Struggling to be involved: a grounded theory of Māori whānau engagement with healthcare

Wepa, Dianne
Wilson, Denise
Kozio-McLain, Jane
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Doctor of Philosophy
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Auckland University of Technology

Aspirational whānau enable future generations to succeed in an Indigenous world and a Western world. Relationships that are positive within the whānau become mutually beneficial when access is being sought for a range of services. The world that Māori whānau exist in today is vastly different from that of past generations. What has endured over this time is the whānau unit and the processes that contribute to its longevity. The aims of this study were to explain the processes that Māori and their whānau used to have their spiritual and cultural needs met when engaging with health care services, and generate a substantive theory of what happens for Māori and their whānau when they engage with health care services. The research question was, “What is happening with Māori and their whānau when they engage with health care services?” Twenty Māori whānau were interviewed about their engagement with healthcare services in Hawke’s Bay. Constructivist grounded theory developed by Kathy Charmaz (2006, 2014a), was utilised as the methodology for this study and Kaupapa Māori processes ensured that both whānau and the researcher were kept culturally safe. Struggling to be Involved emerged as a core process and substantive theory that explained how Māori whānau experienced healthcare services. Being Māori and surviving the experience provided positive mediating factors as whānau management strategies and a natural resource to assist with obtaining a healthcare service. The discrimination faced by Māori whānau while they were seeking to improve their health was a constant struggle. Despite the many negative experiences, collective ownership or we-dentity contributed to their resolution to receive the best healthcare, as they deserved no less. Current healthcare interventions in New Zealand are not working for Māori whānau. Struggling to be Involved contributes new knowledge about Māori whānau engagement with healthcare services by providing an original contribution to reduce continuing inequities between Māori and other New Zealanders.

Māori , Whanau , Grounded theory , Healthcare , Cultural safety , Kaupapa Māori , Engagement , Kathy Charmaz
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