Māori counselling book launched to aid Māori whānau

By Mānia Clarke-Mamanu

A new Māori counselling book has been launched to aid Māori and non-Māori counsellors working with Māori whānau.  Moemoeā, Māori Counselling Journeys provides insights into approaches by five Māori consultants who draw from Māori culture, philosophy, and experience.

For over 20 years, Brent and Huia Swann have been helping Māori families and are thrilled to share their knowledge.

Co-editor Mr Swann says, “Waewae Tapu. As Māori we are familiar with that idea, we wait before we hear the karanga and then we move. This is exactly the same as when we work with whānau Māori, when we work with individuals we don't just barge into their lives expecting them to unload and tell us everything about it. 

Moemoeā, Māori Counselling Journeys has been a two-year collaboration between five editors and many contributors who share traditional Māori protocols to help Māori deal with life's issues.

Co-editor Mrs Swann says, “Suicide, for example, young people who are really challenged by all sorts of different things.  Poverty, with poverty there are huge effects, homelessness, trying to feed our children.

For five years, Rev Canon Swann and his wife have been providing spiritual guidance to Auckland's Grey Lynn community.  He says the most important thing is having compassion for those they help.

Mr Swaann says, “He aha te mea nui, he tangata, he tangata, he tangata. That's at the heart of our work. Whether it be ngā atua Māori, whether it be karaitianatanga. We look at the beautiful things that can come from both traditions.”

Mrs Swann says, “What is different about this book is the fact that there is the finer detail of the therapeutic conversations that we are having with whānau.”

The book will be used as a core text for students at Waikato University.