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Waka Hourua: Suicide Prevention for Māori and Pasifika

Media Release
10 September 2014

Waka Hourua steering in right direction on suicide prevention for Māori and Pasifika

Building the capacity of Māori whānau, hapū, iwi, Pasifika families and communities to prevent suicide is the focus for Waka Hourua, the national suicide prevention programme for Māori and Pasifika.

Reflecting on the progress of Waka Hourua in its first year, Marama Parore, Interim Chief Executive of Te Rau Matatini says she believes Māori programme partner Te Rau Matatini and Pasifika programme partner Le Va are steering their work and research with Māori and Pasifika communities in the right direction.

“We know that suicide in Aotearoa does not affect all ethnicities equally,” she says. “Around one in five people who die by suicide are Māori, and Pasifika people make suicide attempts at a rate higher than the general population. We must support Māori and Pasifika communities develop their own solutions to suicide prevention”.

Marama Parore’s comments coincide with the release of the World Health Organisation’s first report of its kind; Preventing suicide: a global imperative. The report says a key factor in reducing deaths by suicide is a commitment by governments to establish and implement coordinated suicide action planning.

Marama Parore explains that Waka Hourua is an important part of such a commitment. “The programme is currently supporting Māori and Pasifika communities across Aotearoa to lead their own suicide prevention activities. These activities will foster local leadership and help communities work together and understand how they can contribute to preventing suicide on a national level”.

Waka Hourua has also identified some priority areas for research to contribute to the evidence base of ‘what works’ for Māori and Pasifika suicide prevention. Ms Parore says four research teams, two Māori and two Pasifika, are exploring two key areas. One is around realising the potential of cultural identity, and the other is around realising the potential of supporting recovery. The research outcomes will contribute to communities and agencies working together to implement suicide prevention strategies.

Today is World Suicide Prevention Day. This year, “one world connected” is its global theme – a reminder to all of us that preventing suicide is a collective responsibility. A united approach to suicide prevention in Aotearoa is key.

Rarangahia te taurawhiri tangata kia hua ai te marama.
Weaving people together to make change.

Waka Hourua is a partnership between national Māori health workforce development organisation Te Rau Matatini and national Pacific non-government organisation Le Va. Te Rau Matatini and Le Va have come together to deliver Waka Hourua, a suicide prevention programme for Māori and Pasifika communities.

To read the Report Preventing suicide: A global imperative World Health Organisation
To learn more about World Suicide Prevention Day International Association for Suicide Prevention


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