Researchers call for kaupapa Māori solutions to head the queue for family violence funding

By Hinewai Netana-Williams

Hinewai Netana-Williams is a Te Rito journalism cadet



Kaupapa Māori is the solution to family violence, according to the He Waka Eke Noa survey project team.

The team is happy the government will spend $114.5 million to eliminate family and sexual violence but says the spending must prioritise kaupapa Māori solutions.

“What our research in He Waka Eke Noa survey has shown is that our whanau are seeking Kaupapa Māori services and tikanga Māori-based ways of healing when it comes to family violence,” Kaupapa Māori epidemiologist Shirley Simmonds says.

Professor Leoni Pihama from the Ngā Wai A Te Tūī Māori research centre wants to see a shift in where the money is allocated.

“The bulk of the funding should go into kaupapa Māori and diverse community-led initiatives rather than propping up existing bad behaviours and trying to do workforce capability because of the state’s failure within its own ministries.”

“Having said that, if the funding is going to continue to go in that direction, I would say a larger funding pool to be going into kaupapa Māori services to whanau hapū and iwi services, to community-led services that enable us to be able to engage in that capacity building ourselves.”

The survey highlights that many whānau Māori would most likely not seek out any additional support from government agencies due to previous acts of violence and racism they had experienced.

How to get access

Simmonds says,” Often there was kōrero over where we’ve given up trying to apply for this or we’ve given up trying to access that so this is concerning because it shows that a lot of our whanau are not accessing the services they have a right to access. My question would be, 'how is it directed to ensure that whānau can get access and that access is safe?'”

The research has identified the integral role of Te Tiriti o Waitangi in ensuring whānau Māori are provided with the care and support they deserve.

“When we’re talking about the embedding of Te Tiriti, we’re not talking about Crown agencies having our names, we’re not talking about Crown agencies having our values on posters on the wall, we’re not even talking about having Maori advisors. We’re talking about a fundamental structural shift in thinking that means that the entire structure itself is grounded within Te Tiriti o Waitangi which is a clear relationship and a clear partnership role with Māori as tangata whenua, with tangata tiriti sitting alongside as a treaty partner,” said Pihama.

Despite concerns raised researchers are pleased with the shifts made by Marama Davidson and Jan Logie in the sector and are hopeful for real change and real transformation.

“What we’d like to see is the wider government understanding and, actually, we’ve said this many times that Māori are not the problem, we are the solution. Kaupapa Māori is the solution and we are very clear about that.”