Pasifika and Māori Perspectives on Wellbeing in New Zealand


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The first report into the Wellbeing of people in Aotearoa New Zealand was released by the Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission last week. Te Rau Tira Wellbeing Outcomes Report 2021 report highlights the work of the Commission to understand the Wellbeing of the nation.

Dr. Jemaima Tiatia-Seath, appointed to the inaugural Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission and one of the six panel members on the Government’s 2018 Mental Health and Addiction Inquiry, says Te Rau Tira provides a good platform to springboard off what Pasifika or Māori world view’s are around what Wellbeing is. Dr. Tiatia-Seath says the concept of Wellbeing is not new and for years Pasifika have understood what Wellbeing means.

Dr. Tiatia-Seath says the report is a step in the right direction.

I am grateful now that we are being asked “what does Wellbeing mean to you?” and it’s not “different”, because I don’t think anything is different,  it just adds more strength and perspective to mainstream, if not betters it. Dr. Jemaima Tiatia-Seath

Dr. Tiatia-Seath says a good place to start understanding Wellbeing is knowing your community and being able to adapt the support in different situations. She says Te Rau Tira report speaks to all New Zealand and one can feel a deep reflection of Te Ao Māori as well as efforts to understand different populations including Pasifika.

Chair of the Expert Panel which reviewed Te Rau Tira, Sharon Shea, says an important aspect discussed among the Commission was the need to enable people to see themselves in this mahi (work). “Whilst we have a Tangata whenua and Tangata Tiriti framing at the moment, we were very clear that we needed to have a Pacific People’s explicit framing as well. So one of the opportunities moving forward is to develop a view of the outcome framework that is very Pacific peoples focused into 2022.”

Te Rau Tira Wellbeing Outcomes Report 2021 Key facts:

• Most people in Aotearoa have social connections and feel safe and secure.
• Most people in Aotearoa report good health and a high standard of living.
• Most people in Aotearoa do not report experiencing discrimination or racism, but many marginalised groups do.
• Most people in Aotearoa report positive mental and family wellbeing, and access to personal support when needed.
• Most people in Aotearoa find it easy, or very easy, to be themselves, particularly Māori.
• Most people in Aotearoa rate their life satisfaction highly and have a sense of purpose.
• However, some communities in Aotearoa experience far worse wellbeing outcomes, across many of the measures in the report. Most marginalised groups we looked at felt life is less worthwhile, and reported less security, poorer mental and overall health, and greater discrimination and barriers to Wellbeing.

You can read the full report here.

With Christmas upon us and as we prepare to welcome a new year Dr. Tiatia Seath has a message for you and how you can play your part to support loved ones with their mental health and Wellbeing needs:

Reach out to them; you do the running around, you get the referral numbers, you walk with them to the place, you make the phone call for them, you hug them when they need a hug, you tell them everyday how much you love them, you tell them everything that they could live for…

And I think when people hear that positive affirmation its a human response. When you hear that and you hear that from your loved ones, you know you’re just fuelling a positive fire.

We are all accountable to be able to put that korowai of care around our family, friends, work mates. So I speak to everyone.

If you need any help, or know someone who needs help, the Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission maintains a comprehensive list of resources for you.