Study calls for health system to recognise Māori men’s needs

In findings published this week, researchers have called for health professionals to look at how they can challenge the inherent racism in New Zealand’s health services and how this affects Māori men. The study by Jacquie Kidd, Veronique Gibbons, Erena Kara, Rawiri Blundell and Kay Berryman is in the latest issue of AlterNative: An International Journal of Indigenous Peoples, published by Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga.

“There are significant health inequalities between Māori and non-Māori men in Aotearoa, and this pattern of poor health outcomes for Māori is consistent across other indigenous cultures who remain confronted with personal and institutional racism,” says Jacquie Kidd.

Their Oranga Tāne Māori research project interviewed Māori men with chronic disease or cancer to discover how they experienced their health care in relation to whānau ora. A series of hui with kaumātua and support people provided a definition of whānau ora, identifying seven themes. Findings included the foundational importance of “being Māori” as an enabler for health decision-making and service engagement, and whakamā (shyness, embarrassment) as a barrier.

“Our research raises several issues – the most pressing of these is the importance of genuine and respectful interpersonal relationships for securing the engagement of Māori patients and their whānau,” says Kidd. “The tendency for health professionals and services to distance themselves from patients in the name of professionalism is contributing to poor health outcomes for Māori, and is an expression of institutional racism in that it is expressly inhibiting Māori access to health care.”

AlterNative is a peer-reviewed interdisciplinary journal that aims to present indigenous worldviews from native indigenous perspectives. To read more about the latest issue (Volume 9, no. 2), visit www.alternative.ac.nz

MEDIA: for more information or a copy of the paper, contact
Gretchen Carroll Communications Coordinator
Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga, New Zealand's Indigenous Centre of Research Excellence
Tel: +64 9 923 4217 Email: comms@maramatanga.ac.nz