Creating a space of Māori whānau, hapū, iwi wellbeing
Suicide is a major issue that is of real concern to New Zealand communities. The 2015 provisional suicide toll has risen to its highest figure since the coroner's office started releasing the statistics. From the year June 2014 - May 2015, 569 people died by suicide or suspected suicide. The Chief Coroner releases national provisional suicide statistics each year to help suicide prevention efforts and initiatives undertaken by other agencies.
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.
Rates of suicide among Māori are disproportionately higher than for any other ethnic group in New Zealand. The Māori suicide total (130 deaths) and rate (21.74 per 100,000) are the highest since the provisional statistics were first recorded. Male Māori continue to be disproportionally represented in the provisional suicide statistics with 93 deaths last year.
New Zealand also has the highest rate of rangatahi suicide in the world. Over the ten years from 2003 to 2012 Māori rangatahi suicide rates have been at least 1.7 times the non-Māori rangatahi suicide rates. While the causes of suicide are many and complex, it is clear that a collective effort will be required to reduce rangatahi suicide rates as well as a targeted approach that is culturally and generationally appropriate.
The New Zealand Suicide Prevention Strategy 2006-2016 directs cross-government suicide prevention and continues to work toward the goals of the Strategy and sets clear objectives to:
- support families, whānau, hapū, iwi and communities to prevent suicide, and reduce the impact of suicide
- improve the range, coverage and targeting of suicide prevention services, and
- lift the quality of information and evidence for effective suicide prevention.
The plan includes actions to build the capacity of Māori whānau, hapū and iwi, Pacific families and communities to prevent suicide, supported by stronger leadership and culturally relevant education and training.
Te Rau Matatini and Le Va are partners in the delivery of Waka Hourua, a National Suicide Prevention Programme for Māori and Pacific Communities. Waka Hourua is funded by the Ministry of Health.
Over the past 10 years, Te Rau Matatini has been actively engaged in the design, development and delivery of community suicide prevention and postvention programmes across Aotearoa New Zealand. A key learning over the past 10 years is that “one-size does not fit all” when it comes to community suicide prevention and postvention planning. Through identifying community champions and building rapport to gain their trust, confidence and support encourages the development of essential components to assist the progression and delivery of tailored community suicide prevention and postvention plan initiatives.