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Kei te kōrero he rongoā: The healing power of stories for Māori suicide prevention, postvention and well-being

Kei te kōrero, ka whai rongoā: Tō ngā pūrākau ihi whakamahu e whakahōtaeate ai i te whakamomoritanga Māori, e āwhina ai ā muri iho, e hauora ai hoki

Monday 15 February 2021

This one day wānanga elevates the mana of our stories and the power of talking about suicide prevention, postvention and healing. It utilises a Mātauranga and Kaupapa Māori Framework that includes Whakamōmori (suicide); whakamōmori ā muri (after suicide/postvention); Whaia te Mauriora (in pursuit of healing).

It brings the mana of leaders in the kaupapa to share stories and offer analysis for suicide prevention, postvention and healing. The entire focus of this Māori public health summer school programme is about the power of our voices and our stories for Māori suicide prevention, postvention and healing through trauma to achieve well-being of the whenua and the people.

Topics covered

  • Kōrero and Pūrakau – Māori methods of story-telling
  • Tikanga, Kaupapa and Mātauranga Māori – Situating stories in cultural contexts
  • Rongoā Māori – Story-telling as a Māori healing tradition
  • Ata haere – Safe storying of healing journeys
  • Tino Rangatiratanga – Māori political sovereignty stories
  • Whakapapa – Whakapapa stories that connect to healing and wellbeing
  • Toi Māori – Story-telling through Māori creative arts and expression

Style of course

This course combines keynote speakers/panels and performances that aim to engage participants fully in the kaupapa. There will be break out ‘healing’ space for those who wish to discuss the wānanga or just take time out. Rongoa practitioners and Māori counsellors will be available.

Who should attend?  

Those working in suicide prevention, postvention and healing with Māori who have some knowledge of story-telling and/or use story-telling in their practice. Those who attend should keep an open mind about Māori processes that may be for some, outside of the normative boundaries of clinical practice.

COVID-19 contingency plan

If COVID Alert Level restrictions prevent in-person/face-to-face delivery of this course, it will be delivered online the same day, and a credit of $100 given ($50 for those paying staff/student rate).

If the course is able to be delivered in person, but a participant cannot travel to Wellington due to COVID Alert Level restrictions, the course fee will be refunded in full.

Draft timetable (TBC)

Time Session

Registration followed by Karakia/Waiata/Kāranga - Opening

Karakia Tāwhito:
Taawhana Chadwick, Dr Rongotekai Ngata, Waireti Roestenburg

Karakia mai Te Hāhi ō Ihu Karaiti: Puanaki Whānau
Matua Wiremu Puanaki Senior, Whāea Tihi Puanaki and Mr Wiremu Puanaki Junior

Dr Rongotekai Ngata and Dr Keri Lawson-Te Aho

Mana Wāhine Claim to the Waitangi Tribunal update
Dr Keri Lawson-Te Aho


Laying down the Kaupapa: Story-telling for Māori suicide prevention, postvention and wellbeing
Dr Keri Lawson-Te Aho


Understanding Māori suicide prevention and healing in relation to the Māori lunar calendar
Mr Rikki Solomon, Ngāti Pahauwera


Healing through kōrero – whānau pani/bereaved whānau share their stories and healing practices after losing a child to suicide
Jane Stevens; Suzy Taylor and Mataku Ariki De Roo


Morning tea and whakawhaungatanga


Storying Indigenous traditional healing and the link to suicide prevention, postvention and healing; land and water based activism
Panel – Dr Emalani Case, Kanaka Maoli; Ms Tina Ngata by zoom, Ngāti Porou, Mr Taawhana Chadwick, Ngāti Kahungunu and Ms Jessie Ounei, Kanak


Healing through Toi Māori/Māori creative arts
Panel: Huriana Kopeke-Te Aho & Izzy Te Aho-White, Ngati Kahungunu, graphic artists, Quishile Charan, Fijian Indian, traditional craft and print-making, Bronte Perry, Ngā Puhi, print-making, Chair Dr Karlo Mila, acclaimed poet (Tonga)


Lunch break


Healing through Toi Māori 2: Māori creative arts
Panel – Taranaki Ah Young Grace (musician and beats maker), Alesha Ahdar (film-maker); Kahu Kutia podcaster and artist (via zoom), Jessie-Lee Robinson.
Chair, Dr Karlo Mila


Research as story-telling – two case studies in Māori suicide research
Dr Clive Aspin and Dr Lynne Russell


Justice through transformation: From prison to graduation taking back our Tino Rangatiratanga
Ms Awatea Mita


Tino Rangatiratanga the only pathway forward for indigenous peoples– lessons from 40 years in Māori and Indigenous suicide prevention
Dr Keri Lawson-Te Aho

Ata Haere – safe story-telling in context of whakapapa
Dr Keri Lawson-Te Aho and Dr Rongotekai Ngata


Afternoon tea


Discussion and recommended pathways forward

Wrap up and evaluation

Karakia Whakamutunga


Dr Karlo Mila – reading from Goddess Muscle, Dr Mila’s acclaimed collection of poems and number one best seller

Mr Rob Mokaraka (by zoom) preventing Māori male suicide – podcast series and the impacts of Shot Bro in our communities; followed by kōrero Tahi; refreshments, birthday cake and shared kai

Presenters / Panelists

  • Dr Keri Lawson-Te Aho
  • Taawhana Chadwick
  • Dr Rongotekai Ngata
  • Waireti Roestenburg
  • Matua Wiremu Puanaki Senior
  • Whāea Tihi Puanaki
  • Mr Wiremu Puanaki Junior
  • Mr Rikki Solomon
  • Jane Stevens
  • Suzy Taylor
  • Mataku Ariki De Roo
  • Dr Emalani Case
  • Kanaka Maoli
  • Ms Tina Ngata (by zoom, )
  • Ms Jessie Ounei, Kanak
  • Huriana Kopeke-Te Aho
  • Izzy Te Aho-White
  • Quishile Charan
  • Bronte Perry
  • Taranaki Ah Young Grace
  • Alesha Ahdar
  • Kahu Kutia (via zoom)
  • Jessie-Lee Robinson
  • Dr Clive Aspin
  • Dr Lynne Russell
  • Ms Awatea Mita
  • Dr Karlo Mila
  • Mr Rob Mokaraka (by zoom)

Course cost and registration

$300 early bird, $400 after Tuesday 22 December 2020.

A 50% discount is available to full-time students, those unwaged and University of Otago staff.

Register now

Note COVID-19 contingency plan above. Any questions please see FAQ page or email