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Let’s kōrero: Māori cultural safety sessions to benefit Hutt Valley DHB staff and patients



We want a conversation that adds value for both tangata tiriti (non-Māori) and tangata whenua, and our active partnership to make a rocking country: Aotearoa, says Hutt Valley DHB Pou Tikanga Rawiri Hirini.

In July 2020, Rawiri launched the first module of the Te Kawa Whakaruruhau Māori cultural safety training programme for all Hutt Valley DHB staff.

Te Kawa Whakaruruhau translates as a safe place made from principles.

The programme’s first module, Te Tiriti o Waitangi, will be an opportunity for staff to learn more about New Zealand from a Māori perspective, through the lens of Te Tiriti o Waitangi (The Treaty of Waitangi).

“You could argue we already are – but for who? Because there’s a large percentage of people within New Zealand who wouldn’t say we are a rocking country, and it tends to be more so Māori and Pasifika.”

About 23 per cent of Māori live in the Hutt Valley’s most deprived areas compared to 15 per cent of all residents. About a third of all hospital admissions for people under 25 were Māori this year.

Staff will learn about pre- and post-colonial New Zealand history including a breakdown of Te Tiriti articles, themes of racism, and bi-cultural themes for active partnership, Rawiri said.

Hutt Valley DHB Pou Tikanga Rawiri Hirini

“I think one of the outcomes Māori want to see within the health sector is to be spoken with not spoken to - that they get a say in how it goes.

“I know what they want might not always be what’s best for them, but I think they want to be understood that health is not just the physical health.

“That actually having someone with them the whole time is part of their mental health - we all want to feel supported. I think that’s a start.”

Last year, the health board launched its 2018-2027 strategy for Māori health, Te Pae Amorangi, which aims to achieve equity for Māori and non-Māori health within nine years.

“We want whānau to feel safe when they go through the journey of the hospital, and their outcome.

“It’s also about supporting out staff. We need to be safe in accommodation and navigating new Māori concepts to staff.”