Waka Hourua

Te Rau Matatini

Highlighting the Need

Self Harm and Suicide is a major issue that is of real concern to all New Zealand communities. 

The 2015- 2016 statistics of self harm and suicide increased to its highest figure since the measurement of these statistics.  The Chief Coroner and the Ministry of Health release national self harm and suicide statistics each year to help inform suicide prevention efforts, practitioners, services, communities and initiatives undertaken by various agencies.

The prevention of suicide is both complex and challenging, and no single initiative or organisation can prevent suicide on its own. A comprehensive, multi-layered and coordinated approach is required across government and non-government organisations, and in partnership with the community.



The rates of suicide among Māori are disproportionately higher than for any other ethnic group in New Zealand.

The Māori suicide number rate (per 100,000) in 2016 was  the highest since the provisional statistics were first recorded:

  • Māori rates of suicide are 1.6 times that of non Māori
  • Māori male rates  (15-24 years age group) is twice than that of non Māori at the same age
  • Māori female rates are  three times than that of non Māori females
  • Māori youth rates are 2.8 times than that of non Māori. 
Rangatahi (Youth)    

New Zealand has the highest rate of rangatahi (youth) suicide in the world.

The Youth suicide rate in New Zealand is one of the worst in the OECD.   In the UNICEF Innocenti report (June, 2017)  not only did UNICEF rank New Zealands overall performance at 34 out of 41 countries.   New Zealand was also ranked at 38 out of 41 countries in the child relevant goal of: Good Health & Wellbeing category.   In the same report New Zealand was stated as being  “the worst in the world in regard to Youth Suicide” A rate of 15.6 youth suicides per 100,000 population. Placing  NZ at the bottom of the table:  


While the causes of suicide are many and complex, it is clear that a collective effort is  required to reduce all suicide rates in New Zealand as well insist on  a targeted approach that is culturally and generationally appropriate.

Maori Suicide Prevention and Interventions are  showing promising outcomes, by identifying whanau and community champions, being action oriented to make a difference, building  trust, confidence and capabilities in communities that is encouraging locally led prevention, intervention and postvention initiatives tailored to our communities. 

Common features have included:

  • An alignment to the values and orientation of Māori
  • Collaborative partnerships to  increase the reach across whanau and communities
  • Culturally tailored methods of delivery to reduce feelings of hopelessness, increase protective behaviours, reduce the stigma of asking for help and strengthen individuals and whanau.  
  • Suicide Prevention is about action, intervention and strategies that take into account Maori historical context, social networks, culture, whanau and community resources.

This website holds a range of evidence of who is available in your community that has invested in the fight against suicide in Maori communities, and a glimpse of the outcomes thus far.  If you are wanting more information whether about making a difference in your community or increasing your understanding please contact: Tio Sewell  Kaiwhakahaere: Waka Hourua. 

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