Marae 2 Maunga: Māori Suicide awareness

By Heeni Brown

Five Mangere marae are raising awareness around Māori suicide through a “Marae 2 Maunga” hīkoi.

Organiser of the event Ngawai Rewha says Maori suicide was an issue being felt heavily by Papatuanuku, Makaurau, Pukaki, Te Puea and Mataatua marae. 

Marae 2 Maunga organiser Ngawai Rewha says "We've had a few last year, quite a few in our own whānau and friends of ours that have gone through the process losing loved ones to suicide, so hopefully this will show them that we're not forgetting about what has happened to them and we're also opening our whanau's eyes in their thinking around how they can get access to help."

According to statistics provided by the Chief Coroner Judge Deborah Marshall more than 560 people died from suicide last year.

In terms of Māori and suicide, there were a total of 130 Māori deaths resulting in suicide, the highest since the provisional statistics were first recorded for the 2007/08 year.

With those statistics in mind, Apimaera Thomas urges whānau that Raukura Hauora o Tainui are a port of call for those who are experiencing issues surrounding suicide.

In a statement to Te Kāea, Thomas says in 2014 he knew six Māori who died from suicide and last year he knew 16 Māori who died from suicide.

"Raukura Hauora o Tainui and their prevention suicide team have equipped our Marae with information and resources they can hand out to whānau but I think the first step is that we realise somebody is not well or that they're not in a good space and that's the way we sort of get to talk to them," says Ngawai Rewha.

The task for the five marae today is to walk from their respective marae to Mangere mountain where they are holding a long list of activities for whānau bringing awareness to Māori and suicide.

Papatuanuku marae representative Valerie Teraitua says "It's also about us ensuring, letting our rangatahi know that when we're fit and healthy and active, there are less chances of us being, a bit more doubtful about our capabilities to be successful."

“Marae 2 Maunga” is in its second year and hope more marae will get on board the kaupapa next year.

For more on this story watch Te Kāea 5:30pm on Māori Television.