A Qualitative Descriptive Study of Tū Tahanga, a Kaupapa Māori Adapted Violence Prevention Programme, in a Forensic Mental Health Inpatient Unit
Introduction: Forensic mental health services are tasked with rehabilitating service users with mental illness and offending behaviour. Service users are provided with a range of interventions that target mental illness and address the risks associated with recidivism and may include violence prevention programmes. Such programmes are Eurocentric in their orientation, yet the majority of forensic mental health service users in New Zealand are Māori, the indigenous people of New Zealand (Ministry of Health, 2007). Therefore, an evidence-based violence programme was adapted in an attempt to be culturally responsive to Māori service users. The Tū Tahanga programme is a kaupapa Māori (Māori orientated) violence prevention programme delivered in an inpatient forensic mental health unit in the Auckland Regional Forensic Psychiatric Services.
Aim: The aim of this study is to qualitatively describe this programme and explore the experiences of participants in the programme. The research purpose is to uncover this kaupapa Māori adapted violence prevention programme and the impacts it may have on Māori service users.
Method: This research employed a qualitative descriptive methodology. This research methodology is grounded in the realist/essentialist ontology which asserts that the reality of a phenomenon is discoverable through the narratives and the language of the people within it. The data collection was done through one-to-one interviews from a total of 11 participants. The participants were group facilitators, staff and service users who have been involved in the programme.
Results: The results are presented thematically. Six themes are identified altogether. These are ‘The ManAlive Process’, ‘The Kaupapa Māori of Tū Tahanga’, ‘The personal impacts of violence’, ‘mirroring’, ‘whanaungatanga’ and ‘suggested improvements’.
Implications: The findings of Tū Tahanga show that Western violence prevention programmes can be culturally adapted to increase their responsiveness to Māori service users. This study provides a valuable understanding of a violence prevention programme in forensic mental health for Māori service users within the New Zealand context. The findings of this research can inform mental health clinicians on the way violence prevention programmes can be delivered to indigenous mental health forensic service users and overall, potentially improve violence rehabilitation outcomes.