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Study calls for health system to recognise Maori men's needs

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

In findings published this week, researchers have called for health professionals to look at how they can challenge the inherent racism in New Zealand’s health services and how this affects Maori men.

The study by Jacquie Kidd, Veronique Gibbons, Erena Kara, Rawiri Blundell and Kay Berryman is in the latest issue of AlterNative: An International Journal of Indigenous Peoples, published by Ngā Pae o te Maramatanga.

"There are significant health inequalities between Maori and non-Maori men in Aotearoa, and this pattern of poor health outcomes for Maori is consistent across other indigenous cultures who remain confronted with personal and institutional racism," says Jacquie Kidd.

Their Oranga Tane Maori research project interviewed Maori men with chronic disease or cancer to discover how they experienced their health care in relation to whanau ora. A series of hui with kaumaua and support people provided a definition of whanau ora, identifying seven themes.

Findings included the foundational importance of "being Maori" as an enabler for health decision-making and service engagement, and whakama (shyness, embarrassment) as a barrier.

"Our research raises several issues - the most pressing of these is the importance of genuine and respectful interpersonal relationships for securing the engagement of Maori patients and their whānau," says Kidd.

"The tendency for health professionals and services to distance themselves from patients in the name of professionalism is contributing to poor health outcomes for Maori, and is an expression of institutional racism in that it is expressly inhibiting Maori access to health care."

AlterNative is a peer-reviewed interdisciplinary journal that aims to present indigenous worldviews from native indigenous perspectives. To read more about the latest issue (Volume 9, no. 2), visit

Nga Pae o te Maramatanga (NPM) is a Centre of Research Excellence consisting of 16 participating research entities and hosted by The University of Auckland. NPM conducts research of relevance to Maori communities and is an important vehicle by which New Zealand continues to be a key player in global indigenous research and affairs. Its research is underpinned by the vision to realise the creative potential of Maori communities and to bring about positive change and transformation in the nation and wider world. Visit

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