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Tiakina Te Pā Harakeke – Raising a Treasured Child
Associate Professor Leonie Pihama, from the University of Waikato led the project Tiakina Te Pā Harakeke, which was focused on looking at Māori childrearing practices within a context of whānau ora.
The project, which began in 2012, was developed to support the investigation and identification of Kaupapa Māori approaches to Māori childrearing and parenting and specifically looks at how we can (as communities), draw on these frameworks to support intervention in the area of child abuse and neglect within our whānau.
With the intention of bringing to the fore the traditional childrearing practices and values that have existed with Māori communities for generations, the project focused on exploring the history and then sharing the knowledge of, the tūpuna who held the belief that tamariki/rangatahi and mokopuna are treasured. This belief is most eloquently expressed in the saying ‘he taonga te mokopuna’.
A considerable amount of historical documentation from the records of iwi/hapū throughout the country indicates that children were both treasured and indulged in traditional Māori communities and society, with the physical punishment of children being considered unacceptable by most, if not all tribal groups.
Acknowledging this, the research project investigated what practices were put in place amongst these communities and what approaches were used to ensure that physical discipline was not needed or required.
What the researchers found was that whānau relations were more often than not embedded in a wider collective, with associated collaborative responsibilities and support, and that this environment produced the measures required to support and nurture the children of those tribal groups.
The impacts of colonisation on destabilising and dismantling these whānau, hapū and iwi networks and collectives, individualising and fragmenting families and then through the geographic dislocation of the second half of the 20th century denying them their cultural knowledge, reference points and practices – meant that generations of families, and by definition their children, have suffered and found themselves in the midst of a generational deficit paradigm.
Recent efforts to assert a Kaupapa Māori approach to whānau health and wellbeing, are starting to draw on both the traditional and contemporary Māori knowledge and expertise and support and enhance interventions in the area o tamariki/rangatahi and whānau ora.
The Tiakina Te Pā Harakeke project provides access to this information and knowledge, to the wisdom and approaches of a range of people with expertise in this area, and then draws on this combined expertise to strengthen parenting and childrearing approaches and practice within Māori communities.
The project was focused on tikanga and mātauranga Māori models of wellbeing for whānau and the name Tiakina Te Pā Harakeke is a metaphor for whānau wellbeing.
The project sought out and shared with whānau, and others, knowledge of raising children in ways that are grounded within tikanga Māori and mātauranga. At its conclusion it provided access to the wisdom and knowledge of a wide group of people
Ultimately the focus of the project was to undertake research that would support the wellbeing of whānau Māori through the strengthening of childrearing and parenting practices.
At its core, Tiakina Te Pā Harakeke is a project focused on tikanga and mātauranga Māori models of wellbeing for whānau. It supports the wellbeing of children and their families by identifying how they can first learn, and then practice in the true sense, the positive cultural approaches to childrearing as practiced by the tūpuna.
The final research report Tiakina Te Pa Harakeke was published for this project in late 2014, and a short documentary was also produced by NPM and can be viewed online at: http://mediacentre.maramatanga.ac.nz/content/tiakina-pa-harakeke
Further outputs for the project have included multiple papers, hui, seminars and presentations over the past two years, as follows;
Pihama, L. (November 2012). ‘Tiakina Te Pā Harakeke: Paper presented at the Raranga Wānanga., Rotorua
Pihama, L. (November 2012). Tiakina Te Pā Hatakeke. Paper presented at the Raranga Wānanga, Ahipara, NZ
Pihama, L. (15th - 17th August 2013.). Keynote Speaker. Tiakina Te Pᾱ Harakeke: Mᾱori childrearing within a context of Whᾱnau ora. . Paper presented at the Global Approaches to Indigenous Health Promotion. , Deluth, United States of America.
Pihama, L. (2013). Tiakina Te Pā Harakeke Māori childrearing within a context of Whānau ora. FOSTERING TE PĀ HARAKEKE: Healthy and Prosperous Families of Mana. Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga Research Symposium Tauranga Auckland, New Zealand: Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga
Pihama, L. (12-13 August 2013). Tiakina Te Pā Harakeke: Māori childrearing practices within a context of whānau ora. Paper presented at the Research for Indigenous Community Health (RICH) Centre, Minnesota, USA
Pihama, L. (17 April 2103). ‘Tiakina Te Pā Harakeke: Traditional Māori views of Childrearing. Paper presented at the Community Based Hui, Taranaki, NZ
Pihama, L. (30 April 2103). ‘Tiakina Te Pā Harakeke: Traditional Māori views of Childrearing. Paper presented at the Community Based Hui, Manawatu, NZ
Pihama, L. (18 May 2013). ‘Tiakina Te Pā Harakeke: Traditional Māori views of Childrearing. Paper presented at the Community Based Hui, Rotorua, NZ
Pihama, L. T. N., R. (2013, 19-20 August 2013). Tiakina Te Pā Harakeke: Māori childrearing practices within a context of whānau ora. Paper presented at the Indigenous Wellness Research Institute (IWRI), Seattle, USA
Pihama, L. (10 June 2014). Tiakina Te Pā Harakeke: Māori childrearing practices within a context of whānau ora. Keynote Presentation presented at 2014 Te Hinatore Conference, Te Puna Kohungahunga, Faculty of Education, University of Auckland
Thoughts Space Wānanga: Traditional Māori childrearing in a context of whānau ora. 12- 13 May 2014, Waikato Tanui College for Development