Positioning historical trauma theory in Aotearoa NZ

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 colonization in Aotearoa New Zealand. It is argued that in order to engage fully with the impacts of colonization on Māori wellbeing 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.


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