Maori health models are built on four cornerstones: whänau (family health), tinana (physical health), hinengaro (mental health) and wairua (spiritual health). Traditional healing includes mirimiri (massage), rongoa (herbal treatments) and karakia (spiritual prayer). Traditional healers incorporate the spiritual dimension in assessment and therapy and do so in a culturally relevant way.
For many Maori the major deficiency in modern health services is taha wairua (spiritual dimension). This failure of predominantly Pakeha (Non- Maori) health providers to appreciate Maori cultural perceptions of health, in combination with socio-economic conditions and genetics, has meant statistics on Maori health care compare very poorly with those of non-Maori (Pakeha).
Reducing the health inequalities that affect Maori is a key priority for New Zealand’s Ministry of Health.
He Korowai Oranga (New Zealand’s Maori Health Strategy) is based on three key principles, which incorporate principles of the Treaty of Waitangi and an understanding that Maori will have an important role in implementing health for Maori.
These principles are:
- Partnership – working together with iwi, hapu, whanau and Maori communities to develop better outcomes for Maori health gain and appropriate health and disability services.
- Participation – involving Maori at all levels of the sector, in decision-making, planning, development and delivery of health and disability services.
- Protection – working to ensure Maori have at least the same level of health as non-Maori, safeguarding Maori cultural concepts, values and practices.
There are about 240 Maori health providers contracted to District Health Boards. They tend to deliver services to predominantly – but not exclusively – Maori clients. In addition there are a number of providers of health and disability services to Maori.
For more information and links please refer to the Ministry of Health website relating to Maori Health.