Preventing violence against Maori women

A report exploring what Māori women believe to be protective factors in keeping them safe from violence strongly aligns with the E Tū Whānau kaupapa and approach.

The E Tū Whānau team provided input into the Ministry for Women’s report “Wāhine Māori, Wāhine Ora, Wāhine Kaha; preventing violence against Māori women”, which was released last month (February 2015).  It provides an indigenous perspective to the growing international knowledge base about primary prevention of violence against women.

Māori women are twice as likely to experience violence as other women in New Zealand highlighting the urgent need for greater understanding, expertise and practice in relation to culturally specific primary prevention approaches.

Must reflect Māori values

Parehuia Mafi (right) – “kaupapa must be authentic – it must reflect our values”

Parehuia Mafi, from the E Tū Whānau team, says that working with the Ministry for Women on this project was affirming for E Tū Whānau.

“This piece of work confirms what we know about working successfully with our people – that the kaupapa must be authentic – it must speak to Māori and reflect our values, our realities and our voice.”

The report aims to encourage discussion and improve understanding amongst policy makers and practitioners about primary prevention approaches that are meaningful for Māori women.

Report wide reaching

Pare says that the report’s significance is wide reaching. “It captures the voice, power and strength of women, whānau, hapū, iwi and community, who fearlessly share their experiences and stories of pain and success for us to learn from and gain insight.

“It calls us to action, ‘E Tū’, and challenges us to change now so that every whānau, child and woman is born to a life free from the burden of violence.”

The report’s findings and the views of research participants reinforce the E Tū Whānau key messages, that:

  • Violence is not traditional for Māori
  • Prevention and early intervention is important
  • Whānau, hapū and iwi remain permanent, core units, of Māori existence
  • Being Māori is not the problem, it is the solution
  • Whānau have the solutions within.

Key themes

Although the report notes that there is diversity of interpretation and opinion about what is needed to keep Māori women safe from becoming victims of violence, some key themes emerge. The types of primary prevention initiatives that are identified as ‘working’ are those that are “designed locally, strengths based and steeped in the values of the communities for which they are designed” – the cornerstone principles of E Tū Whānau. The report is available from the Ministry for Women’s website