2016 World Indigenous suicide prevention conference

The Turamarama Ki Te Ora World Indigenous Suicide Prevention Conference organised by Te Runanga o Ngati Pikiao was held in Rotorua at the beginning of June. It attracted representatives from Canada, the USA, Australia and New Zealand with a Youth Summit running concurrently with the conference. 

The chair of our Waka Hourua leadership group Professor Sir Mason Durie, delivered a well-received keynote in which he emphasised that…

…world-wide action is needed and that the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous issues has a vital role to ensure that all Nation States and the US Assembly recognise indigenous suicide as a global challenge.” 

Sir Mason concluded by presenting the Turamarama Declaration for Suicide Prevention for endorsement by the attendees.

“My culture keeps me alive and well in my battle with mental health,” Joe Williams

Joe Williams, an ex- NRL (National Rugby League) player and professional boxer also presented a motivational keynote address.  

He acknowledged some mistakes he had made in the past and his struggles with mental unwellness. He now lives by several key principals he hopes to impart to others:  

  • Gratefulness – he is grateful to be alive. Every single day he has the chance to make an impact on someone’s life.
  • Compassion – every person we meet is fighting a battle we know nothing about.
  • Humility – to be able to admit when you’re wrong, turn your back on circumstances that may cause you personal trouble, and have the pride and dignity to lend a helping hand.  

Finally, Joe ended with some advice from his father:

Don’t every think you are better than anyone else: we all are just visitors to this scared land.”

Our congratulations to Sir Mason, Joe and all the other conference speakers, in in particular to Te Runanga o Ngati Pikiao which organised and delivered a positive and engaging conference. 

 

Denise Kingi-'Ulu'ave
About the author •
Denise is responsible for providing clinical leadership, direction and oversight across Le Va’s programmes. She has served the community in her extensive career as a clinical psychologist and in service roles within the health sector.