Surfing the waves

As part of the 5th International Conference of Te Ao Māramatanga (New Zealand College of Mental Health Nurses), Le Va supported ‘Surfing the Waves’ with a post conference half day workshop that focussed on engaging Pasifika families and communities in mental health services.  

Hamilton hosted the 5th International Mental Health Nursing conference with the theme “Surfing the Waves” specifically the “Fourth Wave”, described by Sir Mason Durie, as a time in which there is less of a focus on disorders, but more of a focus on “dysfunctional relationships, behaviours, exaggerated responses to life crises…poor physical health…failure to adapt to changing times and circumstances”.

The 5th International conference looked at how our mental health nurses, surf and navigate the “Fourth Wave” in a culturally appropriate, person-centred and family/whanau inclusive approach that transcends across all sectors/settings.

Le Va facilitated a short Engaging Pasifika (EP) workshop. 

The beach theme resonated with Le Va, like the Hoff on Baywatch, Eroni provided the following safety tips for new surfers to avoid cultural rip currents:

  1. Relax: If caught in unfamiliar waters, do not resist, understand that Culture matters, and that a lot of Pasifika values are similar to other cultures, it’s about perspective.
  2. Do not panic: A lot of people when caught in a rip, try to swim against the current. If stuck, raise your hand and ask for help, check with cultural experts in your area, ask the individual or their family. 
  3. Swim parallel to the shore: Once you develop an understanding of Pasifika values and perspectives, often it takes a few seconds to assimilate this into one’s attitudes and knowledge. Hopefully, you can get a better feel of the cultural current, pull yourself free and engage more effectively. Remember there’s a lot of Grace within the Pasifika Culture. When you engage with authenticity and genuineness of care, the currents of engagement are a lot more forgiving.

Thank you to Suzette, Amber Brebner and Tish Siaosi for allowing Le Va the space on the beach.

More Information on Te Ao Māramatanga: http://www.nzcmhn.org.nz/ 

Apollo Taito
About the author •
I joined Le Va in May 2017 and want to develop health services that are innovative, relevant and service user and family/aiga centred.