Topic: Health

New book to enhance lives of whānau Māori with mental illness

A new book written and edited by Māori psychologists depicts stories of practitioners, researchers, and teachers of psychology and their contribution to enhancing the lives of whānau Māori experiencing mental illness. 

Te Manu Kai i Te Matauranga: Indigenous Psychology in Aotearoa/New Zealand is the embodiment of Dr Waikaremoana Waitoki's long-held vision to have these stories told. 

The book will be launched at the New Zealand Psychological Society's annual conference in Wellington this weekend.

Dr Waitoki, along with co-editor Dr Michelle Levy has collated perspectives of 18 Māori psychologists to talk about the unique story of a young woman named Ripeka who is facing mental health challenges. 

Dr Waitoki says, “An Indigenous psychology then, will serve at least two purposes: generate solutions to improve the lives of those who wish to live a good life; and make a scholarly contribution to humanity and its repository of knowledge.”  

“A distinct culturally defined space for Māori is absent within psychology. Not only is it absent, there continues to be active resistance to the validity and legitimacy of Indigenous peoples’ knowledge bases within psychology,” adds Dr Levy. 

One of the book's authors, Dr Simon Bennett believes the book has both national and international significance. 

“This book is hugely significant for indigenous aspirations in the psychology discipline because an indigenous voice, let alone a Māori voice, within the psychology literature has until now been at best fragmented. This book unifies diverse indigenous perspectives and therefore is likely to be recognised internationally.”