Waka Hourua


#WhānauOra #MāoriOra

Suicide is a major issue that is of real concern to New Zealand whānau and their communities. Every year approximately over 500 people take their own lives by suicide, affecting the lives of many others. These deaths are preventable. Multiple risk factors and life events are involved in a person ending their life.

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

A key goal for Waka Hourua is to build the capacity of Māori whānau, and their hapori communities to prevent and reduce suicide and respond effectively if and when a suicide occurs.  We are working with many to achieve this, to find resources and solutions in our networks to share and utilise.  

Whānau, should you need help click here for a list of helplines and support groups that you can contact.

If this is an emergency – if you feel you or someone else is at risk of harm:

  • phone 111 now OR
  • go to your nearest hospital emergency department OR
  • phone your local mental health crisis team, contact numbers can be found here at this link or phone Healthline 0800 611 116.


Rohe regional suicide intervention initiatives and projects

We thank and support all those Māori and Pasifika community groups, whānau, hapū, iwi, and Pasifika families who brought to Waka Hourua and to Aotearoa New Zealand their community-based suicide intervention initiatives and projectsPlease take the time to read what our Māori and Pasifika community groups have done and continue to achieve toward suicide prevention and whānau ora.

A team of Pou Ārahī with Te Rau Matatini are located in Māori communities  to extend the Waka Hourua Māori Community Programme across Aotearoa New Zealand.

One of the aims of building capacity and capabilities of Māori communities, is to work with local champions  to develop a suicide prevention action plan that responds safely and effectively to suicide and the impacts of suicide.


Te Wero

Te Wero is a tool that is founded upon tikanga and Māori tradition informed by kaumātua and kuia, it is positioned under the realm of Tumatauenga (Guardian of Conflict). Based upon  three kaiwero in a traditional wero, it stems from the traditional need of the marae or the haukainga to determine the intent of their manuhiri. (Rakau Whakaara the warning challenger,  Rakau Takoto the fighting challenger, Rakau Whakawaha the supporting challenger).

Te Wero highlights each kaiwero, their purpose and actions incorporated within a tool to provide practitioners  methods of tackling suicide among Māori. Embedded within Te Ihi Ora Wananga, it provides a Māori informed approach to suicide prevention and intervention.

For further information please contact Maria Baker - Te Rau Matatini Workforce Innovation Manager.



Cyberbullying is an increasing issue and has been indicated in self harm and suicide deaths especially of young people.  

The Cybersafety for Indigenous Populations Resource was developed following a literature review and stakeholder consultation about varying campaigns aimed to at risk internet users and targeted toward reducing cyberbullying. 

Dedicated resources for young people, whanau, schools and communities are also available from NetsafeView online or download this CyberSafely resource here.


Manaaki Tangata

Manaaki Tangata is providing help to people who may experience suicidal thoughts and behaviours. This suicide prevention resource was developed in 2015, and has since been implemented and evaluated in Northland.  Feedback from te reo speakers, kuia, kaumātua,  pakeke, rangatahi and hapori community members have valued the take home resource, and the ability to be more informed about what they can do to help people seek help and gain support during vulnerable periods in their lives.  You can read online or download a copy of Manaaki Tangata here.


Te Ihi Ora Wānanga      

Te Ihi Ora is a wānanga delivered by Te Rau Matatini as a proactive response alongside Māori to the challenging issue of suicide. 

The term ‘Te Ihi Ora’ represents the physical expression of the inner dialogue of self, and wānanga connects with people in their communities in varying ways.  The underlying philosophy of the wānanga is the exuberance of life, and assists people to address various challenges in the pursuit of wellness, and to tackle the situation associated with suicide.  Whilst considering the range of mental health, addiction, social, economic and whanau challenges within peoples contexts. The programme is informed by matauranga Māori, kaumātua and kuia guidance and professional expertise of Te Ihi Ora facilitation team at Te Rau Matatini who have experience in suicide prevention, mental health and addiction treatment with Māori.  The wānanga can be adapted to any context, for whānau, Māori communities, youth and adults, Māori & non Māori frontline practitioners.

For further information please contact Maria Baker - Te Rau Matatini Workforce Innovation Manager.


Te Ahuru Mowai - Wahine Ora

The rates of Māori women taking their lives has increased by 3.5 times over the past decade, the disparity is greater for females as Māori females are  more than twice as likely as non-Māori females to take their lives.  

Family violence in New Zealand is a serious public health issue which disproportionally has affected whānau.  Traumatised women who seek help or safety maybe at greater risk of self-harm or suicide attempts.  Screening of whanau and  intimate partner violence occurs in health and social service settings yet there is insufficient evidence to suggest its effect on outcomes like the early detection and prevention of  self- harm or suicidality or the level of harm that may arise from screening.  The potential  risk  is  suicide may go unrecognised and mental health problems (including the effects from trauma) go untreated as methods of risk assessment and intervention at the  frontline may not be that helpful to women and their whānau.

Frontline professionals and help groups do their best to assist their communities, yet most do not provide level of response needed due to differing contractual arrangements and limited resources.  Thus, potentially placing help seeking women at heightened risk for emotional distress and subsequent risk of self harm.  

In 2015-16 alongside Māori women refuges, a working framework was developed by Kia Maia Ltd on behalf of Te Rau Matatini.  Its intention is to promote and support joined-up practices, services and methods across agencies to be more helpful to women. In addition, to providing women a tool for self help. The next phase for the working framework is underway, supported by a  needs analyses of frontline workforces and the development of a training programme to support the framework.  Workshops an and training is scheduled  in Auckland, October.

For further information please contact Maria Baker - Te Rau Matatini Workforce Innovation Manager.


Tane Ora

Suicide was the second leading cause of premature death for Māori males and it was the fourth leading cause of premature death for non-Māori males.   The higher rates of suicide of Māori male is in all age groups younger than 49 years, with a high proportion of  Māori men having been unemployed compared to non-Māori. 

Stronger  public health and preventive interventions that target Māori men and boys is required to ensure a coherent suicide prevention programme for the delivery to Māori communities.

Waka Hourua believes Māori men leading and championing a Tane Ora approach will be key to a successful approach to a holistic public health programme against suicide, supported by their whānau.  A partnership was formed between Tane Ora and Te Rau Matatini to foster this, and work led by Maori males is occurring within communities.

Māori interviews

Māori Television show Mataora talking about the Waka Hourua programme with presenter, Tumamao Harawira and Dr Kahu McClintock from Te Rau Matatini.  This interview is a follow up invitation from the Waka Hourua Research Symposium by Māori Television to Dr Kahu McClintock, Waka Hourua Research Symposium Convenor in 7 July 2015. It consists of three sections: Part OnePart TwoPart Three.

Māori suicide prevention resource

Te Whakauruora is a Māori suicide prevention resource designed to assist hapū, iwi, hapori Māori and community groups. The key premise is that suicide prevention initiatives must recognise individuals belong to whānau, hapū, iwi, hapori Māori and communities.

You can read online or download a copy of Te Whakauruora.


Please note: These resources are provided for your reference. Linking to external websites and resources do not imply endorsement by Te Rau Matatini, Le Va or Waka Hourua.

To find out more about any of these initiatives, to enrol in workforce training or get our support resources please e-mail us communications@teraumatatini.com.

copyright 2017 © Te Rau Matatini