Mental Health MH21, 2018 – 2021

Indigenous Solutions:Enabling Maori & Pacific Mental Health Resilience


Previous research with Pacific and Māori in the mental health domain has valued cultural conceptualisations of health and wellbeing. However, little progress has been made towards embedding culturally focused programmes into health and mental health provision. The Indigenous Solutions Research Programme, involves a joint partnership between, Te Rau Matatini (Māori) and the Family Centre (Pacific) pursuing four research projects. These projects will provide a suite of innovative, culturally focused and community based programmes. They will ensure that young people in particular, but also people throughout the life course, are given access to culturally responsive prevention and early intervention approaches that will lead to better mental health outcomes. This implementation-focused research will enable the application of indigenous approaches to increase mental health resilience. It will be focussed on prevention and designed to increase the capacity of service provision and policy applications for Māori and Pacific families, communities and mental health workers.

The Māori programme offers two projects. The Mana Rangatahi project is an investigation of a cultural and theoretical programme for at-risk Māori youth (ages 12 – 18) with identified mental health issues presenting in the education system. These concerns will include, anxiety, violence, alcohol, drug abuse and depression, The E Oho Rangatahi project is based on marae (traditional spaces) learnings that will support young at-risk Māori males (ages 12-18), who in Aotearoa present with the highest rates of mental health issues, to develop positive futures for themselves.

The Pacific programme will also conduct two projects. One will focus on increasing the capacity of Pacific communities to understand the impacts of mental health problems and prevent and respond early to them. The other focusses on equipping the mental health workforce to embed in their service provision, culturally congruent and responsive practices with Pacific patients/clients. Both projects will provide an analysis of current Pacific mental health data. This will inform the design and delivery of both projects.

Research impact and implementation plan The Pacific projects will provide innovative, culturally focussed and community engaged programmes alongside professional mental health workforce capacity building. The combination will improve Pacific responsiveness and prevention of mental health problems, and lift the capacity of the professional workforce to provide more effective mental health services that give confidence to the Pacific community. The Māori led and informed research team commits to conducting research on Māori centred programmes that will enhance the lives and future outlook for Māori youth by working for and with them and their contributing communities in both a Mauri ora (individual wellbeing) and Whānau ora (family wellbeing) enhancing way.

Principal Investigator

Dr Kahu McClintock

Funding organisations

  • Mental Health MH21
  • New Zealand
  • 2018 – 2021