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Rangatahi of Ngāi Te Rangi Iwi: Cultural belonging and connectedness

Rangatahi Māori (Māori youth) have one of the highest suicide rates in the OECD, they leave school earlier and with less qualifications, and suffer from higher rates of unemployment, hospitalisation and conduct and substance disorders and abuse than non-Māori. Sadly, many rangatahi move into adulthood only to experience poorer physical and mental health, shorter lifespans, and lower socioeconomic status compared to that of non-Māori. With these poor health outcomes for rangatahi Māori in mind this research explores the nature of Māori identities as a foundation for wellness, meaning, and flourishing. More importantly, this research takes into consideration the negative impacts of the colonisation of Māori and their cultural identity and the inter-generational effects of this long term systematic nature of disadvantage. I posit that cultural connectedness and belonging can foster healthy psychological and behavioural outcomes for rangatahi Māori. The mixed-method approach taken within this research sits within a Kaupapa Māori framework and draws upon accounts of 16 rangatahi Māori, aged between 10 and 14 years, who participated in a Ngāi Te Rangi Iwi based leadership development programme that reconnects rangatahi Māori with traditional customs and practices of their ancestors to enhance their health and wellbeing. Findings suggest that connectedness and belonging are manifest through practices such as Pēpeha, whakapapa, and Whakataukī/whakatauāki and rangatahi Māori draw on this cultural knowledge base and cultural practices to empower themselves, their whānau, hapū and Iwi. Rangatahi Māori in this sample also identified that whānau was most important in their lives followed by engagement in Māori culture. Findings highlight how Iwi organisations are stepping up to lead their people to a brighter future. For Māori, engaging with their Māoritanga and Te Ao Māori not only addresses the negative impacts of colonialism, but unlocks cultural potential, and an enhanced sense of self which serves to empower rangatahi Māori, their whānau, hapū and Iwi.
Type of thesis
Benton, C. (2019). Rangatahi of Ngāi Te Rangi Iwi: Cultural belonging and connectedness (Thesis, Master of Applied Psychology (MAppPsy)). The University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/12807
The University of Waikato
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