Topic: Health

Rotorua conference looks at traditional Māori practices to help prevent suicide

By Mere McLean
  • Waikato/Bay of Plenty

A three-day suicide prevention conference is being held in Rotorua. A main area of focus for the conference is on traditional Māori practices that support tamariki and their importance in helping prevent suicide and suicidal behaviours.

For many suicide is an issue that hits the heart.  

Dame Tariana Turia (Whanganui, Ngāti Apa) said, "New Zealand should care about anything that has such a significant impact on the population over 500 deaths a year - more than we have die on the roads, but a much better investment in road death than we do in suicide."

Those working to prevent suicide, present at the conference, say the numbers are increasing.   

Moe Milne (Ngāti Hine, Ngāpuhi) said, "In our work we are seeing parents, grandparents coming into the equation of suicide."

Some health workers believe preventing suicide begins at home with the family.

Maui Te Pou (Ngāi Tūhoe, Waikato-Tainui) adds, "There is value in talking, like what was said this morning, you see benefits in talking to your elders, friends, but at the end of the day it's about life."

According to the World Health Organisation, NZ is ranked 39th for our suicide rates, a situation that to be discussed further at the conference.

There are a range of services available to those in need of help, there is a free resource and information service under the Mental Health Foundation on 09 623 4812.

• Lifeline - 0800 543 354 

• Depression Helpline (8 am to 12 midnight) - 0800 111 757 

• Healthline - 0800 611 116 

• Suicide Crisis Helpline  0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO) 

• Youthline - 0800 376 633, free text 234 or email