Mai i te Puna Whakaaro ki te Pūwaha o te Arawai

Rogers, Neil
McKenna, Brian
Mikahere Hall, Alayne
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Master of Philosophy
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Auckland University of Technology

The Waikeria hapū groups the Mana Whenua-Ahi Kā faced two central crisis in the Ara Poutama Aotearoa Department of Corrections (APADoC) system. The high Māori reoffending rates and that nearly all prisoners had mental health or addictions disorders or both in their lifetime. APADoC responded with ‘Hōkai Rangi’, the five-year strategic plan to find new ways of doing things to achieve better outcomes with Māori and their whānau. Central to this plan is for APADoC to work in Crown-Māori partnership for the wellness and wellbeing of the people in their care and management and their whānau.

The aim of the research was to understand the foundational dimensions of the mental health and addiction service at Waikeria prison from the perspective of the local hapū people, the Mana Whenua-Ahi Kā, who led the co-design.

The research is qualitative using kaupapa Māori methods for collection and analysis of the principle of Āta, Pūrākau, Te-Āta-Tū Pūrākau and Thought Space Wānanga. The five Mana Whenua-Ahi Kā research participants pūrākau were rich and indepth of their lead of co-design for the Foundation Document with APADoC staff. The pūrākau provided understanding of the Mana Whenua-Ahi Kā partnership and relationship with APADoC.

Co-design with the Kaupapa Māori approach was led by the Mana Whenua-Ahi Kā as a APADoC partner. The co-design of the Foundation Document for the care of tāne incarcerated in Waikeria prison and their whānau is based on tikanga, mātauranga Māori, and Te Ao Māori which includes Te Ao Wairua.

The findings of this research are the foundational relationship for Mana Whenua-Ahi Kā with APADoC was their whakapapa to Waikeria whenua. The development of the Foundation Document has reaffirmed Mana Whenua-Ahi Kā self-determination over the Waikeria whenua that they have always held control over. The Mana Whenua-Ahi Kā expectations require APADoC to demonstrate a genuine commitment to maintain and sustain Te Ao Māori, tikanga and mātauranga Māori evident in the Foundation Document.

A key recommendation from this study is to ensure that APADoC have their own kaumatua; a kaumatua to guide APADoC at all times in interactions with Māori such as Mana Whenua-Ahi Kā.

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