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Kaumtua Mana Motuhake: A study protocol for a peer education intervention to help Māori elders work through later-stage life transitions

Background The Aotearoa/New Zealand population is ageing and numerous studies demonstrate with this phenomenon comes increases in non-communicable diseases, injuries and healthcare costs among other issues. Further, significant inequities exist between Māori (Indigenous peoples of Aotearoa/New Zealand) and non-Māori around poor ageing and health. Most research addressing these issues is deficit oriented; however, the current research project takes a strengths-based approach that highlights the potential of kaumātua (elders) by asserting mana motuhake (autonomy, identity and self-actualisation). We believe that the esteem of elders in Māori culture signals transformative potential. Specifically, this project utilises a ‘tuakana-teina’ (older sibling/younger sibling) peer-educator model, where kaumātua work with other kaumātua in relation to health and wellbeing. The objectives of the project are (a) to develop the capacity of kaumātua as peer educators, whilst having positive impacts on their sense of purpose, health and wellbeing; and (b) to enhance the social and health outcomes for kaumātua receiving the intervention. Methods The research is grounded in principles of Kaupapa Māori and community-based participatory research, and brings together an Indigenous community of kaumātua, community health researchers, and academic researchers working with two advisory boards. The project intervention involves an orientation programme for tuakana peer educators for other kaumātua (teina). The research design is a pre- and post-test, clustered staggered design. All participants will complete a baseline assessment of health and wellbeing consistent with Māori worldviews (i.e., holistic model). The tuakana and teina participants will be divided into two groups with the first group completing the intervention during the first half of the project and the second group during the second half of the project. All participants will complete post-test assessments following both interventions allowing comparison of the two groups along with repeated measures over time. Discussion The findings will provide an evidence base for the importance and relevancy of kaumātua knowledge to create contextually based and culturally safe age-friendly environments that facilitate engagement and participation by kaumātua for kaumātua. If the model is effective, we will seek to facilitate the dissemination and scalability of the intervention. Trial registration Australia New Zealand Clinical Trial Registry (ACTRN12617001396314); Date Registered: 3 October 2017 (retrospectively registered).
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Oetzel, J. G., Hokowhitu, B., Simpson, M., Reddy, R., Nock, S., Greensill, H., … Smith, L. T. (2019). Kaumtua Mana Motuhake: A study protocol for a peer education intervention to help Māori elders work through later-stage life transitions. BMC Geriatrics, 19. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12877-019-1041-2
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