This research programme considered Māori intergenerational trauma and healing to generate new knowledge on the intergenerational impacts among Māori. This project investigated the ways that people make recovery from sexual abuse, imprisonment, and cultural disconnection through four individual research projects, housed under the research programme. The projects are:

  • Whenua, Historical Trauma, and Health Outcomes
  • Health and Well-being of Māori Prisoners on Reintegration to the Community
  • Impact of Sexual Violence on Māori
  • Māori Narratives of Trauma and Wellness


Research outputs:

Positioning historical trauma theory in Aotearoa/New Zealand

Leonie Pihama, Paul Reynolds, Cherryl Smith, John Reid, Linda Tuhiwai Smith, and Rihi Te Nana

This article explores the relevance of historical trauma theory for Māori research. In exploring the impact of historical trauma upon Māori it has become clear that the terminology associated with historical trauma theory is considered controversial in Aotearoa/New Zealand. As such, this article provides an overview of key definitions relevant to historical trauma and explores these in relation to recent reporting related to the use of the terms “holocaust” and “genocide” in the context of colonisation in Aotearoa/New Zealand. It is argued that in order to engage fully with the impacts of colonisation on Māori well-being we must articulate fully the impact of historical trauma events and the contribution of those events to the negative health disparities experienced by many of our whānau, hapū, and iwi.

View it here


He Rau Murimuri Aroha

Dr Cherryl Smith, Dr Rāwiri Tinirau

This publication includes contributions from several Māori women scholars active in research and community initiatives. These writers speak to their understandings relating to the emerging field of historical trauma and healing research, including the impact of historical trauma in Aotearoa/New Zealand, and Māori experience of how it manifests in a range of positive and enlightening healing experiences in Māori communities.

View it here


Reconnections to Whenua

Dr Paul Reynolds

Dr Paul Reynolds shares a story of reconnection to whenua following a generational disconnection.


Reconnections to Te Reo Māori

Dr Cherryl Smith

Dr Cherryl Smith shares a story of reconnection to te reo Māori following a generational disconnection.


Te Hīkoi – The Journey

Christine Waitai-Rapana

Story of Christine Waitai-Rapana’s experience on the journey with the First Nations of Turtle Island: featuring Te Atawhai o Te Ao staff; Indigenous Wellness Research Institute Seattle staff, Washington; Members of the Choctaw nation and iwi from around Aotearoa; Pākōwhai Marae; Horouta Waka Ama; Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Hoani Waititi, and hosts from all over the country. A joint venture between the Indigenous people of Aotearoa/New Zealand and Turtle Island.