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Waka Hourua Māori & Pasifika Suicide Prevention Research Symposium

The first Waka Hourua Māori & Pasifika Suicide Prevention Research Symposium was held recently at the beautiful Waikato-Tainui College for Research and Development on Old Taupiri Road, Ngaruawahia. 

The purpose of the symposium was to give space for our successful Te Rā o Te Waka Hourua research fund recipients to meet, network and share information about their projects.   

The symposium was well attended and a number of guest speakers shared insights into their work including Pasifika researchers Sam Manuela (University of Auckland doctoral candidate, Pasifika identities) and Dr Byron Seiuli (University of Waikato postdoctoral research fellow, Pasifika young adult men and mental health).

Taimalieutu Kiwi Tamasese and Tafaoimalo Loudeen Parsons presented their study that is investigating cultural strengths and the links with suicide prevention approaches in Tokelauan, Cook Island and Samoan communities in the Wellington region. The study aims to develop suicide prevention mental health practices to pilot within mental health services based on cultural concepts and knowledge. 

To provide context Taimalieutu Kiwi Tamasese gave a comprehensive account of our regional Pasifika history and the implications it has on the current experience our Pasifika communities have in New Zealand. This mirrored aspects spoken to in the welcoming address by Dr Sarah-Jane Tiakiwai (academic director for the Waikato-Tainui College for Research and Development) the evening before regarding the history of Tainui and the lengthy and ongoing Treaty settlements. 

The similarities explained in these Māori and Pasifika histories resonated strongly with me and highlighted how appropriate it is that we are working together to tackle suicide prevention in a collaborative, supportive and yet independent approach that is Waka Hourua.

Dr Tepora Emery presented about the progress being made in their study looking at ‘recovery and redemption for whānau bereaved by suicide’ for Māori. This was a very moving presentation and will inform suicide postvention protocols. This study is also likely to provide useful insights for another Pasifika research project being led by Dr Jemaima Tiatia that aims to develop postvention guidelines for Pasifika individuals, families and communities bereaved by suicide. Unfortunately Dr Tiatia was unable to be present at this symposium due to attending the 28th World Congress for the International Association for Suicide Prevention. 

Our symposium was a huge success and we are very grateful to all those that attended, Waikato-Tainui College for Research and Development for hosting us and assessing panel members Professor Linda Nikora, Dr Tepora Emery and Dr Mele Taumoepeau and Dr Kahu McClintock and her team for convening this hui-fono. We hope to hold another symposium when the Te Rā o Te Waka Hourua funded projects have concluded in 2016-17.

Malo ‘aupito.

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Covid-19 Update

Face-to-face workshops will not continue while New Zealand is at Level 4. We will be in contact with all participants soon.