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He Kokonga Whare (HKW): Māori Intergenerational Trauma and Healing Programme

Korowai DRJ2011 - 2016  |  Health Research Council of New Zealand

Te Atawhai o Te Ao has taken on a major research programme called He Kokonga Whare: Māori Intergenerational Trauma and Healing. This programme will run from October 2011 to September 2016.

We are only the second Māori led programme awarded by the Health Research Council (HRC) in 20 years, and we have made history as the first HRC programme to be awarded to a community-based host.

This research focuses on Māori Intergenerational Trauma and Healing to generate new knowledge on inter-generational impacts among Māori. Māori experience high rates of trauma and these can be passed from one generation to another. We will investigate the ways that people make recovery from sexual abuse, from imprisonment and from cultural disconnection.

Interviews and hui will be undertaken around the country with those who have experienced trauma, those who have recovered from trauma, and those who work to help with recovery from trauma. We aim to find pathways to recovery and identify good practise that will be useful for whānau affected by trauma and those who work with whānau.

We acknowledge the collaborations that we have made with Professor Linda Smith at the University of Waikato, Professor Karina Walters director of the Indigenous Wellness Research Institute based at the University of Washington in Seattle, Dr Leonie Pihama at the MAIA Institute in Auckland and Dr John Reid at Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu; who will all collaborate on this research programme.

There are five main programme objectives that will be woven throughout all aspects of programme development. In particular, this programme will aim to:

  • identify and consolidate the empirical evidence-base which underpins and informs each project theme;
  • generate new knowledge about Māori experience within the specific contexts under study (alienation from ancestral land, reintegration into the community after imprisonment, sexual violence and the trauma recovery pathways);
  • pilot strategies, techniques and pathways for healing and recovery;
  • align with a raft of international initiatives which have been established to research and address the complexity of issues associated with indigenous experience of trauma and healing, particularly in Canada, Australia and the United States; and
  • create a New Zealand-based body of expertise and skill sets with a world-class online clearinghouse for collating or disseminating information and resources.

The overarching objective of this programme is to undertake a series of four research projects. Specifically, the research programme targets different contexts of trauma, recovery, and healing responses as manifest in four research:

  1. the Whenua, Historical Trauma and Health Outcomes project (Whenua Project);
  2. the Health and Wellbeing of Māori Prisoners on Reintegration to the community project (Prisoners Project);
  3. the Impact of Sexual Violence on Māori project (Sexual Violence Project); and
  4. the Māori Narratives of Trauma and Wellness project (Wellness Project).

Publications list

Positioning historical trauma theory in Aotearoa NZ by Leonie Pihama, Paul Reynolds, Cherryl Smith, John Reid, Linda Tuhiwai Smith, Rihi Te Nana.

Reconnections to Whenua by Paul Reynolds.

Reconnections to Te Reo Māori  by Cherryl Smith.

Te Hikoi - The Journey  by Christine Waitai-Rapana.

Intergenerational transmission of gang involvement and incarceration - Review of clinical practice by Andre McLachlan.