Dudley wants more Māori in Clinical Psychology

By Heeni Brown

Dr Makarena Dudley wants more Māori students training to become clinical psychologists.

The goal comes with her appointment at the University of Auckland as the first full-time Māori lecturer of the Doctorate in Clinical Psychology programme.

Dr Makarena Dudley is a specialist in the field of clinical psychology and one of her goals is to incorporate Tikanga Māori into her programme.

"I think it's important that clinicians learn about our history about colonisation about identity, Māori identity because that's all part of the Te Whare Tapawhā model where all those cornerstones need to be a part of the recovery journey," says Dr Dudley.

Māori have a high incidence of traumatic brain injury, almost three times the rate of any other ethnic group in New Zealand.

According to Health Research Council of New Zealand, Māori also experience strokes at an average age of 61 compared with 75 for Pākehā.

Dudley believes those statistics show a lack of Māori involvement in rehabilitation, "We need to have services that are geared towards looking after our people who suffer neurological damage whether it be brain injury or stroke, at the moment as the services are set up they are very mainstream very westernised paradigms from which they are operate in."

At her official welcoming, some spoke about how there are only a few Māori clinical psychologists.

"It's been wonderful to have her back at the University of Auckland and it would be great to have her amongst her students she'll be lecturing our young Maori," says Dr Melanie Cheung from Ngāti Rangitihi.

“If Māori students are more exposed to doctors like Makarena then they could hopefully find their own path,” says Michael Steedman, the kaiarahi Māori at Auckland Universaity.

Dr Dudley joins the University of Auckland from AUT.