'Ground-breaking' resource to offer support to Takatāpui

The Mental Health Foundation has released what they are calling a 'ground-breaking' resource that will offer information about suicide prevention, identity and well-being for takatāpui.

Takatāpui: Part of the Whānau is a collaboration between the Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand and Wellington based organisation, Tīwhanawhana. It is written by Trust Chair, Elizabeth Kerekere and funded through the Waka Hourua Fund.

Kerekere says, “Takatāpui is a traditional Māori word meaning ‘intimate companion of the same sex.’ It has been adapted to embrace all Māori with diverse genders and sexualities. Claiming takatāpui shows our pride in being Māori; connects us to our whakapapa and culture; and to our rainbow counterparts.”

The resource aims to reduce the myths about takatāpui and prevent their experience of discrimination through increased understanding.

Takatāpui are particularly at risk of suicide and suicidal behaviour, not because they are takatāpui, but because of stigma and discrimination.

“Takatāpui experience racism and health inequalities associated with being Māori and they also face homophobia and transphobia from within whānau, hapū and iwi which can result in them being disconnected from their culture,” Kerekere says.

“By accepting takatāpui for who we are, whānau play a key role in providing the sense of belonging we need to help us withstand whatever comes at us,” she adds.

The resource will also help whānau understand how to make their homes, marae, churches, sports teams and schools safer places for takatāpui. 

Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand Chief Executive, Judi Clements says, “Takatāpui wellbeing rests within whānau, friends and rainbow communities. We all have a part to play in supporting takatāpui and strengthening their connection to their culture and community.”

A series of videos featuring five takatāpui speaking openly about their experiences will be available to view. You can see the trailer for these videos here. You can also download the print resource