Tirohanga Taiohi: Taiohi perspectives on gambling among whānau, hapu, iwi and urban Māori communities

Herd, Ruth
Wilson, Denise.L
Abbott, Max. W
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Doctor of Health Science
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Auckland University of Technology

In Aotearoa, New Zealand, the cultural milieu has been re-shaped by commercial gambling. Urban taiohi Māori experience diverse realities and for many ‘gambling is a fact of life.’ Commercial gambling was viewed as a good thing by those whose marae or sports clubs were supported by community trusts and Lottery funding. While others view gambling as damaging communities where people are already struggling. The purpose of this exploratory study was to discuss with taiohi Māori their perspectives on gambling among their whānau, hapū, iwi and communities. The aims of the study were to: (a) to explore the thoughts and views of taiohi (aged between 16 and 24 years of age) about gambling, and (b) to understand these thoughts and views as they relate to preventing and reducing harm from problem gambling among Māori whānau, hapū, iwi and Māori communities. This Māori-centred qualitative research utilised a kaupapa Māori framework Te Pae Mahutonga (Durie, 2003) to explore the perspectives of taiohi Māori about gambling and problem gambling among their whānau, hapū, iwi and Māori communities, and interpret these perspectives as they relate to a public health approach to preventing and minimising harm of problem gambling. Twenty-two urban taiohi Māori took part in 7 focus group discussions and their information was thematically analysed. A historical tribal narrative from the carved gateway of the marae was used as an interpretive lens to understand the findings. The thesis is structured utilising marae as a metaphor for the research process. Three key themes were identified; A sense of whānau and belonging; Gambling, it’s a fact of life and the Impact of gambling on taiohi. Three sub-themes were identified under each of these three main themes and are explored in-depth in the findings chapter. The results showed that taiohi are exposed to the inter-generational impacts of gambling, due to the close nature of their families and extended families who use gambling as recreation and as fundraising activities for family and cultural purposes. While many of the taiohi identified culturally as Māori, the culture is not necessarily a buffer against gambling harm as Māori communities are increasingly reliant on gambling activities and funding to maintain and upgrade marae facilities, whānau, sports and social activities. Taiohi reported gambling-related harms and were negatively impacted. Taiohi internalised whakamā or puuhi (shame, embarrassment, stigma) that hinders positive taiohi development, self-esteem and general wellbeing. Taiohi also offered solutions and pathways to reducing harm of gambling in their communities. Whānau was identified as a cultural strength as many taiohi were well connected with urban Māori communities, and maintained hapū and iwi and connections with their marae in the rural areas. Conversely, some taiohi were less well connected and required external support. The original contribution of this thesis is the TEKA model that allows for taiohi inclusion in the design of Māori health promotion programmes aimed at increasing knowledge among taiohi about the harms of problem gambling and reducing whakamā through programmes that promote high engagement with marae to reduce the harms of problem gambling for Māori whānau, hapū, iwi and urban Māori communities.

Māori , Youth , Problem gambling , Public health
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