3 July 2024

Tikanga Māori motivational programme has benefits for both participants and staff

For participants on the Tikanga Māori motivational programme, belonging is the starting point.

“It's always about bringing people together and creating a sense of belonging, right from the beginning”, says Conan, a contract manager for the programme.

Knowing that you belong to something, that you’re going back to a community that you belong to, can be very powerful.”

The programme is delivered to people in prison and the community, by numerous external providers around the country, who draw on the tikanga from their region. The goal is to help participants build cultural identity, through connection to four kaupapa: Manaakitanga, Whanaungatanga, Rangatiratanga and Wairuatanga.

“In doing things like learning your whakapapa - in learning about where they're from - participants start thinking about going back and making connections or reforming connections,” says Nero, another contract manager for the programme.

“That feeling that you're welcome and you belong here helps people to think about returning to people that they have strong bonds and connections with.

It’s also just having a culturally safe space, where people can listen and not feel judged.”

Nero says that after the programme, they have seen participants wanting to learn more Kaupapa Māori.

“We see people seeking more knowledge about Māori culture and whakapapa, wanting to do more Kaupapa Māori programmes.”

Some staff have also had the opportunity to benefit, with opportunities to go through the programme and participate.

Nero says that as well as being valuable for their own growth and cultural understanding, this has helped staff to authentically speak to the programme when making referrals.

“A lot of the staff that went through it were able to be champions for it. They could share with other staff, as well as potential participants, their examples of what they got out of the programme.

You might have an intellectual knowledge and have read what the programme is all about, but there’s nothing like complete immersion to be able to communicate what it’s about and have a personal impact.”

While the programme is run externally, Corrections staff such as probation officers and case managers play an important role in connecting individuals to the programme and supporting people to attend.

The programme also helps staff to build stronger connections with marae, which Conan and Nero say is another positive outcome.

“On a large scale, we’re doing this Tikanga Māori programme work, but at the more micro level, there’s a lot more connection happening there.

Our staff are becoming more aware of the programme, they’re making those connections with local marae.

That’s an area that we want to promote for our staff - working together for the oranga of people.”

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