Academic journal article New Zealand Journal of Psychology

Maori Psychology: A Long Way from Imago, He Ara Roa Tonu (1)

Academic journal article New Zealand Journal of Psychology

Maori Psychology: A Long Way from Imago, He Ara Roa Tonu (1)

Article excerpt

He Mihi: A Greeting

E nga iwi o te Motu, e hga iwi o te Ao, e nga karangatanga hapu, e nga mata waka katoa. Tena koutou, tena koutou, tena tatou katoa.

The dominance of Western paradigms has been identified as a significant barrier to Maori participation in psychology. Publishing has been proposed as a way of addressing resistance to the inclusion of Maori knowledge and paradigms in psychology (Levy, 2002). Whilst there is a growing body of so-called 'grey literature' on Maori psychology, such as The Proceedings of the National Maori Graduates of Psychology Symposium 2002 (Nikora, Levy, Masters, Waitoki, Te Awekotuku & Etheredge, 2002), Masters theses, a mounting body of PhD theses and work in the form of evaluation and contract research reports, there is a dearth of articles on or about Maori psychology published in refereed journals.

Levy (2002) pointed out that environments supportive of the development of Maori psychologists and psychology need to enhance the ability of existing Maori psychologists to research and publish. The aim of this special feature issue of the New Zealand Journal of Psychology was to support Maori psychologists in their professional development by providing .just such an opportunity. The intent has been to produce a collection of papers that critique and reflect on emerging Maori psychological theory, practice and research, and showcase Maori psychologists in Aotearoa. The emphasis was on Maori-focused work, including kaupapa Maori work as well as papers that focus on working with Maori in parallel development or bicultural settings.

When Glover & Robertson wrote about the development of kaupapa Maori psychology in 1997, the focus was on moving away from bicultural models of delivering psychological services to Maori workforce development. It was proposed that training needed to support an increase in the number of Maori psychologists familiar with both Western psychology and tikanga Maori who could bridge these two systems of beliefs and values. In 2002, Love (2003) bemoaned our progress in addressing the incommensurability presented by differences in the fundamental values underlying Western and Maori psychology. Which, Durie (2003) said, we need to do by re-examining psychological theory from a Maori perspective.

The final selection of papers, drawn from a total of 14 submissions, reflect the permanence of Western paradigms in psychology training in New Zealand. Academic undergraduate and postgraduate work provides the impetus for most of the papers and thus this issue suggests Maori students of psychology are very much still focused on learning "the tools of the Pakeha" as the whakatauaki "E tipu, e rea ..." (2) promotes (Brougham & Reed, 1963).

Consistent with this sentiment, Palmer's paper stresses the need for Maori psychologists to familiarize themselves with the value of psychometric tools. The Tassell & Flett paper showcases Maori undergraduate student work about dietary change for Maori women, and can be seen as an example of a Maori student's experience of learning and applying psychological research methods to Maori. Hirini, Flett, Long & Millar's paper does this at a postgraduate level when they investigate Maori experience of trauma and links with physical and mental health. Also at a postgraduate level, Glover attempts to break away from Western paradigms by taking more of a grounded approach to Maori descriptions of depression. She introduces Te Whare Tapa Wha as a potential Maori theoretical framework in this work. Applying Te Whare Tapa Wha as a primary analytical tool in Glover's work on smoking which demonstrates a shift to kaupapa Maori methodology where Maori are not only the focus of the research, matauranga Maori, that is Maori paradigms are preferred.

Gavala & Flett's paper examined factors moderating academic enjoyment, motivation and psychological well-being for Maori students at Massey University. …

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