Waka Hourua

Waka Hourua is the Māori and Pasifika National Suicide Prevention Programme. Established in 2014, Waka Hourua aims to address issues of suicide within Māori and Pacific communities in Aotearoa (NZ).  Te Rau Ora (formerly Te Rau Matatini) & Le Va have established platforms called Te Au & Flo for life, to raise awareness and to address issues of suicide and self-harm in Māori and Pasifika communities.

The symbolism, of a double hulled waka, brings together Māori and Pasifika to provide a vehicle to counteract the stormy waters of self-harm and suicide amongst Māori and Pasifika communities. The waka represents a commitment to building the capabilities and capacity of Māori whanau, hapū, iwi and Pasifika families and communities to prevent self-inflicted deaths.

The desired outcomes of Waka Hourua: is to have strong and resilient Māori whānau, hapu, iwi, Pasifika families and communities.

Waka Hourua is guided by the New Zealand Suicide Prevention Action plan 2013-2016 as part of the New Zealand Suicide Prevention Strategy 2006–2016, which is currently being refreshed by the Ministry of Health to define the direction towards 2021 and beyond.

Waka Hourua Objectives

There are four primary objectives that guide the Waka Hourua Programme:

  1. Building the capacity and capability of Māori whānau, hapū, iwi, and Pasifika communities, to prevent suicide and to respond safely and effectively when and if suicide occurs.
  2. Ensuring that culturally relevant education and training are available to Māori whānau, hapū, iwi, and Pasifika communities that focus on building resilience and leadership.
  3. Building the evidence base of what works for Māori whānau, hapū, iwi, and Pasifika communities to prevent suicide, through research carried out by, with and for these groups.
  4. Building the leadership for suicide prevention.

There are three service components to the National Programme:

  1. The National Suicide Prevention Leadership Group
  2. The National Māori Community Suicide Prevention programme
  3. The National Pasifika Community Suicide Prevention programme

The national suicide prevention leadership group and the national Māori community suicide prevention programme are hosted by Te Rau Ora and the national Pasifika community suicide prevention programme is delivered by Le Va.

National Suicide Prevention Leadership Group

The Leadership Group provides a credible and visible voice for Māori and Pasifika Suicide prevention.  It acts as a Governance group to provide strategic advice and guidance to the National Programme.   Members on the Leadership Group  are recognised for or have a level of experience relating to suicide, suicide prevention, suicide postvention or mental health, be politically neutral in their role and able to influence key stakeholder groups.

A National Leadership Group for Māori and Pasifika Suicide prevention provides strategic advice and guidance for suicide prevention. Members are recognised for their expertise, and contributions to wellbeing. Representation also includes Te Rau Matatini, Le Va, and the Ministry of Health. The group meets quarterly. The members of the Waka Hourua leadership group currently are:

  • Chairperson: Sir Mason Durie (Rangitane, Ngāti Kauwhata)

  • Riki Nia Nia (Tuhoe, Ngati Kahungunu)

  • Kiri Rikihana (Ngati Raukawa ki te Tonga, Te Ati Awa ki Whakarongotai, Ngati Toa Rangatira)

  • Michael Naera (Te Arawa, Ngāpuhi, Kahungunu)

  • Usufonoimanu Peseta Betty Sio (Samoa)

  • Faumui Penelope Ginnen (Samoan Safune and Le’auva’a and Pakeha)

  • Ministry of Health: Dr John Crawshaw; Alison Thom; and Matafanua Hilda Fa’asalele

E Rere Tonu Te Waka

The Waka Hourua Leadership Group, under the direction of Sir Mason Durie compiled this summary of key messages from the projects and initiatives completed in the first three years. 

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