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