Topic: Health

Historical accounts from Māori nurses in Mental Health now online

By Harata Brown

The first historical accounts of Māori nurses who practiced in mental health between 1950 and 1990 are now available online.

The leader of the steering group responsible for Tuia Te Ao Mārama, Maria Baker believes the resource will ensure the history and experiences of Māori nurses will never be forgotten.

Ms. Baker says, “It's been a passion project. We really want it to be a resource for the public to honour Māori nurses and Māori stories which tends not to be known much.”

Tuia Te Ao Marama or provides oral historical accounts from fifteen Māori mental health nurses over a forty year period. The narratives highlight past psychiatric care, the birth of Māori mental health services and Māori models of practice. 

Ms. Baker says, “And really this is about Māori practitioners at the forefront fighting for change, making a difference and not listening to mainstream.”

A group of Māori nurses from The College of Mental Health Nurses in New Zealand developed the historical resource, with help from Alexander Turnbull National Library

Ms. Baker says evidence suggests that current and future nurses preparing for the workforce in New Zealand are mainly informed by text written by non- Māori.

"There are no textbook evidence of the experiences of Māori and Māori nursing to a point in this country."

Meanwhile, The Chief Executive of The Maori Health Workforce Development Organisation Marama Parore believes the resource will help them build a new future with more Māori nurses.

“This piece of work means that we are not invisible and our contribution is visible and we know what we have contributed in the past," said Ms. Parore.