Kuki Airani leadership through service
The Cook Island Health Network Association saw a gap in resources specific to Cook Islands communities to inform them on what works for preventing suicide.
This community funded initiative project for suicide prevention builds on Le Va’s work creating pan-Pacific resources, in this case Cook Islands specific resources in te reo Māori o te Kuki Airani and English. In particular, it focused on the development of a digital resource that can be used in a variety of contexts, i.e. church, family, community, peer groups and workplaces.
The project was implemented in three stages.
- Bringing together good information – this included Cook Islands and mainstream clinical literature recommendations.
- A focus on creating conversations in the form of regional focus groups in New Zealand. The objectives of the conversations were multi-faceted, including the fostering of relationships within communities, increasing awareness/identifing risk factors, considering best response approaches, collecting stories of survival, resilience and strength, and identifying community navigators to support the advocacy of the tool/resource to be produced.
- Producing and piloting the resource/s within communities.
All stages were heavily reliant on quality leadership from credible people within the Kuki Airani community in New Zealand.
These included people with cultural expertise and regional leaders well-established in the field of suicide prevention and community development within their local area/communities i.e. Tokoroa, Auckland and Hawke’s Bay. They were able to bring together concepts of anau, kopu tangata, iti tangata, and matakeinanga to begin conversations about how to deal with the presence of suicide in Cook Islands communities.
As the initiative progressed, other contributors or “credible voices” were included; Alfred Ngaro, Pepe Sinclair and Papa Dr Joe Williams to name a few.
The final product includes three video clips reflecting young people, family, and credible voices. These will be made available for any community group to pick up and use as the basis for good, solid, safe suicide prevention and postvention work for Cook Islands people.
Throughout this project relationships have been established, resumed and strengthened to create the resource. For those involved with the project, it is notable that it has managed to embrace the positive aspects of family, significant others, song, dance, spirituality and new ways of talking about suicide.
Scenes from the videos