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Shortage of Mäori psychologists focus of hui

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Shortage of Mäori psychologists focus of hui in Auckland

Mäori psychology students from several universities will gather at Massey's Auckland campus tomorrow for a hui where the main item for discussion will be how to motivate students to complete research, finish their courses and increase numbers in the profession.

Masters student and undergraduate support tutor Taumata Maunsell-Petersen says there is a need for more Mäori psychologists and clinical psychologists. "Historically, our students have given up their study for one reason or another, Mrs Maunsell-Petersen says. "Isolation has been a key factor, and the further they go with their study, the less brown faces they see.”

Three years ago Te Waka Rangahau Hinengaro was formed as a vehicle for Mäori psychology students at Massey and other universities, including Auckland, AUT and Waikato, to share research ideas and help motivate and focus students to complete their degrees.

Te Puawaitanga, the Mäori psychology support group at Massey’s Auckland School of Psychology, has organised three annual hui. Te Puawaitanga members Mrs Maunsell-Peterson and Bryon Perkins say the main focus is to help Mäori students get through to the next stage.

This year there will be two presenters at the hui, both from Massey, who have been through to doctorate level and have an understanding of the issues. They are Dr Te Kani Kingi, Director of Te Mata o Te Tau (the Academy for Mäori Research and Scholarship) and Dr Rangi Mataamua, a researcher at Te Pütahi-a-Toi, Mäori Studies.

“There are far more Mäori students studying psychology now, even though it is not an easy area to get into. The hui will provide an opportunity for whakawhanaungatanga [relationship building], and networking with peers from other universities. Everybody who attends the hui takes something from it,” Mrs Maunsell-Peterson says.

“It’s important also for us to be in tune with our community and take what we learn in theory integrate those concepts and develop our own assessment tools to benefit and work within our Mäori communities.”


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