Groundbreaking Maori youth programme in Canterbury and West Coast regions celebrates achievements» 30/06/2010, Posted by Diana Beattie
Today marks the conclusion of the Mental Health Foundation's Manawaora o Nga Taiohi programme and the Foundation would like to take this opportunity to celebrate its achievements.
Manawaora O Nga Taiohi is a Maori-based programme that addressed the mental health needs and wellbeing of young Maori and their whanau living within the Canterbury and West Coast regions and had a particular focus on those vulnerable to suicide.
Maori youth have some of the highest suicide statistics in New Zealand so the dedicated programme aimed to help participants strengthen known protective factors such as cultural identity, resilience and belonging.
The young men and women would stay overnight on a marae and take part in a variety of activities including learning taiaha, the haka and developing personal goals, all intended to build pride and self confidence in a cultural setting. The activities also help address their physical, spiritual and emotional needs.
For the past 18 months, the Mental Health Foundation has been seeking replacement funding following the conclusion of its major funding from the Department of Internal Affairs but has been unsuccessful.
In 2009 a highly positive review was completed by Te Rau Matatini, an organisation supporting Maori workforce development, in which many of the successes of the project were highlighted by both participants and researchers. Amongst other commendations the review noted that rangatahi engaged in help seeking behaviours through continuous participation in wananga and that the programme achieved commitment from typically hard to reach participants through building trust and being honest with the participants.
"Manawaora o Nga Taiohi developed self-esteem, strengthened and acknowledged the importance of cultural identity and provided Maori youth with positive role models," says Judi Clements, Chief Executive of the Mental Health Foundation. "The programme was run with, and generated a lot of pride amongst rangatahi and this is something everyone involved in the programme are enormously proud of."
The Foundation acknowledges the significant contribution made by all Manawaora o Nga Taiohi staff and the whanau of these staff who provided support throughout the duration of the programme.