau Ora o Whānau Services and Ngāti Kahungunu ki Wairarapa.
Voices within families were especially loud as they should be. They were reminders of the pain that accompanies suicide and the unresolved grief that can endure, especially when it cannot be openly expressed. These initiatives included: Tū Tama Wāhine o Taranaki, Waiariki Purea Trust and Ngā Iwi o Mōkai Patea Trust.
Te Hau Ora o Kaikohe
Five marae based wānanga were offered to the communities in the Kaikohe region which focussed on building leadership, resilience and connectedness. The wānanga were a response to the marae whānau asking for support with suicide prevention. The activities addressed cultural knowledge, Māori protocols pertaining to the marae as well as specific suicide prevention information from two visiting hauora (health) services. The cultural and hauora knowledge gained from the wānanga provided the community with confidence that would strengthen their ability to provide suicide prevention.
Te Hauora o Ngāti Hauā Trust
Te Hauora o Ngāti Hauā Trust in the Waikato was concerned about suicide in their community, so part of the response was three wānanga were held between September to December 2014 intentionally focused on the capacity and wellbeing of whānau as a point of strength and hope. Suicide prevention was viewed as a natural component of whānau wellbeing. Working with large groups of whānau from within the hapū provided an ongoing support base and forum for whānau to discuss issues beyond wānanga. Building whānau understanding of depression and anxiety, its symptoms, triggers and knowledge of the support available will contribute to increasing whānau awareness and responsiveness. Bimonthly newsletters keep the whānau updated on relevant developments.
Ahipene Tākuta Werahiko Whānau Trust
Ahipene Trust created and implemented a whānau (family) centred suicide pre and post-vention approach based on developing and fostering resilience through establishing stronger connections with each other, to their traditional whenua (land) and through skill and leadership development. These activities took place during two wānanga (Māori focussed forums) particularly supporting rangatahi (youth) to connect with each other and land. Future wānanga were planned to offer further opportunities to strengthen identity.
Eddie Harawira Whānau Trust
This whānau based initiative drew on the commitment of whānau to kōrero (talk) about issues and work collaboratively to strengthen each other. Path plans were utilised to transform individuals. These plans focused on whakawhanaungatanga (building relationships), ngā manukura (leadership) manaakitanga (caring for each other), turangawaewae (a place to stand), te oranga o te whānau (health of the family), he kai kei aku ringa, pakihi (solutions), papakainga (community living) and matauranga (knowledge). Whānau were positive and made their commitment to reach their goals focused on strengthening themselves.
Maketū Health and Social Services
The goal of this project was to strengthen cultural identity through a series of tīkanga (protocols) programmes that emphasise the relationship of individuals with their socio-cultural environment reintegrating traditional Māori cultural values, philosophies, knowledge and practices into everyday lives of Māori whānau members. Tīkanga Māori programmes are culturally responsive for Māori looking to Māori culture as a pathway to suicide prevention. Knowing who you are provides a sense of belonging that prepares you to better cope with challenges. Cultural knowledge increases opportunities to participate in cultural settings that boost confidence. Accessing help when needed was also viewed as necessary.
Takerei Ruha Whānau Trust
This whānau based initiative encouraged talking about suicide and identifying key people and services that could assist them when needed. Finding solutions to a history of abuse was also a feature which involved lifting the silence in a safe environment. Strengthening themselves by developing pride in their whakapapa (genealogy and identity) and learning Māori culture and language meaningful for their whānau were also viewed as suicide prevention approaches for the Takarei Ruha whānau.
Te Waiariki Purea Trust
Te Waiariki Purea Charitable Trust is an organisation that services Rotorua, Taupo, Turangi and Muruparea areas. Ko Mātou, under the umbrella of Te Waiariki Purea Trust, Heeni and Taupe offered hope by telling their story of loss through suicide. The programme was run out of Houmaitawhiti marae (cultural spaces) and other Ngāti Pikiao marae to help re-engergise rangatahi and to develop resilience, leadership and to support, comfort and reassure those who have suffered from loss.
Tū Tama Wāhine o Taranaki
Suicide postvention workshops were offered to whānau, hapū, iwi and Pacific networks that focussed on lifting the lid on suicide to develop safe ways to talk about suicide and how to minimise harm. Mental Health first aid workshops were also completed that would further assist whānau.
Ngā Iwi Mōkai o Pātea Services Trust
Ngā Iwi Mōkai o Pātea Services Trust trading as Mōkai Pātea Services is one of five iwi health providers in the region that hold a collective kaupapa Māori mental health contract under the Whanganui District Health Board. A Pakiwaitara (story) Group was established to share stories of suicide awareness which produced a resource that can be utilised by other tangata whaiora (consumers). The storyline supported the concept of from Te Po (the darkness) to Te Ao Marama (the light).
The Pakiwaitara Group held a series of wānanga focused on whakawhānaungatanga (connection), how to put together a story and writing the stories which were held at different venues throughout the region. The aim was to build each other’s confidence and feel the support of those who may have had similar experiences. Connecting and strengthening whānau was an important step to creating a safe space for all the participants. They all identified a common goal of healing the mind through the expression of short story writing. The book Te Ao Marama 2015 was produced and is a compilation of short stories and poems written specifically by the six participants
Ngāti Kahungunu ki Wairarapa
Ngāti Kahungunu ki Wairarapa Charitable Trust (NKW) is dedicated to supporting the continuous development of culturally strong, healthy and vibrant whānau throughout the Wairarapa. NKW has long observed the impact of suicide on the whānau and community and is passionate about making a difference through the establishment of suicide prevention pathways. Under the subsidiary organisation set up by NKW, Te Kupenga o Wairarapa carried out the project of three promotional events to raise awareness, two strength based rangatahi noho (youth forums) developing leadership skills, six suicide prevention workshops on Question Persuade Refer training and four community and family based roadshows. The roadshows had input from various Māori and non-Māori organisations throughout the Wairarapa to put together events that brought whānau and communities together.
Te Hou Ora Whānau Services
Te Hou Ora Whānau Services (THOWS) is a community based Kaupapa Māori service provider located in Dunedin. Their project aimed to provide whānau with the skills and tools they need to “Live Life” as a means of suicide prevention. The initiative consisted of three noho marae (cultural forums and spaces), two sports days and a series of Interagency Cluster Hui. The activities provided an opportunity for whānau to engage in a fun, supportive and positive environment, where they could reconnect with their culture, grow together as a whānau, learn and/or develop practical life skills and network with services that can provide the supports needed.