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Important data on suicide in New Zealand released

Important data on suicide in New Zealand released

11 November 2016


The Waka Hourua National Leadership group is pleased the Ministry of Health has released the Suicide Facts: Deaths and intentional self-harm hospitalisations: 2013[1], it is important data on suicide in New Zealand. The figures paint a clear picture of the need for programmes aimed at Māori and Pasifika communities and young people. They indicate there is a need for targeted suicide prevention efforts to be continued and expanded.

Waka Hourua is addressing the needs of Māori and Pasifika people by supporting solutions to the problem in the hands of the communities who are impacted by suicide. It is still in its infancy by international standards, which say that national suicide prevention strategies need to be measured over one to two decades to show the long term impact for a population.

But the programme is showing some measurable results amongst our whānau, aiga, children, parents, siblings and communities. Families are telling us their initiatives are having an impact and are saving lives.

Background on Waka Hourua

Launched in 2014, Waka Hourua is New Zealand’s national Māori and Pasifika suicide prevention programme led by partners Te Rau Matatini and Le Va.

As part of the New Zealand suicide prevention strategy and action plan, the purpose of Waka Hourua is to build the capacity of Māori whānau, hapū, and iwi, Pacific families and communities to prevent suicide. Te Waka Hourua Māori and Pasifika programme (2014 – 2017) comprises five key streams, encompassing;

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* National leadership group
* Waka Hourua Community Fund
* Waka Hourua Strategic Research Agenda
* Māori Community Suicide Prevention Programme
* National Pasifika Suicide Prevention Programme
For more information, go to,,

Waka Hourua National Leadership Group

Waka Hourua National Leadership Group meets quarterly comprising sector expertise and leadership, Ministry of Health, Le Va and Te Rau Matatini to monitor and advise the programme.

Waka Hourua Community Fund

Waka Hourua funded 64 Māori and Pasifika initiatives run by community groups, whānau, hapū, and Rūnanga. This encompassed 47 Māori and 17 Pasifika programmes from Kaitaia in the North to Southland, encompassing youth, LGBTQI, kaumātua, mātua, clergy, and recreational groups. Programmes have included specific initiatives to, raise community awareness of suicide prevention, community specific responses to suicide prevention, building resilience, knowledge, resources, and post-vention strategies where indicated. These have occurred at Marae, schools, churches, local community group, sports events, concerts, hui ā Iwi and on-line.

Waka Hourua Strategic Research Agenda

Waka Hourua supported four strategic research initiatives by leading researchers to build the evidence base and understanding about Māori and Pasifika Suicide prevention/post-vention in Aotearoa New Zealand. In November 2016 more than 140 researchers, practitioners, students, and whanau participated in a webinar series providing initial findings of these research initiatives.

Māori Community Suicide Prevention Programme

During 2014 to 2016 nine Pou Arahi (community Champions) have been engaged by Waka Hourua across 12 DHB regions to develop Māori community focused plans and initiatives to build capacity and capability to present suicide and to respond effective when this does occur. Māori focused training and awareness campaigns have involved Te Ihi Ora Wananga a deliberate Māori approach to whakamomori; Manaaki Tangata a Māori community awareness programme, Tane Ora and Wahine Ora programmes; and elements set aside specifically for frontline practitioners to be better helpers to Māori. The Rangatahi by Rangatahi programme is a deliberate Māori led kaupapa for rangatahi and whānau.

National Pasifika Suicide Prevention Programme: FLO Pasifika for Life

FLO Pasifika for Life is New Zealand’s first evidence-informed national Pasifika suicide prevention programme. It has a multi-faceted approach aimed at equipping Pasifika people to prevent suicide. Results thus far include:

· 106 community leaders trained through a uniquely Pacific education programme, FLO Talanoa to deliver education and information workshops on how to prevent suicide to over 650 family members.

· Guidelines for media reporting on suicide have been co-created with 23 media networks and workshops provided to 70 media staff.

· Funding and supporting 17 Pasifika community organisations to deliver innovative and local suicide prevention initiatives in their communities with a collective reach of over 300,000 people
· Over 900 community members equipped to lead suicide prevention in their families and communities through a variety of methods

· Over 13,000 innovative and creative resources have been accessed and disseminated

· Aunty Dee a problem solving app designed to Māori and Pasifika youth and attracted over 2,000 users as well as the B.R.A.V.E youth video clip– has attracted over 100,000 views on Facebook and Twitter.

[1] Ministry of Health (2016). Suicide Facts: Deaths and intentional self-harm hospitalisations: 2013. Wellington: Ministry of Health


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