Our role

We are a Māori organisation providing Māori sexual and reproductive health promotion, research, and policy and advisory services.

Our aims

Pae Ora – Good sexual and reproductive health now and for future generations
Wai Ora – Economic and social structures enable good sexual and reproductive health
Whānau Ora – Sexual and reproductive health services match whānau and community aspirations
Mauri Ora – Sexual and reproductive health services are local, free, evidence-informed, and culturally-responsive

Our guiding principles

Kaupapa Māori health promotion seeks to enable Māori to exercise control over the determinants of health and strengthen their identity as Māori, the outcome of which is to improve their health and socio-economic position in society (Ratima, 2010).

Effective health promotion addresses the structural issues in society that prevent Māori individuals and communities from achieving good sexual and reproductive health.

Māori health promotion came to public attention in the 1890s with the graduation of the first Māori medical practitioner. Since then, Māori health experts have developed a number of health promotion models such as Te Pae Māhutonga, Kia Uruuru Mai a Hauora, Te Wheke and Te Whare Tapawhā. These models are Mātauranga Māori-informed, evidence-based, and are well-supported by Māori communities.

The models share elements in common with health promotion as described by the Ottawa Charter.

What is Kaupapa Māori Health Promotion?

It is defined as ‘the process of enabling Māori to increase control over the determinants of health and strengthen their identity as Māori, and thereby improve their health and position in society’.

Therefore, Māori health promotion addresses micro-level approaches (Mauri Ora and Whānau Ora) that involve educating individuals and groups about how to improve their health, to macro-level approaches (Wai Ora and Pae Ora) that seek to change legislation and policies in order to effect structural change.

Kaupapa Māori approaches

It is important to note that there is not one approach to Māori health promotion. Various approaches are used that are based on models such as Te Whare Tapa Whā, Te Pae Mahutonga, Te Wheke, and Kia Uruuru Mai a Hauora. All aim to strengthen Māori health outcomes.

How we use Kaupapa Māori approaches in our work

Rangatiratanga – increasing Māori community control of health

because research shows that Māori community control of health promotion programmes and activities is associated with better health outcomes.

Taonga tuku iho – validating the importance of Māori language and culture

health promotion programmes and activities that foster and promote te reo Māori and tikanga Māori are more likely to resonate with Māori communities.

Kia piki ake i ngā raruraru o te kainga – transforming structures that prevent Māori community and individual health and wellbeing

the determinants of Māori health are driven by the socio-economic structures that exist across the sectors of government and which act to create barriers to good health. Therefore, improving Māori sexual and reproductive health outcomes requires an approach that transforms the structures and removes barriers, in order to advance Māori health.

How we use Kaupapa Māori approaches in our research

Our Kaupapa Māori research investigates key areas of Māori Sexual and Reproductive Health to provide an evidence-base to underpin our work, and we use the following understandings when conducting research.
The Kaupapa Māori approach to research draws from traditional and contemporary Māori knowledges and worldviews. There are many Kaupapa Māori approaches to undertaking research such as Kaupapa-ā-Iwi, Kaupapa-ā-Hapū, Mana Wāhine, Kaupapa Here, to name a few.

Our approach to research draws upon the work of Kaupapa Māori theorists such as Graham Hingangaroa Smith, Linda Tuhiwai Smith, Leonie Pihama, Kuni Jenkins, Cheryl Smith, and Mera Penehira.

We expect new Kaupapa Māori theoretical approaches will emerge as more Kaupapa Māori sexual and reproductive research is conducted.

Currently, the elements of our Kaupapa Māori approach include:

Tino rangatiratanga – increasing tino rangatiratanga or Māori self-determination and autonomy

Taonga tuku iho – fostering and promoting Māori knowledges, Māori language and tikanga Māori

Rangahau Māori – advancing methods of enquiry and practice inherent in whānau, hapū, iwi and Māori communities

Kia piki ake i ngā raruraru o te kainga – challenging and reducing socio-economic barriers to good sexual and reproductive health and wellbeing as these are defined by Māori

Whānau, hapū and iwi – valuing and enhancing traditional and contemporary relationships that Māori have with each other, the environment, and the world around them. Advocating for the aspirations of communities and individuals

Te Tiriti o Waitangi – implementing the Māori language version of the Treaty of Waitangi relationship between the Crown and Māori collectives and promoting the Treaty-derived right of Māori to good sexual and reproductive health and wellbeing

Decolonisation – developing and implementing radical forms of transformative actions, underpinned by transformative ways of knowing. Taking care to avoiding co-option and so-called transformative approaches that amount to little more than superficial change  

Mātauranga Māori – Re-activating and celebrating mātauranga Māori-derived understandings and practices associated with gender, sexual identity and sexual attraction