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Deep Dive Stocktake Of Māori Wisdom Reveals Solutions For Tackling Violence

A thoughtful deep dive stocktake into the contemporary landscape of Māori literature on Māori living with violence and sexual violation has been released.

The ‘Litany of Sound Revisited’ 208-page substantial literature review is believed to be the first annal of its kind chronicling case studies, academic archives through to public reports on Māori in Aotearoa.

Commissioned by independent Ministerial advisory group, Te Pūkotahitanga the book is a repository of Indigenous wisdom that looks to the past to open up all sorts of possibilities for the future.

The author hopes it will inspire a roadmap to informing powerful systemic change from the current reality.

It reviews what services are provided at the flaxroots to how the overall Government response system operates and where healing and prevention solutions can be found within te ao Māori frameworks.

“We’ve looked at what works, why it works, how we got here, what the state of play is now and where to from here?” says author, Professor Denise Wilson (Tainui, Ngāti Porou, Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Whakatōhea, Ngāti Oneone).

Currently 2 out of 3 wahine Māori are the biggest cohort impacted by intimate partner violence. So the solutions “must be a collective effort led by Māori” the book states.

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Despite the grim topic due to the disproportionate data compared to other population groups, Wilson believes the book is all about hope, and aspirations for what Māori can achieve again over time.

She read thousands of pages over the period of one year in the pursuit of traversing time and space to identify solutions, analyse gaps in information and show opportunities for the future that reframe, reclaim, and restore to achieve safer homes and communities.

“It starts with pre-Colonisation because I really wanted to begin from the point that violence didn't occur back then – we had systems, processes and tikanga in place that our tupuna lived by that kept everybody safe.”

“The material doesn’t have to be read it from cover to cover either as it is supposed to be user-friendly – a ‘pick up and put down’ pukapuka.”

Professor Wilson hopes it becomes a valued resource for time poor readers choosing topics of particular interest if they prefer to just speed read small chunks at a time.

Six key questions formed the framework for the review by exploring prevalence rates, historical and contemporary context, solutions, and evidence gaps i.e.:

  1. How were whānau and hapū kept violence-free in traditional Māori society pre-settlement and pre-Colonisation?
  2. What is violence within whānau and mahi tūkino?
  3. What is the contemporary landscape of violence impacting whānau Māori?
  4. What is known about how to achieve well-being?
  5. What is known about kaupapa Māori and Te Ao Māori approaches?
  6. What are the evidential gaps?

Manukorihi Winiata (Ngāti Raukawa, Te Ātiawa, Ngāti Awa, Ngāti Tūwharetoa) designed the distinctive artwork of the publication that imbues protection and care using the korowai, the traditional Māori cloak.

The symbolism of the korowai is particularly meaningful to Professor Wilson and her work because it represents what we can learn from the past to inform today, and plan for the future.

“I hope that this work will underpin and help inform people planning kaupapa Māori services and support funding proposals to meet the needs of our communities.”

The publication was funded by Te Puna Aonui to further strengthen strategic priorities of Te Pūkotahitanga as part of the work programme for Te Aorerekura, the National Strategy to Eliminate Family Violence and Sexual Violence.

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