'I will not leave my baby behind': A Cook Island Maori family's experience of New Zealand Maori traditional healing
NiaNia, Wiremu; Bush, Allister; Epston, David
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Citation:NiaNia, W., Tere, Bush, A., and Epston, D. (2013). 'I will not leave my baby behind': A Cook Island Maori family's experience of New Zealand Maori traditional healing. Austalian and New Zealand journal of family therapy, 34, 3-17.
Permanent link to Research Bank record:https://hdl.handle.net/10652/2664
Traditional healers in many parts of the world have used family focused understandings and interventions well before the emergence of western family therapy theory and practice. This paper gives a detailed account of New Zealand. Māori traditional healing work with a Cook Island Māori family in which the eldest daughter was in considerable distress as were her family, who believed that she had become maki tūpāpaku (possessed). This account is told from the perspectives of the child psychiatrist, the traditional healer and the mother of the family. While the intervention bears a superficial resemblance to western family therapy approaches, the theoretical foundation reflects the traditional healer’s New Zealand Māori world views in which spiritual understandings are paramount, and concepts of mana, tapu and mauri guide him in the family healing process. The single session described here can be viewed as an indigenous family therapy intervention involving six generations of family members, both living and deceased, in the one room. Conclusions: Indigenous communities have called for traditional healers to be employed alongside child mental health workers and family therapists who work with their communities. Close and sincere collaboration between an indigenous traditional healer and a health professional can offer a family in distress healing possibilities that may not be available to them in conventional child mental health or other family therapy settings.